Liverpool kept up their relentless pursuit of a maiden Premier League crown with a slender 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur away from home on Saturday evening.
Roberto Firmino was on the scoresheet for the Reds early on with a wonderful close-range strike in the 37th minute, and that was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s troops to claim another win and extend their lead at the top of the table to 16 points.
Early chances for Liverpool
Liverpool started brilliantly but despite their best efforts, their search for an early goal bore no fruits. Roberto Firmino showed great feet to tear down on the Tottenham goal but debutant Japhet Tanganga got a fantastic block in. The ball fell to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but he could only hit a low effort off of the base of the post.
Tottenham were restricted into their own half throughout the majority of the opening period. Virgil van Dijk was then the next to go extremely close to notching the first-goal as he found plenty of space at the back post to head towards goal but Paulo Gazzaniga did extremely well to keep the scores level with a great save.
Firmini fires Reds ahead
The table-topping Reds were by far the most dangerous, with Spurs only having fleeting moments of promise through Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli but both failed to really test Alisson. Sadio Mane then felt he should have given Liverpool the lead as he hit a volley into the ground and over the bar.
It did not take much longer though as Firmino struck a clinical opener. Jose Mourinho’s troops failed to effectively deal with a cross, with Jordan Henderson nodding the ball down to Mo Salah. The Egyptian then prodded the perfect through-ball to Firmino, who jinked around Tanganga and fired a ferocious shot into the far corner of the net.
Salah then could have got his own as he shrugged off Davinson Sanchez only to fire wide of the Spurs’ net.
Spurs remain frustrated
Opportunities came and went for both sides just after the break but both Firmino and Serge Aurier sent efforts straight at the respective goalkeepers. Mane also had another great chance but Gazzaniga reacted well to palm his effort away from the bottom corner.
Whilst Liverpool cruised throughout the majority of the match, the Reds sloppily gave the ball away to Alli, giving Tottenham a golden opportunity to equalise. The England man played the ball to Heung-Min Son but he could only blaze the ball high over the crossbar.
The best chance for a Spurs’ equaliser arguably then came in the closing ten minutes as Aurier sent a stunning cross towards substitute Giovani Lo Celso. The Argentine was unmarked at the back post and looked sure to score but somehow sent his effort flying wide of goal, resulting in Mourinho slumping to the floor in anguish as Liverpool ground out their victory.
Despite the slender gap between the two sides in relation to the scoreline, there was quite a gap on the field. Liverpool were in control of the majority of the game and could potentially have added to their advantage. Having said that, there were chances for Tottenham but the visitors managed to grind it out in the end. It now looks sure that the Reds are going to secure the Premier League crown under Jurgen Klopp.
Tottenham Hotspur: Gazzaniga (7); Rose (6) (Lamela (6), 69′), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (6), Tanganga (6); Son (6), Winks (5), Eriksen (5) (Lo Celso (6), 69′), Aurier (6); Alli (6), Moura (6).
Liverpool: Alisson (7); Robertson (6), van Dijk (7), Gomez (6), Alexander-Arnold (6); Wijnaldum (6), Henderson (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6) (Lallana (6), 61′); Mane (7) (Origi (N/A), 81′), Firmino (7), Salah (7) (Shaqiri (N/A), 90+1′).
Goals: Firmino (37′)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Yellow Cards: Gomez (23′), Oxlade-Chamberlain (39′)
Red Cards: N/A
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