Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham
Premier League – Anfield – Saturday 2nd April 2016
Goals: Coutinho (51); Kane (63)
Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the side that started in the 3-2 defeat at Southampton nearly two weeks ago, with Jon Flanagan, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi all making way. Firmino hadn’t recovered in time from injury.
It had the feel of a hugely entertaining contest between two aesthetically-pleasing sides, with a Liverpool win paramount in terms of keeping their top-four hopes alive.
Spurs looked typically energetic in the opening 10 minutes, and had a confidence about them rarely seen at Anfield throughout their history.
Christian Eriksen forced Simon Mignolet into the first save of the game, with his left-footed strike from inside the penalty area stinging the palms of the Belgian.
James Milner was denied by Kevin Wimmer’s block, and Coutinho volleyed straight at Hugo Lloris, as the match began to spark into life.
A mix-up between Mignolet and Dejan Lovren almost led to the ball ricocheting off Kane and into the Kop net, in what was yet another nervy moment from the Reds goalkeeper.
Heung-Min Son almost diverted the ball into his own net with 20 minutes on the clock, but Lloris showed sharp reflexes to keep it out.
Kane slid an effort wide of the target, following an error from Mamadou Sakho, as the match continued to ebb and flow.
Daniel Sturridge missed a glorious chance to give Liverpool the lead in the 36th minute, but shot straight at Lloris when clean-through on goal.
Adam Lallana then forced the France international into two good saves, the second of which was an acrobatic effort that outlined the goalkeeper’s class.
At half-time it was goalless, and it had been an extremely even affair.
No substitutions were made at the interval, as both Liverpool and Spurs looked to turn the game in their favour.
The quiet Dele Alli was found cleverly by Kane soon after the restart, but his attempted looping header was wayward in its execution.
In the 51st minute, Liverpool were ahead, and it was Coutinho who once again delivered in a big game. The Brazilian played a lovely one-two with Sturridge, before finishing clinically from just inside the box.
Sturridge nearly doubled the lead 11 minutes into the second-half, following a magnificent pass from Coutinho, while Son volleyed inches wide at the other end.
The visitors were level after 62 minutes, unfortunately, and it was Kane who finished brilliantly following good work by Eriksen. A huge half an hour or so awaited.
Eriksen’s shot was expertly kept out by Mignolet, and there was a sense that Spurs really fancied their chances of picking up all three points on Merseyside.
Coutinho’s cross-come-shot somehow squirmed past the post midway through the second-half, in what was becoming an increasingly relentless contest. Divock Origi replaced Sturridge.
The young Belgian shot straight at the impressive Lloris, while Alli had nearly pounced for Spurs seconds earlier. Coutinho fired just wide late on.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a point, despite Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld coming close to scoring a winner, and it was a very fair result.
For Liverpool, attention now turns to Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, in the first-leg of the Europa League quarter-finals.
TIA Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Milner (Ibe 90′), Lallana (Allen 82′), Coutinho, Sturridge (Origi 72′).
Subs not used: Ward, Toure, Skrtel, Smith.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Son (Chadli 66′), Alli (Mason 87′), Kane.
Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Carroll, Onomah.
Referee: Jonathan Moss