Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in London on Thursday evening.
The Reds broke the deadlock at the conclusion of a hugely eventful first half when Sadio Mane scampered into space and squared for Roberto Firmino to slot in from close range.
Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled the champions’ advantage immediately after the break, rasping home after Hugo Lloris had saved an initial shot from Mane.
Spurs reduced the arrears within two minutes via Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s swerving drive from the edge of the box, but Mane thumped in a third on 65 minutes to ensure maximum points were secured.
The result moves Liverpool into fourth place in the standings, four points behind leaders Manchester City.
|5||West Ham United||20||10||5||5||30||24||6||35|
Liverpool made three changes from the weekend FA Cup tie at Manchester United. Fit-again Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip were restored, along with Mane; however, a minor muscle injury ruled Fabinho out. Curtis Jones and Rhys Williams also made way.
Liverpool kicked off on their second ever visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium aiming to halt a sequence of five games without a win in the Premier League.
And they almost made the perfect start, too. Alexander-Arnold’s long diagonal pass was knocked down by Mane to Mohamed Salah, who instantly nudged a return through to his fellow forward.
The No.10 found himself facing Hugo Lloris, but struck wide at the near post.
Within a minute, Spurs thought they’d taken the lead when Son Heung-min raced behind the Reds’ defence and beat Alisson Becker with a low shot, but the effort was ruled out by the VAR for offside.
It was a high-tempo opening in north London and Mane crashed a shot against a defender inside the area soon after.
At the other end, Matip had to produce a perfectly timed challenge to prevent Son from striking goalwards after the Tottenham frontman had again escaped into space inside the area.
The hosts’ No.7 was then foiled by a save from Alisson after Firmino had warmed the gloves of Lloris with an effort from distance.
With 24 minutes on the clock, Liverpool opened up their opponents with a slick interchange on the edge of the box that resulted in Mane prodding at Lloris on the stretch.
Spurs then needed the intervention of Joe Rodon to thwart Mane – and the No.10 was denied once again by a save from Lloris following a close-range blast.
The breakthrough finally arrived deep into four additional minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Henderson scooped a ball over the top into the path of Mane’s dart in behind. He controlled on his chest before squaring for Firmino to tap in from yards out.
Both sides made changes at the interval with Nat Phillips replacing Matip while Erik Lamela and Harry Winks came on for Harry Kane and Serge Aurier.
Liverpool threatened in the seconds that followed the restart when Salah clipped over.
Then the sides traded two goals in two minutes, with Alexander-Arnold crisply pinging the rebound in after Lloris had palmed away a low effort from Mane.
Spurs’ riposte was a quick one as Hojbjerg swept beyond Alisson from the edge of the area fewer than 120 seconds later.
The champions thought they’d restored a two-goal advantage on 56 minutes when Salah slammed in at the conclusion of a counter-attack. However, the VAR intervened and requested referee Martin Atkinson consult his touchline monitor after highlighting a potential handball by Firmino in the build-up. The effort was duly chalked off.
Nevertheless, the Reds did add a third to their tally shortly after. Alexander-Arnold’s sweeping centre from the right was misjudged by Rodon, allowing Mane to crash in a left-footed drive from inside the six-yard box.
The visitors had further openings to add to their tally as they took hold of the contest in the final stages on a highly satisfying night’s work in the capital.