Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham came via a record Mohamed Salah goal and by a remarkably slim margin given the dominance they enjoyed.
For most watching, the result never seemed beyond doubt on Sunday.
Despite Harry Kane breaking the deadlock within the first minute, the Reds’ control over Spurs was such that it was a matter of when, not if, as they pursued victory.
An equaliser from Jordan Henderson and Salah’s penalty—expertly won, again, by Sadio Mane—were enough to secure the three points and a ninth Premier League win in 10 games so far.
They had 68.3 percent of possession, fired 21 shots on goal to Spurs’ 11—with 13 on target to four, and five blocked to two—and the outstanding Paulo Gazzaniga was forced into 12 saves while Alisson required just three.
The basic statistics tell the story of the game, but here are five others from Liverpool’s fine afternoon.
Salah’s Anfield 50
When Salah stepped up to convert his 75th-minute penalty, he was on the cusp of yet another record.
Firing it confidently past Gazzaniga, the Egyptian netted his 50th Anfield goal for the club, having done so in just 57 games.
This makes Salah the fastest Liverpool player to reach a home half-century in the Premier League era, and the second-fastest in history, behind only Roger Hunt.
Hunt—who is the Reds’ all-time second-highest goalscorer with 285—hit the 50-goal mark in 55 games, which puts Salah’s achievement into perspective.
He is performing at legendary standards; long may he keep it up.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Henderson highlighted “mentality” as the key to Liverpool’s fightback, adding that “the gaffer has changed that so much in us.”
In the wake of Dejan Lovren‘s comments on Klopp’s “doubters to believers” line on joining the club, it was fitting that the Reds were able to put an early setback behind them, stay calm and seal a deserved win.
This Is Anfield’s James Nalton took to Twitter after the game to reveal the extent of their never-say-die attitude, in their record coming from behind since the start of 2018/19:
Liverpool have secured 23 points after falling behind in the 18/19, 19/20 seasons, more than any other team.
7 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat (Man City away in January).
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) October 28, 2019
While Liverpool may not be keeping as many clean sheets as last season, recent results against Spurs, Man United and—though they didn’t go behind—Leicester are uncovering a more hardened, determined push for the title.
Trent the Creator
Though there were still occasional, and understandable, defensive lapses from a right-back deplored far up the pitch, Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of the standout performers against Spurs.
The 21-year-old’s delivery from out wide was a constant threat, and it was his long ball which led to Mane winning the penalty to take the three points.
Liverpool’s No. 66 created seven chances for his team-mates on Sunday—more than any other player and only one fewer than the entire Spurs side—and this brought his league tally for the campaign up to 37.
That is the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues, with Kevin de Bruyne second-best (36)—though it must be noted Trent has played more minutes than the rest of the top 10.
Regardless, coming from right-back this is an incredible feat.
Six Minutes in Heaven
In his post-match press conference, Klopp described Liverpool’s performance as “how football should look,” and said “the counter-press was exceptional, it was kind of ‘back’.”
The Reds cornered Spurs for much of the game, but a six-minute passage analysed by Football365 showed the extent of the home side’s dominance:
“From the 25th minute to the 31st, Liverpool had six shots, four of which were on target.
“They had 94.1% possession and a 90% pass-completion rate.
“Tottenham completed a single pass in those 360 seconds: Gazzaniga hurriedly scrambling the ball away to Rose to try and alleviate an overwhelming press.”
It is remarkable that Liverpool came away with just a 2-1 win.
28-Point Title Omen
Victory over Spurs was vital.
Man City were unable to take the three points at home to Mauricio Pochettino’s side in August, and that combined with other failings has given Liverpool a six-point lead at the top.
Next up in the league for the Reds is a trip to Aston Villa on November 2, but after that they host City in a game which will no doubt have a big marker on the title race.
Liverpool’s victory on Sunday was particularly key, as they equalled a Premier League record after taking 28 points from their first 10 league games:
Liverpool have equalled the Premier League record of 28 points from opening 10 games. All three teams who hold that record previously won the title. pic.twitter.com/Yzk66nZdnb
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) October 27, 2019
Only the fourth side to do so, this should be a good omen for the Reds.