Tottenham Hotspur returned home to N17 with hopes high after an away draw against Arsenal, and fans would have been hoping to go one step further against Liverpool on an overcast Saturday afternoon. Much like against the Gunners, a hard-fought battle lay ahead against the Reds, as this fixture had come to be known as somewhat of a cursed one over the last few years. Liverpool were second on the table going into the match, and having been undefeated for around six months, presented a huge challenge for Ange Postecoglou’s young side.
Ange made one change to his starting lineup against Arsenal, bringing in Richarlison to start as an injury replacement for Brennan Johnson. There was also a well-deserved bench spot for one of Spurs’ all-conquering youth, with young attacker Jamie Donley joining an inexperienced line-up of substitutes.
The middle third was the focal point of the battle in the opening part of the match, with both sides pressing forward but neither unable to fashion a clear-cut chance. The biggest early chance came when Richarlison hit a fantastic pass across the face of goal, where Dejan Kulusevski was lurking; unfortunately, the Swede couldn’t quite reach the ball and the chance came to nothing.
Liverpool early on probably looked the more likely side to score, as they forced a double save out of Guglielmo Vicario. A long switch of play found Luis Diaz in space down the left, who linked up with Andrew Robertson. The Scotsman found Cody Gakpo in the box, but his strike was very well-saved by Guglielmo Vicario, before the Italian was forced into action again as Robertson struck the rebound goalwards.
Space down the left was the culprit of Liverpool’s next chance as well. Dominik Szboszlai hit a ball across the top of Tottenham’s 18-yard box, where neither Pedro Porro nor Pape Matar Sarr were tracking anyone. Sarr made amends though, with a good block on Curtis Jones’ shot. It was Jones as well who was involved in the next big moment of the match. Diving into a tackle to try win possession from Yves Bissouma, he went over the top of the ball and caught Bissouma directly on the ankle studs-up. Jones was initially shown a yellow card, but after a VAR review, the challenge was upgraded to a red and Liverpool were down to ten men. The tackle was a potential ankle-breaker and a red was probably the right call.
Richarlison was the next player to have an opportunity to open the scoring, as Spurs looked to make their numerical advantage count. Some silky play from James Maddison just outside the box found Kulusevski, who played in Richarlison. He was forced to take the shot on his weaker left foot, and could only sky the attempt over the bar. Liverpool weren’t taking things lying down though, and soon had the ball in the net. Diaz held off Pedro Porro after Salah drew in both Cristian Romero and Mickey Van de Ven and played in the Liverpool number 7, and the winger duly slotted past Guglielmo. The flag went up immediately, but Spurs fans would have been holding their breath as the replay appeared to show to the naked eye that Romero was playing Diaz onside. VAR upheld the on-field decision in this case, and the score remained at nil-all.
That wasn’t to be the case for long though, as the Spurs captain, Son Heung-Min, opened the scoring. James Maddison, in a manner we’ve come to expect from the number 10, played an inch-perfect ball between fullback and center back that found Richarlison streaking in from the wing. He unselfishly squared across goal, and Son Heung-Min had the easiest of tap-ins to put Tottenham into the lead.
The left-hand side continued to look likely for Spurs as Richarlison nearly added a second for the Lilywhites, striking the post following a scramble in the box from Son after a strong Destiny Udogie run. His shot hit the post, and Tottenham attackers continued to pour forward before Udogie was whistled for offside, meaning Richy’s attempt wouldn’t have counted had it indeed gone in.
It looked like Spurs were going to see out a half-time lead, but Liverpool weren’t finished. Virgil Van Dijk knocked down a chipped ball through from Szoboszlai, and Cody Gakpo swiveled before smashing the ball past Vicario from close range. Things could have got worse for Spurs, as Salah played Diaz in behind Van de Ven, but the Colombian fluffed his lines and the half ended one apiece.
Gakpo was unable to come out for the second half after injuring his knee scoring the goal, and he was replaced by Diogo Jota. For Liverpool though, it was goalkeeper Allison who was making the impact, making two brilliant saves on strikes from Maddison and Son. Spurs were looking more comfortable in possession, however, due to their man advantage; and it looked like they had made that count as Son had the ball in the net in what was almost a carbon copy of his first goal. Unfortunately, this time Richarlison had strayed offside and the goal didn’t count.
Son wasn’t able to add to his tally, as he was substituted for Manor Solomon. The Korean looked like he might have picked up (or exacerbated) an injury and he left the field with a limp. Diogo Jota also soon left the field not long after entering it, as he picked up two yellow cards in quick succession for late tackles. Liverpool were now two players down, and the Tottenham squad would have felt they were a huge chance of securing all three points.
Jurgen Klopp responded to the loss of another player with a triple change: Wataru Endo, Ibrahima Konate, and Trent Alexander-Arnold for Salah, Diaz, and Joe Gomez, before Klopp made one more change, pulling Alexis Mac Allister for Ryan Gravenberch. Postecoglou made some changes of his own, searching for the win: Oliver Skipp and Ben Davies entered the fray for Sarr and Udogie. Not much impact was seen, so Ange made further changes as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and new signing Alejo Veliz replaced Maddison and Bissouma.
It looked like things were meandering to a close with the scores tied, until perennial Spurs hero of yesteryear, Own Goal, sent the home crowd into raptures. Another Spurs attack looked like it would end in another aimless cross, but this time Pedro Porro’s square ball shanked off the shin of Joel Matip into the top corner of the net. Allison couldn’t do anything to prevent the goal, and Tottenham secured another incredible last-gasp victory, winning the match 2-1.
- THE CURSE IS BROKEN AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASKDJF;LKGNE;AFNSA!1!
- Boy, I do NOT know how to feel after that match. Happy obviously. But up until that goal, I was feeling all sorts of mixtures of frustration and nerves - which should NOT be the case when we spent the vast majority of the match with a numerical advantage.
- Spurs were pretty lucky in this match. The red cards were both correct calls (and how good was it seeing a referee actually punish tactical fouling?), but Diaz had a huge chance to put Liverpool ahead on half-time, and his goal that was chalked off was a dubious decision, to say the least. By the sounds of things, the “lines” may not have been working on the VAR review, so VAR just upheld the onfield decision, in which case Tottenham were VERY lucky.
- That said, is that maybe the most hilarious way that match could have ended? Especially given some of the results Spurs have endured in recent years.
- Allison was really good for Liverpool, and with a lesser goalkeeper Spurs probably go ahead earlier. Liverpool’s attack is also really good, but didn’t get too much of a chance to shine after going down to nine; conversely, Spurs’ attack was pretty rough today, as they routinely took poor final options and fluffed final balls. Who cares though? Not this guy.
- Son hobbling off was a concerning sight, and there will definitely be worries he made the knock he had going into this match worse. Hopefully that’s not the case.
- It’s hard to pick a player of the match for Spurs; Maddison and Son faded late in the match, and after Liverpool had their second player sent off Vicario had very little to do. It’s probably Bissouma for me, who was excellent once again. He did though pick up his fourth yellow card of the season, meaning he’ll need to be extra careful going forward if he’s to avoid a suspension (honestly, a suspension is probably pretty nailed-on at this point).
- Not too much on the tactics today, apart from the fact that going into this match a lot of smart people thought Klopp’s side would be the one to cause problems for Ange-ball (which they did until red cards put paid to that). HOW GOOD ARE THE VIBES THOUGH???
- Second on the table!!! COYS!