SPORTS

Liverpool create history as they triumph against Tottenham Hotspur


Liverpool
 have stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 16 points courtesy of a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the English capital.

Roberto Firmino scored the only goal of the match for the Reds, who are now 16 clear of second-placed Leicester City with a game in hand. Tottenham, meanwhile, stay down in eighth spot, nine points off Chelsea in fourth.

The victory also means that Liverpool have made the best-ever start in the 131-year history of English top-flight football, recording their 20th victory from 21 matches.

Roberto Firmino celebrates opening the scoring during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on January 11, 2020

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Liverpool had two big chances to make the breakthrough inside the first three minutes, but Japhet Tanganga, on his Premier League debut, did brilliantly to block Firmino’s goal-bound attempt before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curled one against the post moments later during a fast start for the visitors.

Tottenham had their first sight of the away side’s goal in the fifth minute, although Lucas Moura‘s attempt from outside the box was always moving wide of Alisson Becker‘s post.

Son Heung-min then curled wide of the Liverpool goal in the eighth minute as Spurs caused problems on the counter-attack in the early exchanges of the contest.

The league leaders were having plenty of the ball but opportunities continued to arrive for Spurs, with Dele Alli striking over the crossbar in the 13th minute after breaking into the space between Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Liverpool had a clear chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute when Jordan Henderson floated a cross onto the head of Van Dijk, but the Netherlands international saw his attempt kept out by Paulo Gazzaniga.

Andy Robertson and Serge Aurier in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on January 11, 2020

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The home side’s game-plan was clear to see as they sat deep, limiting the space available in-behind before attempting to break, using the pace of Son and Lucas in the final third of the field.

Jose Mourinho‘s side were in a back five when Liverpool had the ball but that changed to a four in possession, with Serge Aurier almost playing as a right-sided midfielder while Tanganga switched across to right-back.

A smart exchange involving Mohamed Salah and Firmino presented Sadio Mane with a chance to send Jurgen Klopp‘s side ahead 10 minutes before the break, but the Senegal international volleyed into the ground and over as Tottenham escaped a dangerous moment.

Liverpool were ahead in the 37th minute, though, with Firmino stepping away from Tanganga inside the Tottenham box before smashing the ball past Gazzaniga to break the deadlock. VAR had a look at a possible Henderson handball, but the goal was eventually given following a short check.

Salah came close to sending the visitors 2-0 ahead in the 43rd minute having knocked Davinson Sanchez off the ball inside the Tottenham box, but Egypt international just curled the ball wide of the post.

Jordan Henderson and Son Heung-min in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on January 11, 2020


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Lucas had the final chance of the first period as he headed wide from a Christian Eriksen corner, with Firmino’s strike separating the two teams at the end of the opening 45 minutes.

Tottenham’s Brazilian attacker also had the first opportunity of the second half after breaking into a dangerous position, but he fired wide of the post under pressure.

Liverpool were controlling the pace of the match as the clock moved towards the hour, with Tottenham finding it increasingly difficult to harm their rivals in the final third of the field.

Mourinho’s side had a half-chance in the 58th minute when Aurier curled one towards goal after Van Dijk had challenged Alli, but Alisson was on hand to make the save, before Gazzaniga kept out Firmino down the other end.

Spurs had another opportunity just before the hour when Son worked a shooting position before unleashing a strike, and the attacker’s attempt was deflected just wide of the post.

Trent Alexander-Arnold in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on January 11, 2020

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Gazzaniga had to keep out a header from Mane in the 66th minute as Liverpool threatened a second, which saw Mourinho respond by introducing both Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso in place of Danny Rose and Eriksen, who was booed off the field by the home fans.

Son had a golden chance to level the scores in the 75th minute having been found by Lucas inside the penalty box, but the South Korea international somehow scooped the ball over the crossbar.

Lo Celso had an even better opportunity in the 83rd minute, but the attacker could only send a brilliant Aurier cross wide of the post, which saw Mourinho drop to his knees.

Giovani Lo Celso has a missed shot at goal during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on January 11, 2020

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As it transpired, it was far from comfortable for Liverpool as they were forced to resist a lot of late pressure, but the Reds held on to pick up yet another three points.

Next up for Tottenham is an FA Cup third-round replay at home to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, while Liverpool will continue their league campaign at home to bitter rivals Manchester United next Sunday.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (5-4-1): Gazzaniga; Aurier, Tanganga, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose (Lamela 69′); Winks, Eriksen (Lo Celso 69′), Dele, Son; Lucas

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lallana 61′); Mane (Origi 81′), Firmino, Salah (Shaqiri 91′)

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