A few weeks back, I made reference to the relentless nature of Liverpool’s play against Arsenal.
On Saturday, it was again in evidence, but this time the opposition were a far more hardened bunch and indeed, there was an edge to Tottenham, even a malevolence that manifested itself in terms of gamesmanship and hard-headedness. That was not the case with Arsenal.
Spurs are not a team I find easy to love, even if they have it in them to play dynamic football. Even the southern media’s darlin’ Harry Kane is well capable of diving around in search of penalties and the way he got Lovren booked was nothing short of shameful. The sweet-faced Son also has a side to him that is so easy to dislike.
Thankfully, we had a referee who saw things for what they were and was not going to be intimidated by these goings-on and handled a potentially difficult match with panache and absolute authority.
Goals determine the nature of games and a 47-second starter for the visitors certainly dictated the tone of this one. Tottenham may have come with the intention to attack, but such an early lead led them to fall back and hold on to what they had. Consequently, the Reds began an onslaught which only petered out after they themselves had taken the lead at 75 minutes. During that time, Fabinho and Henderson were remorseless as they seemed to pick up every loose ball and spark attack after attack. It was appropriate that the first named such lay on the equaliser for the captain, whose blind-side run was sublime.
Later, the near unplayable Sadio Mane brilliantly earned a penalty for the Reds and Mo Salah took full advantage to win the game.
After that, everything seemed to be turned on its head as Spurs attacked and we defended.
For no obvious reason, some results reveal more meaning than others. Beating Leicester (who started in 3rd) was hugely satisfying not least due to the last gasp penalty winner. Yet, for all that, it paled into insignificance compared with this win over Spurs.
That was reflected in this Sunday crowd being truly raucous and every bit as loud as the Barca semifinal last season. Logically beating Spurs should not have been any more satisfying than turning over Brendan Rodgers’ side, but it was.
Liverpool were irresistible and only an inspired visiting keeper kept the score respectable. After such an early setback it was all hands to the pumps and the crowd duly responded to the efforts of the players.
Beforehand, one look at the Reds’ incredibly strong bench suggested there was more than half a team waiting at the ready to take on Arsenal on Wednesday in the League Cup. What strength in depth!
As I write, I’m still glowing from yesterday. The winning run cannot go on indefinitely, but while it continues, we can all revel in it. The next PL home game is against City. Bring it on!