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WELCOME, ALL, TO our live coverage of the final game of this midweek round of Premier League games: Liverpool’s trip to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

These sides met in a terrific game at Anfield on 16 December, which Liverpool won with a late Roberto Firmino header. Liverpool then beat Crystal Palace 7-0 to sit top at Christmas…and then promptly collapsed. Jurgen Klopp’s side haven’t won any of their last five league games, scoring only once in those games.

Spurs’ form hasn’t been too hot since losing at Anfield, either: they’ve won just two of their five league games since, and have slipped to sixth in the table.

That said, they are a point behind fifth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand, and a win tonight will take them into the top four.

Liverpool are seeing their title disappear from view, and need a result tonight to snap a wretched streak and avoid further panic setting in as to whether they can even make next season’s Champions League.

Do get in touch with us – email gavincooney@the42.ie or leave a comment below the line.

Kick off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is at 8pm, and team news follows…

Team News 

Tottenham Hotspur

Interesting Spurs team news, and it seems that Matt Doherty is going to effectively play on the right of midfield (which will certainly interest Stephen Kenny amid the infernal Doherty/Coleman conundrum.) That, or Jose is going with a back five/six, given they can rely on Son and Kane on the counter-attack. 

Liverpool were certainly vulnerable to United’s counter attacking game last Sunday. 

Liverpool 

A nightmare for Liverpool: Fabinho, one of their few stand-out players this season, is out with a muscle injury. There goes another centre-back option. Jordan Henderson slots in at centre-back alongside Joel Matip, who appears to be miraculously fit.

James Milner stays in the team, with Thiago included and still looking for a first Liverpool win as a starting player.

All has been sweetness and light at Liverpool for the last couple of years – how could it not – but you do wonder to what extent Klopp is seething with his bosses over the decision not to sign a centre-back this month. It looks to have already cost them title, and if it ends up contributing to their dropping out of the top four, not signing one looks like a totally false economy. 

Playing Jordan Henderson against Son and Kane is…suboptimal. 

From an Irish point of view, it will be very interesting to see Matt Doherty’s position tonight. With Serge Aurier also in the team, it does seem Doherty is playing right wing, or perhaps as a kind of right wing back. 

Stephen Kenny has spoken about potentially playing Doherty and Seamus Coleman in the same team, albeit not in a 4-3-3 as we saw rather unsuccessfully (if briefly) under Mick McCarthy. 

“I’ll leave it for you to realise after 60 seconds”, says Jose about his planned system for this game. 

He also uses his BT interview to shower Liverpool in praise – “History speaks, what they did in the past three or four years is amazing” – and he isn’t reading too much into Liverpool’s sticky run of form, citing United’s loss to Sheffield United as proof of the Premier League’s unpredictability.

“Tomorrow is another day and this is why the Premier League is the best league.”

“I am pretty sure it is going to intense”, says Klopp of the game ahead, and he seems to be expecting a back five from Spurs with Doherty at left wing back. 

Meanwhile, his latest defensive issue is Fabinho’s being ruled out with a muscle injury.

“It was nothing, really. He felt something and we had to take him out.”

Spurs are due a result against Liverpool: they have lost their last six games against Jurgen Klopp’s side, which of course included the 2019 Champions League final. 

That said: Liverpool are surely due a goal, having not scored in their last 438 minutes of Premier League action. 

The teams are on their way out, with kick-off only minutes away. 

Peeeeep! 

We’re underway!

1′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

It’s a back three/five for Tottenham, with Matt Doherty filling in at left wing-back in place of Sergio Reguilon. 

Jordan Henderson takes Fabinho’s place as the left-sided centre-back. 

2′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

What a miss by Mane! 

Alexander-Arnold flights a cross-field ball for Mane, the ball breaks for Salah who plays it first time for Mane, but one-on-one with Lloris, he screws his left-footed shot wide. 

GOAL DISALLOWED!

3′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Wow, Spurs punish look like they have punished Liverpool immediately, as Son is played through by Kane and slams the ball beyond Alisson. But the VAR check finds a narrow offside against Son in an earlier phase, and Liverpool can breathe easy. 

What a start to this game!

 

7′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Matip dribbles into midfield and overplays the ball, but Son doesn’t punish him by miscueing his ambitious volleyed pass into the vacant space for Bergwijn. 

9′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Mane floats a ball into the box which is met by Thiago, who heads the ball squarely across goal, but Firmino misses it and takes a tumble into the box. No contact, and play on. 

11′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

The Son decision was tight, and the first time this season Liverpool have seen an opposition goal overturned by VAR. 

Screenshot 2021-01-28 at 20.11.42

13′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Concern for Spurs: Thiago is easily brushed off the ball by Hojbjerg, who then slides in and fouls Kane, who has stayed down clutching his right ankle. 

Kane has had trouble with that ankle before…

15′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Henderson plays an exceptionally risky pass into midfield for Thiago, and Hojbjerg is pretty harshly pinged for a foul. 

Kane, meanwhile, is back on his feet and seems okay to continue. 

17′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

A decent spell of possession from Liverpool. Milner plays a fine pass across and over the Spurs defence for Alexander-Arnold, who volleys the ball across the box but Spurs deal with the danger. 

The game is beginning to assume the character both managers would have expected: Liverpool probing with possession, Spurs coiled and ready to attack on the counter. 

20′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Brilliant covering tackle by Matip in the penalty area. Spurs just lump the ball from centre-back for Son, but having initially fallen behind him, Liverpool’s centre-back does very well to nick the ball back as Son bears down on Alisson. 

21′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Firmino takes a pop from range and it’s right at Lloris. 

Within five seconds, Spurs move fast and release Son with Alexander-Arnold AWOL at right back, but his shot is right at Alisson. 

Liverpool repeating last Sunday’s problem of looking much too easy to carve open down their right flank. 

24′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Great save by Lloris! 

Mane drops off, plays the ball to Salah at the edge of the D, who lofts the return pass for Mane first time, but Lloris reacts swiftly too block Mane’s first-time effort. 

Meanwhile, Thiago has been booked for a daft sliding challenge on Hojbjerg.

25′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

A crucial covering tackle by Eric Dier saves Spurs: Alexander-Arnold pokes a delightful ball through for Salah, but Dier scurries across and wins the ball just as Salah looked like getting the ball under control. 

28′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Henderson heads away a Doherty cross into the penalty area, and Doherty then forces a corner off Alexander-Arnold in the next phase of play. 

29′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Son takes the corner and sends it into Alisson’s arms. 

Liverpool reset quickly, and Bergwijn takes a booking for a cynical scything down of Alexander-Arnold. 

 

Mane is almost played over the top into the box, but can’t quite get a toe to the ball to trouble Lloris. 

Issues for Spurs: Eric Dier is down having challenged Mane in the box, and at the other end of the pitch, Harry Kane is down again. He is holding his left ankle this time, after an aerial challenge with Jordan Henderson. 

35′ - Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Kane is on his feet again, but is walking very gingerly on his left ankle this time. 

36′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Kane runs back on and immediately chips the ball over the Liverpool defence for Son. Alisson comes out and catches the ball, and Son appeals that he has handled outside the box. 

Referee and linesman say no. 

36′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

A stunning penalty-box tackle from Rodon denies Mane one-on-one with Lloris. 

37′ - Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Kane handles the ball just before he tests Alisson with a long-range volley. Encouraging for Spurs that he seems to be ale to continue. 

40′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Spurs play some keep-ball for once, shuttling the ball and forth across the pitch, going nowhere. Then Doherty plays a dreadful pass right to Salah, and Liverpool break but see Salah’s cross skid across the six-yard box untouched.

42′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Mane forces Lloris to save again! Liverpool slice through Spurs too easily, with Firmino poking the ball through for Mane, who slams a shot at the Spurs ‘keeper. 

43′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Liverpool have their first corner: Robertson’s cross bouncing off Aurier. 

44′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

The corner is headed clear by Hojbjerg, and the move ends with Thiago being penalised for a push on Bergwijn. 

45′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Doherty thwarts a Liverpool counter by tripping Thiago. Liverpool take the free-kick short, but Thiago can’t unpick the Spurs defence and Rodon clears a cross into the stand. 

Four added minutes at the end of this half. 

45 +3′ – Spurs 0-0 Liverpool 

Another promising Liverpool move ends with Mane making a poor connection on a Milner cross. The ball doesn’t roll dead, and Liverpool recycle but it’s pretty slow, which allows Spurs flood bodies into their box. 

Alexander-Arnold tries to dink the ball in for Salah, but it’s unsuccessful. 

Liverpool have been the better side for much of this half, it has to be said. 

GOAL! 

45 +4′ – Spurs 0-1 Liverpool (Firmino)

And Liverpool finally break their drought! Mane is played in down the left, gambols into the box and squares the ball across for Firmino, who taps the ball in from a yard out! 

It’s a deserved lead for Liverpool, and Klopp celebrates like a man who has just had an exorcism. 

HT: Spurs 0-1 Liverpool 

And the Firmino goal is the final act of the half. 

Liverpool have been the better side and deserve their lead, and Firmino – who has a terrific scoring record against Spurs – has had one of his better performances in some time. 

Spurs have looked dangerous on the counter through Son, but look short on ideas when Liverpool don’t give them space to attack. 

Well be back in a few. 

The second half is underway!

Well: a whole load of changes at half-time. 

For Spurs, Kane is off (with injury) along with Aurier, so Eric Lamela and Harry Winks are on. 

Liverpool, meanwhile, have remarkably lost Matip, with Nat Phillips coming on. 

46′ – Spurs 0-1 Liverpool 

Early chance for Liverpool to make a perfect second-half start. Firmino breaks into the box, swivels around and plays the ball to Salah, who curls the ball over from the edge pod the six-yard box.

GOAL! 

Spurs 0-2 Liverpool (Alexander-Arnold)

And it is an ideal second-half start for Liverpool! 

Mane spins Doherty easily and curls a low shot that Lloris tamely parries in front of him, and Alexander-Arnold latches on to it and cuts a volley into the bottom corner! 

48′ – Spurs 0-2 Liverpool 

That is a beautiful finish by Alexander-Arnold for his first goal of the season. 

Jose Mourinho is going hogwild on the touching, screaming and swearing at his players. 

GOAL! 

Spurs 1-2 Liverpool (Højbjerg) 

Good lord, what a hit by Hojbjerg. 

The ball is played back to him on the edge of the D, and he slams it first time into the top corner; Alisson hardly saw it. 

Stunning! 

49′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

Phillips’ first involvement is to fly wildly into a challenge on Bergwijn, and he is booked for his clumsiness. 

 

51′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

A pause in the game after a clash of heads between Rodon and Thiago, the latter of whom is bleeding.

That gives a chance to draw breath.

Doherty has reverted to right wing-back, it seems, which gives him the dubious pleasure of having a full game on the same touchline as an irate Jose. 

54′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

Thiago has trotted down the tunnel to be patched up while Joe Rodon is back on, so Liverpool playing with a player less at the moment.

55′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

Spurs have switched to a flat back four, with Son leading the line. Thiago is back now, with a bandaged head. 

Goal Disallowed!

Spurs 1-2 Liverpool

Thiago is immediately into the action, spinning the ball left for Mane, who plays in Salah to rifle the ball into the top corner. 

BUT. 

VAR official Jon Moss spots a handball by Firmino in the build up. Referee Martin Atkinson comes over to the monitor, and disallows it. 

60′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

Wijnaldum tries his luck from the edge of the box, but he pulls the ball wide of the near post.

64′ – Spurs 1-2 Liverpool 

Winks plays a god-awful pass right to Salah and then fouls him, but the referee waves play on as Firmino takes Salah’s pass in the box but fires a shot into the side-netting.

GOAL! 

65′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool (Mane)

Joe Rodon, who had been playing well, completely implodes. Alexander-Arnold flights a deep cross into the box, Rodon misses it easily, and Mane pounces to smash the ball into the roof of the net! 

68′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Spurs’ goal came from a miracle long shot by Hojbjerg, and they have created nothing else in this half. 

If Liverpool have lately looked like a side trying to rediscover who they were, Spurs look like a team who still don’t know who they are.

70′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Thiago screws a shot high and wide. Liverpool in cruise control at the moment, as the camera lingers on Gareth Bale sitting on the bench. 

He does have some form as an impact sub against Liverpool…

73′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Spurs knock the ball out aimlessly, and then Winks tries to make something happen but flights a poor vertical pass over the endline. They really look fairly stuck for ideas at the moment. 

 75′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool are comfortably knocking the ball about, and are readying Curtis Jones for an introduction. There is a conviction and confidence about their passing and movement now that has been missing for the last few weeks. 

77′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Alexander-Arnold has definitely found some confidence, too. He plays a great pass for Salah, who forces a corner off Dier. 

A bandaged and bloodied Thiago makes way for Curtis Jones. 

78′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Hojbjerg heads away Alexander-Arnold’s corner. 

Liverpool fans, it’s time to return to some of the darker recesses of your memories: Gareth Bale is coming on shortly. 

80′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool get away with some loose play in their own box. Wijnaldum gives the ball away, but Hojbjerg’s cross for Son is overhit. 

Bergwijn makes way for Gareth Bale, who makes a first appearance against Liverpool since scoring twice in the 2018 Champions League final. 

83′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Doherty plays a raking, cross-field pass for Son, but Phillips judges it well and heads it clear.

Bale hasn’t had a touch yet. 

84′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool’s appetite for work has not diminished: Mane tracks Dier right across the pitch to the corner flag on the opposite flag to charge down his clearance.

85′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool swarm forward, and as Salah cuts inside in the box, he back heels to Jones on the overlap, but Dier intercepts. 

Divock Origi on his way into the game. The last time he scored off the bench? Against Spurs. In the Champions League final. 

87′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Bale flights a cross-field pass to nobody and the ball bounces out of play. 

Firmino makes way for Origi, after his best performance in some time.

90′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Milner, prone on the ground, plays a mad backpass into the Liverpool box, but Phillips does well to scuttle across and head the ball clear just ahead of Son. 

90′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Five added minutes.

90 +3′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Milner continues to fly into tackle – his stamina is remarkable – and he intercepts a loose Ndombele pass after some sterile Spurs possession.

90+5′ – Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Phillips times a challenge on Son to perfection on the edge of the box. After a rickety start, he has done well. 

FT: Spurs 1-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool dig deep and find their form. This was a terrific performance in which they broke an almost-eight hour goal drought to seal a league double over Spurs. 

They do look comfortably a better team than Tottenham, and they find form ahead of the weekend’s visit to West Ham. 

Spurs, meanwhile, sit sixth, after a pretty one-dimensional performance. 

Thanks for following, bye! 

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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