Tottenham Hotspur went to Anfield today and earned a hard-won point against Liverpool. But the result was pyrrhic for Spurs' title ambitions as Leicester can take their lead to seven points with a win over Southampton tomorrow. Philippe Coutinho scored for Liverpool and Harry Kane equalized for Spurs, with both goals coming in the second half.
The first half was fun, but very even. Tottenham started off sharp, pressing Liverpool well and getting into good positions. Spurs got the first big chance of the game in the seventh minute after Christian Eriksen fired a left footed shot that unfortunately went straight at Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet. Spurs nearly capitalized two minutes later on a defensive miscue by Liverpool: Harry Kane, pressing the keeper, got a boot to a Mignolet kick, but it was deflected out for a goal kick.
Tottenham looked good going forward, but were betrayed in their finishing, especially in their final ball. Several times in the first half Spurs had a promising break but would stumble on the incisive pass or would have their shot blocked by Liverpool's defenders.
Defensively Spurs did a very good job overall keeping Daniel Sturridge quiet, but the striker did have one fantastic attempt after Coutinho played him one on one against Hugo Lloris. Hugo did very well to make a low save to keep the score level. Hugo was the difference in the first half making five saves, including a fingertip dive to parry away a looping shot from Adam Lallana.
It's hard to say that Spurs were the better team in the first half, but they did play pretty well on balance. The first half ended scoreless.
The second half started with no chances for either side and it continued the electric pace of the first half. Both teams wanted the win and both were pushing forward trying to get on the scoresheet.
Liverpool struck first in the 51st minute. Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge had a nice give-and-go passing sequence into Spurs' box. Eric Dier didn't track Coutinho on the return pass, and the Brazilian buried the shot past Lloris in the bottom right corner. Son Heung-Min, who started the game ahead of Erik Lamela, nearly equalized six minutes later after he made a late run to meet a pass into the box, but his volley went just wide.
Spurs nearly took the lead a minute later: Eriksen had another wicked low shot on goal but Mignolet just got a palm to it.
It was Kane that finally broke through in the 63rd minute with a gorgeous goal -- Christian Eriksen saved a long ball from going past the end line and fed it to Kane in the box. Kane took a touch, spun, and fired it past Mignolet in the far corner to level the score. A fantastic strike from a fantastic striker, his 22nd league goal of the season.
Liverpool nearly took the lead again after Coutinho fired a low fizzing ball across goal, but no one was able to get a touch on it and Spurs avoided disaster.
The match went back and forth in the last 15 minutes with both teams getting looks in a frenetic close. Nacer Chadli came on for Sonny and Divock Origi for Sturridge late in the match. Ryan Mason came on for Alli in the 88th minute. Spurs had a number of last minute chances in injury time, but Mignolet made a couple of key stops and Spurs weren't able to convert. The match ended 1-1 in a hugely disappointing result for Tottenham fans.
- This was a fantastic match of football for the neutral, but extremely frustrating for Tottenham fans. Both teams obviously wanted it and both teams had their chances to take the three points on the day.
- Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min did not have particularly great matches today. Both looked like they were trying stuff, but their timing was just off for much of the match. Dele came on a bit in the second half, but Son in particular still looks like he hasn't gotten on the same wavelength as his teammates.
- It's annoying that the one time Liverpool gets a good match out of Dejan Lovren, Simon Mignolet, and Coutinho it comes against us. Coutinho in particular was very good today, and if Mignolet has even an average Liverpool match we win this one 3-1.
- Liverpool's goal came from a spot of good play by the Reds, but I was annoyed at Eric Dier for not tracking Coutinho on his run. You have to do better there.
- Hugo Lloris was absolutely immense in this match. There's not much to say beyond that. Huge stops.
- You have to say that a draw is a fair result, and getting a point at Anfield is a good result in a vacuum. But holy crap, this feels like a big loss for Spurs. If Leicester drops points to Southampton tomorrow then it's a wash or even a minute gain for Tottenham, but starting with this match draws just won't cut it anymore.