Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool moved back top of the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Toby Alderweireld’s last minute own goal beat Tottenham 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side move two points clear of Manchester City once more at the top of the table, but still need City to slip up in their remaining seven games as the champions have a game in hand.
Liverpool’s hopes of ending a 29-year wait to win the title looked set to be dealt a massive blow as Lucas Moura’s strike 20 minutes from time cancelled out Roberto Firmino’s early opener.
However, Hugo Lloris could only palm Mohamed Salah’s header into the path of the unfortunate Alderweireld to condemn Tottenham to a fourth defeat in five Premier League games.
“It is only positive,” said Klopp. “I said there are 500 ways to win a football game and today was slightly ugly. Who cares?”
Spurs are now in serious danger of crashing out of the top four as they remain level on points with Manchester United and could be usurped by north London rivals Arsenal into third should the Gunners beat Newcastle on Monday.
And the visitors will be left to regret Moussa Sissoko missing a huge chance to inflict Liverpool’s first home league defeat in nearly two years five minutes from time.
Instead, Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain without a Premier League win since February 10.
“We were a little bit unlucky to concede the second goal when we should have been ahead because we dominated Liverpool, who are a very good team,” said Pochettino.
“I was telling the players in the changing room we have seven games and we are in top four and we need to compete. It’s a mini-league and, playing the way we played today, I think we can achieve the top four.”
– Kop delirium –
Spurs started brightly, but conceded with Liverpool’s first significant attack when Firmino headed home the opener on 16 minutes from a delightful Andy Robertson cross.
That was Robertson’s 12th assist of the season from left-back and the Scotland captain was involved again in a flowing move moments later as he forged down the left and neat touches from Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum teed up Sadio Mane to curl just wide.
Liverpool were thankful again to Robertson at the other end as he made a vital block to prevent Christian Eriksen firing home on the rebound after Alisson Becker was forced into his first save of the afternoon by Harry Kane.
When these two sides met at Anfield last season, Salah scored one his many goal of the season candidates amidst an incredible 44-goal campaign.
The Egyptian still has a respectable 20 this season, but only one of those has come in the last 11 games and he passed up a great chance to give Liverpool some breathing space when his shot was blocked by Alderweireld with Mane better placed and begging for a pass.
That missed opportunity looked costly as Tottenham struck back. Kane’s quick thinking and excellent long-range pass picked out Kieran Trippier, who fed Eriksen and his scuffed shot fell perfectly for Moura to turn home.
As Liverpool surged forward in search of a winner, Spurs could have picked them off as Sissoko blazed over with just Alisson to beat before Alli clipped a shot inches wide.
Instead, there was delirium in front of the Kop end when Lloris parried Salah’s header into Alderweireld and the ball ricocheted over the line to breathe fresh life into Liverpool’s title challenge.
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