Roberto Firmino helped end Liverpool’s goal drought as the champions returned to winning ways with a much-needed 3-1 victory at rivals Tottenham.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds had seen their title challenge seemingly wilt following a five-game winless run in the league, but they started to find their feet again on the stroke of half time when the Brazilian snared his sixth of the campaign to end the Merseysiders’ 482-minute barren spell.
Spurs had seen an early goal from Heung-Min Son ruled out by VAR and their hopes were further hit when the injured Harry Kane was withdrawn at the break.
A lively start to the second period saw Trent Alexander Arnold rifle in a rebound to double the away side's lead before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg reduced the arrears moments later with a 25-yard thunderbolt.
Mo Salah then had a goal harshly chalked off before Sadio Mane ghosted in to convert a cross from Alexander Arnold to deservedly seal the points for the visitors.
The victory moves Liverpool up to fourth place, four points off leaders Manchester City having played a game more. Tottenham, who suffered a first loss in nine matches, stay sixth.
Liverpool will hope to build on the win when they visit fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, while Spurs are at struggling Brighton.
- Klopp thrilled with Liverpool win but laments Matip injury
- Mourinho says 'very sore' Kane likely to be out for weeks
Liverpool re-kindle their attacking mojo, but this needs to be just a starting point. The critics have posed serious questions of Liverpool’s forwards in recent weeks and they finally responded in a major showdown with one of their fellow title challengers. The front three all played a significant role in this victory, which will be vitally important for their belief ahead of a key run of fixtures. Tottenham were far from their best, but the Reds looked more like their old selves, particularly when linking in the final third. There was more zip in their play once they had broken the deadlock and they could have scored more on another day. VAR had its moments, but didn’t really affect the outcome.
If the Reds are to seriously fight their way back into the mix with Man City and Co, this will need to be just the start given the tricky sequence of matches that await them in the coming weeks. However, there were more defensive woes for Klopp to ponder as Joel Matip again had to make way at the break. Fabinho was also ruled out ahead of kick off, which means the Liverpool boss faces further headaches over who will feature at centre back from match to match, given the club have so far insisted they aren’t going to sign someone in the window.
Jose Mourinho will be frustrated by his side’s overall display, but his major concern will be over the fitness of Kane, particularly given how little threat they posed to the likes of Nat Phillips in a tepid second half without their talismanic hitman.
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MAN OF THE MATCH
Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool). The young full back was one of a number of Liverpool players who produced their best showing in a while. Grabbed his first goal of the season and conjured up a lovely assist to cap a fine all-action display.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6, Rodon 5, Dier 6, Davies 6, Aurier 6, Doherty 6, Ndombele 6, Hojbjerg 7, Bergwijn 6, Kane 6, Son 6. Subs: Winks 6, Lamela 5, Bale n/a.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 8, Matip 6, Henderson 8, Robertson 7, Milner 7, Thiago 7, Wijnaldum 7, Firmino 8, Salah 8, Mane 8. Subs: Phillips 7, Jones 6, Origi n/a.
Roberto Firmino of Liverpool (R) celebrates with Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Image credit: Getty Images
3’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Mane is clear in the penalty area but somehow steers his fizzing shot wide of Lloris’ right-hand post.
3’ – TOTTENHAM GOAL RULED OUT! Son shows Mane how to do it as he coolly steers his shot beyond Alisson after a one-two with Kane. VAR checks and rules that the forward was offside. Still goalless.
45+4’ - GOAL! – Tottenham 0-1 Liverpool. Firmino can't miss from two yards out after Mane had latched on to Henderson’s pass on the left side of the box and rolled it into the Brazilian's path.
47’ - GOAL! – Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool. Alexander Arnold drills the rebound into the far corner after Lloris had made a real meal of Mane's low shot.
49’ - GOAL! – Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool. Spurs are right back in it as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg rifles a first-time 25-yard drive into the corner.
56’ – LIVERPOOL GOAL RULED OUT! The Reds think they have restored their two-goal cushion. Salah thunders Mane's pass beyond Lloris but VAR checks a hand ball from Firmino in the build up and Martin Atkinson rules it out after looking at the pitch-side monitor. Dier appeared to foul Firmino and then handle the ball prior to the Brazilian touching it.
65’ - GOAL! – Tottenham 1-3 Liverpool. Mane smashes a rising shot beyond Lloris after Rodon failed to cut out Alexander-Arnold's cross.
Firmino’s opening goal was Liverpool’s first in the Premier League since December (Mane vs West Brom), ending the Reds’ run of 482 minutes and 93 shots without scoring in the competition.
Højbjerg's goal was his first for Tottenham in 30 appearances in all competitions; only Leeds (8) have scored more Premier League goals from outside the box this season than Spurs (7).
With five goals and 16 assists, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more goals than any other Premier League defender since the start of last season.
Mourinho has lost six of his 23 home league games in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, more than he has at any of his previous clubs.