James Milner‘s first-half penalty saw Liverpool take a 1-1 draw from Tottenham Hotspur as they returned to Premier League action on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League, White Hart Lane
Saturday 27 August, 2016
Goals: Rose 72′; Milner 42′
Returning to White Hart Lane for the first time since his first outing as Liverpool manager back in October, Jurgen Klopp looked to get secure some stability after a 2-0 defeat to Burnley the previous weekend.
Naming an industrious starting lineup, including a Premier League debut for Joel Matip, the German opted not to field a recognised striker, instead starting Roberto Firmino in a 4-3-3.
Simon Mignolet kept his place in goal, with Matip joined by Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and James Milner, with the 30-year-old hoping to build on a strong midweek display away to Burton Albion in the League Cup.
Jordan Henderson captained the side from midfield, flanked by Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, with Firmino supported by Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane in attack.
After putting five past the Brewers on Tuesday night, Liverpool arrived in north London on form and can be encouraged by their display.
White Hart Lane anticipated a frenetic start, and both sets of supporters were rewarded, with Spurs and Liverpool both charging into challenges with vigour as they looked to gain control on the contest.
It was Coutinho who came closest of the two sides in the first five minutes, with the Brazilian seeing his close-range effort stopped by Michel Vorm after Firmino and Mane combined down the right.
His opposite number, Christian Eriksen, tested Mignolet shortly after, but the Belgian was there to punch away his swinging free-kick.
Both sides looked threatening on the break, with Harry Kane easily shrugging off Dejan Lovren on 12 minutes before Lallana got back to stop Dele Alli, while Mane, Coutinho and Firmino looked to capitalise on direct play from Liverpool’s back line, but Vorm held firm.
Mane’s pace continued to trouble the Spurs defence, with the Senegalese chasing down loose balls at every opportunity, as the home side required timely interventions from Vorm.
An enthusiastic first half from the £30 million summer signing saw him become the centre of attention for both the home support and referee Bobby Madley, however, and he spent the final 10 minutes before the interval walking a tightrope on a booking.
Spurs and Liverpool both kept up the intensity throughout the half, but it was Firmino who got the better of Mauricio Pochettino’s defence, felled by Erik Lamela for a penalty on 42 minutes, which Milner coolly tucked home.
Klopp sent his side out early for the second half, no doubt asking for more of the same following a positive opening 45 minutes, and the Reds responded in kind, with Wijnaldum coming close with a long-range effort that saw Vorm at full stretch.
As Liverpool penned Spurs into their half in the opening stages of the second half, Matip had a great chance to put his new side two goals clear.
But the lofty centre-back, towering over the Spurs defence, could only loop his header onto the crossbar from Milner’s corner.
Mane had it in the back of the net minutes later, after a great break involving Coutinho, Wijnaldum and Lallana, but the winger was adjudged to have been offside when Liverpool’s No. 20 clipped in a low cross.
Eriksen and Lamela both had great chances to level the scores around the hour mark, but the former blazed his first-time effort over before Mignolet tipped the latter’s free-kick wide; Toby Alderweireld was also thwarted by the Belgian following a corner.
Mignolet was finally beaten in disappointing fashion on 72 minutes, however, with Danny Rose powering home at the near post after being found free in the box.
Legs began to visibly tire on that goal, and Klopp made a roll of the dice by bringing on Daniel Sturridge, with the No. 15 replacing Mane for the closing stages, but there was little time to make an impact as the clash trailed off to a draw.
TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
Referee: Bobby Madley
Tottenham: Vorm; Walker (Janssen 27′), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dier; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen (Winks 90+3′); Kane (Onomah 83′)
Substitutes: McGee, Davies, Winks, Carter-Vickers, Onomah, Son, Janssen
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Henderson, Lallana (Stewart 90+2′), Wijnaldum; Mane (Sturridge 87′), Coutinho (Origi 67′), Firmino
Substitutes: Manninger, Lucas, Moreno, Stewart, Grujic, Origi, Sturridge