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Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Five things to say as champions go top again

A strange game, though not so much out of the ordinary for these two teams under their current managers.

A classic Liverpool and a classic Jose Mourinho team, Tottenham Hotspur these days, met head on in the Premier League at Anfield to fight for the top of the table with a third of the season gone. The reigning Premier League champions won, courtesy of a late winner headed in by Roberto Firmino after Son Heung-min’s run cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s deflected opener in the first half.

Tight or not?

A look at the stats from this contest will tell you one thing; a look at the chances will tell you quite another. It was a game in which Liverpool had the ball in their possession for over three quarters of the playing time, 76% to Spurs’ 24%; in which they took a total of 17 shots compared to Spurs’ eight, hitting the target 11 times while the visitors only did it twice. The Reds attempted 807 passes with an accuracy of 88%; the north-Londoners 250, 61%. It’s quite obvious that the home side dominated the game from start to finish.

But they still could have easily suffered their first home defeat in the Premier League after three and a half years of ‘Fortress Anfield’. Spurs took the first real chance they had as Son escaped an offside trap (at least the VAR ruled that way) and beat Alisson Becker in a clear one-on-one. They also threatened pretty seriously early in the second half, most notably through Steven Bergwijn who wasted two glorious opportunities to turn the game around. Harry Kane also had two chances, probably not as clear-cut as those Bergwijn missed, but at least one of those was a type which the England captain usually buries into the net – a partially free header from close range.

And the visitors were eventually punished at the very death as Firmino showed the staring Kane how it’s done, taking advantage of an apparent misunderstanding between Toby Alderweireld and Kane to slam his header past Hugo Lloris.

Mane vs Aurier

As far as duels between specific players set against each other go, it was very interesting to watch the battles of Sadio Mane with Serge Aurier.

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