In a match either team could have won, between co-leaders, Liverpool won it at the death on an 89th minute header from Roberto Firminho. Tottenham Hotspur came into the match tied with Liverpool in points and ahead on goal difference, could have gone ahead twice on Steven Bergwijn breakaways, but it was not to be. Liverpool are unbeaten in 66 matches at Anfield and it feels as Spurs keep coming close but not close enough when they go to the title winners.
Mourinho started Davies and Lo Celso over Reguilon and Ndombele but otherwise, there were no changes from the disappointing performance against Palace.
It was a Jose match through twenty minutes, and Spurs couldn’t break on the counter and were absorbing Liverpool pressure. At the 18th minute, Spurs ran a nice break from Son to Sissoko but the ball from Sissoko to Kane was not good enough (shock) to create anything.
In the 21st minute, Salah had a really nice chance when Aurier lost Robertson and got wrecked into the box. Spurs were defending too deep, and the inevitable happened. Liverpool scored on a looping stupid goal from Salah that deflected off Dier and Toby that flatfooted Hugo, putting Liverpool up.
Jose ball works until it doesn’t. And then, of course, until it does. At the 32nd minute, Sonny seemed like he was certainly off on a throughball from Gio. I didn’t even celebrate, but he was miraculously on and it was 1-1.
Halftime thoughts: Watching Spurs can be miserable. Like playing poker, minutes of boredom and pain followed by seconds of excitement. Still Spurs defended way too deep and needed to do something different in the second half. Bergwijn and Sissoko really struggled, but the expected goals were quite similar at the end and 1-1 was deserved.
HT: Liverpool (0.47) 1-1 (0.34) Spurs— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) December 16, 2020
It was basically even despite 78% possession for liverpool and massive SoT advantage
No changes at the half, but tactically we came out playing stylistically differently. We pressed and pushed and it worked. Steven Bergwijn missed a big chance on an error to start the half, best chance of the match for either team maybe.
In the 50th minute, Kane made a great interception and almost scores with Alisson out of his net on the clearance. It’d have gone wide, but Alisson had no idea where he was.
In the 54th minute, Hojbjerg got a yellow on a delightfully cynical tackle, but ti seemed to affect him the rest of the way. Liverpool piled on some shots, and Hugo called into action again at 57th minute. He had a lot to do early in the match, but most of the shots haven’t required a ton of work.
In the 57th minute, Lucas came on for Gio, who was also on a yellow, and Sissoko moved into midfield. Spurs started getting pinned back again. Then...
In the 62nd minute, Sonny played a gorgeous header into Bergwijn who got in behind and was one on one with the keeper and put it off the post. After some really frustrating play, Stevie got into some great positions tonight and just couldn’t bury the ball. Unfortunately, not finishing the chances came back to bite Spurs.
On the ensuing corner, Harry Kane almost buried a header, but it bounced up and over. Spurs should have been ahead.
In the 70th minute, Mane had a great chance, turning Serge and sending it just over the bar. Serge had some great moments and some awful moments.
Tanguy never came on, and in the 75th minute Reguilon came on for Bergwijn, just to play as a winger. Mane Kane gives ball away and turns into a weak salah shot on the break. this match is much more open in second half and it’s been fun and my anxiety is up up up.
In the 82nd minute, I think both teams might have been okay with a draw. Spurs went to the title winners and played them even and it was anybody’s match. A legit six-point fight. Unfortunately, as Jose later said, the better team went on to lose.
Dele came on in the 84th minute and I really thought we might have something, that Dele could do the thing. Instead, Robert Firmino scored it on a corner in the 89th.
- Spurs really did outplay Liverpool, winning xG 1.6-1.3 per 538, and particularly in the second half they played fantastic.
- Liverpool just Liverpooled this match, and pulled it out.
- I say some commentary during the match that we should never have talked about a title challenge, but there’s nothing about this match that says Spurs aren’t title challengers in that match. A 5% chance? 10%? Why not?
- I’m so sick of Liverpool.