Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League, Anfield
February 11, 2017
Mane 16′ (assist – Wijnaldum)
Mane 19′ (assist – Firmino)
Having taken just one win from their first 10 games in 2017, and suffering a demoralising 2-0 loss away to Hull City last time out, the Reds welcomed a tough challenger to Anfield on Saturday.
By comparison, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs prepared for their trip to Merseyside encouraged by an unbeaten run that stretched from the middle of December, including nine wins in 11 outings.
In terms of form, the away side went into their top-four clash as heavy favourites, but with Liverpool enjoying an excellent record against the Premier League‘s top six this season, Jurgen Klopp will have been optimistic.
Eager to secure a victory that could signal a change in fortunes this year, Liverpool were primed to give it their all at Anfield, and it translated into an emphatic display.
- Klopp makes just one change to side that lost at Hull
- Mane nets twice in three minutes to give Reds strong lead
- Lucas withdrawn with hamstring injury late into second half
- Reds hold on to seal vital first league victory of 2017
- Klopp’s side move back up to fourth in the table
Liverpool began strongly, enjoying a lot of their possession in the Spurs half, with Mane particularly thriving, given the space to run at deputy left-back and former Reds target Ben Davies.
It was Mane who opened the scoring just after the 15-minute mark, latching onto Wijnaldum’s fantastic through ball to curl it beyond Hugo Lloris and put the Reds 1-0 ahead.
And just two minutes later, the Senegalese had scored his second of the night, putting pressure on Eric Dier to spring a swift counter-attack, and with both Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino seeing their efforts saved by Lloris, Mane was on hand to power it into the roof of the net.
Eager to continue adding to his tally, Mane had two more excellent chances within minutes, with Lloris making a pair of strong saves to deny the 24-year-old his hat-trick.
The game opened up soon after, and Spurs almost grabbed one back through Heung-Min Son, but Simon Mignolet had an inspired stop to ensure Liverpool kept their lead.
Having gone into the interval in positive spirits, the Reds looked to keep their momentum going in the second half, but came up against a more structure Spurs side, fuelled by a roaring Pochettino.
Liverpool still looked threatening in the final, but the chances were few and far between before the hour mark, though Spurs’ frustration showed with a number of rash challenges and bookings.
They then began to find more openings pushing forward, and Lallana almost threaded Coutinho through with a smart pass, but the Brazilian was unable to fire his effort on target.
Klopp then brought off Coutinho, sending on Can in his place, giving his side some more physicality as they held on for the three points.
TIA Man of the Match: Georginio Wijnaldum
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lucas (Klavan 82′), Milner; Henderson, Lallana, Wijnaldum; Mane (Alexander-Arnold 90+2′), Coutinho (Can 77′), Firmino
Subs not used: Karius, Moreno, Sturridge, Origi
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Dembele (Sissoko 77′), Wanyama; Eriksen (Winks 68′), Alli, Son (Jansson 82′); Kane
Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Nkoudou