Liverpool were given a gift in the Premier League title race when a mistake from Hugo Lloris handed them a dramatic 2-1 win over Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday.
Lucas Moura’s second-half goal cancelled out Roberto Firmino’s opener to leave the Reds facing the prospect of being behind Manchester City on goal difference, only for Toby Alderweireld to turn the ball into his own net in the 90th minute when Lloris failed to hold a Mohamed Salah header.
With City beating Fulham comfortably on Saturday, Jurgen Klopp’s side were in need of a positive result to keep the pressure on the champions, who play again at home to Cardiff City on Wednesday.
It looked as though Lucas’ first league goal of 2019 would be enough to secure the visitors a valuable point in their top-four chase and give City the boost they wanted, only for Lloris to throw away the result.
Those SCENES at full-time
Yes, the Reds pic.twitter.com/OLinnfdMXO
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 31, 2019
The only shot on target of the first half proved the difference at the interval, with Firmino running into the space between Spurs’ centre-back trio to head in Andrew Robertson’s precise cross.
Spurs did threaten, though, even if Alisson’s goal was untroubled, with Lucas and Dele Alli each coming close with efforts from the edge of the box.
Alisson had to parry a Harry Kane strike before Christian Eriksen’s follow-up was blocked by Robertson as Spurs stepped up the pressure after the break.
Salah then wasted a good chance on the break for Liverpool and Spurs punished their hosts 70 minutes in, when Eriksen’s scuffed effort from Kieran Trippier’s cut-back was fired beyond Alisson by the arriving Lucas.
The visitors should have won it themselves inside the final five minutes, but Moussa Sissoko blasted over the crossbar after being sent clear by Son Heung-min’s smart lay-off.
And Liverpool made them pay as the game ticked towards injury time, when Salah headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s looping cross goalwards and Lloris could only push the ball off Alderweireld and over the line.
What does it mean? Liverpool’s title challenge gets a massive lift
City would have stayed top on goal difference had this finished level, but Liverpool are now two points clear of their title rivals, albeit having played a game more.
It means City will be feeling a little more pressure when they host Cardiff in midweek, even if the title race remains in their hands.
For Spurs, this could be a damaging blow to their top-four hopes. They are above fourth-place Manchester United on goal difference only and will be overtaken by Arsenal if the Gunners beat Newcastle United on Monday. Chelsea, meanwhile, are just a point further back.
Lucas a livewire
The most impressive aspect of Lucas’ performance was his hold-up play with his back to goal, an attribute rarely highlighted as one of his strongest. He deserved his goal, which was dispatched with typical ruthlessness.
Lloris spoils Spurs’ efforts
Pochettino’s men fully deserved their equaliser and could have won the game had Sissoko shown more composure, but there simply cannot be any excuse for Lloris failing to catch a relatively simple header so late in the game.
Key Opta Facts
– Liverpool extended their unbeaten home league run to 37 games (W27 D10) – the joint-second longest such streak in Premier League history (level with Manchester City), behind only Chelsea’s 86-match run between 2004-2008.
– Liverpool’s total of 79 points is their best tally after 32 matches of a top-flight season (adjusting to three points for a win), surpassing the 76 they had in 1987-88.
– Tottenham have now lost 17 of their 27 Premier League visits to Anfield (W2 D8); only at Old Trafford (21) have they lost more away games in the competition.
– Liverpool have scored three winning goals in the 90th minute or later in the Premier League this season, their second most in a single campaign after 2008-09 (four).
– This was Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s 150th defeat as a manager in all competitions, seven of which have been to Liverpool. Only against Chelsea (nine) has he suffered more defeats.
Liverpool are next in action at Southampton on Friday. Two days earlier, Spurs will look to bounce back when they play in their new stadium for the first time against Crystal Palace.
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