Another clean sheet and narrow victory came the way of Liverpool at Tottenham, with the Reds’ performance presenting a handful of key talking points.
Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds made the journey to the capital for their first-ever visit to Tottenham‘s new stadium, one they will remember fondly as they walked away with another three points on a record-breaking evening for the club.
A plethora of clear cut chances had come the way of the Reds to open the scoring but they had to wait until Roberto Firmino‘s strike in the 37th minute to move a step closer to the win.
And while Spurs had looked to capitalise on Liverpool’s slight giving nature in the second, the Reds held firm to clinch their 20th win of the campaign and stretch their unbeaten run to 38 games.
Here, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) is joined by Jonathan Higgins (@Jhiggins3) and Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) to delve into the highs and lows from the victory and discuss these record-breaking Reds.
Jonathan: Obviously the most important things was another three points and the statement that this sends out to the rest of the league.
The record-breaking Reds were a joy to watch especially in the opening half as they completely dominated the game and played with a swagger.
Tottenham were completely pinned back deep in their own half and aside from a couple of lapses of concentration were left chasing red shadows. The number of times they just aimlessly booted the ball away to get some reprieve speaks volumes.
When Tottenham had their purple patch in the second half, Alisson stood strong in goal. The guy just oozes class and the ease which he dealt with the attempts at his goal spreads a calmness and assurance all around the team. (Tottenham fans must hate him!)
Bobby’s winning goal ensured he hit the headlines, but there were great performance’s all over the pitch in red. Mane’s work rate and desire to win the ball back was a joy to watch and Lallana deserves a mention as well, he was immense when he came on and played a key part in seeing out the victory.
Leanne: I think everyone knew this was going to be a tough one. Jose Mourinho loves to spoil a party and the opportunity to halt Liverpool’s juggernaut was the type of challenge he relishes.
Given the Reds have struggled against his double-decker buses before, it’s a performance that reflects the transformation this team have undergone.
Despite every man and his son being behind the ball for Spurs, Liverpool were still able to create plenty of chances and unpick the lock. Just as they have done all season, they contrived ways to get the job done.
This time it was Firmino delivering an instinctive moment of individual quality, but there was never any suggestions that the goal wouldn’t come.
In previous years you’d have been wondering whether this was all flowing per Mourinho’s narrative, but Klopp’s side simply refuse to let their juggernaut stop. It wasn’t always the prettiest at times, the last twenty was a real fight, but once again they showed the depth and breadth of their qualities, ticking off another game week with another three points.
As Jonathan noted, Lallana deserves immense credit for his role in seeing out the final 20 minutes. He’s never been far away from criticism during his time at the club, but he’s become Klopp’s go-to man in recent weeks and is certainly playing his part in this title challenge.
Composed and assured in possession and chipping away at Spurs to halt their momentum, his performance summed up the collective ethos around this side; every single player, from top to bottom, has a part to play.
Joanna: Agree with what both Jonathan and Leanne have said there, with Liverpool’s ability to move the bus and find a way to win another example of how far this side have progressed.
Alisson, Bobby and Lallana obviously earning high praise and for good reason but I also thought Gini was imperative to the result. He had one slip up which could have proved costly but he was outstanding both in and out of possession for the majority of the game.
Another win, another three points and another step closer to where we want to be come May.
Jonathan: The reaction of Klopp on the sideline in the second half probably tells you everything you need to know.
It was a game that should have been comfortably put to bed, but instead, like Jurgen, our emotions were all nearly torn apart during the end of the second half. I mean I think everyone had to almost change their underwear as the Lo Celso shot flew past the post.
Even during periods of large dominance in the first half a couple of sloppy mistakes and lapses of concentration led to big Tottenham opportunities. Both Gini and Henderson mistakes spring to mind straight away.
Leanne: It’s hard to pick apart anything too negative in a performance like that.
Liverpool were so dominant for 70 minutes, dictating 70-80 percent of the ball, before grinding out the win. I think Klopp would’ve wanted to see a bit more ruthlessness from his players – Chamberlain has a great early chance before Van Dijk’s header, for example.
In the second half passes got a bit sloppy and there were some tired legs which is understandable given the intensity of the fixture list in recent weeks, but Liverpool could and should have put the game to bed.
If there’s one thing you could dwell on its probably that, but getting the job done is all that matters at this stage.
Joanna: What is it with all the light shows at stadiums these days?! Whatever happened to an authentic atmosphere led by the fans?
Anyways, have to agree with Jonathan there about the nerves certainly settling in during the second half as we were almost punished for a series of lapses – it’s probably the most nervous I’ve been in a while.
Aside from the sloppiness which crept into our game throughout and the missed chances, there is not much to point a finger at in terms of negatives, Martin Atkinson was always going to be a pain and make far too many questionable decisions.
And the Reds now have the best-ever start to a season after 21 games, how far do you think they can extend it?
Jonathan: Firstly, I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to watch this Liverpool team every week.
I’ve lost count of the number of different records they are breaking seems to a daily occurrence these days. Is there a record for breaking the most amount of records?!
As mad as it sounds, I think there is more to come from this team, obviously, I’m not naive enough to think for a second that this can continue forever but I really feel a team someday soon is going to take an awful hiding off us, next weekend would be perfect timing!
Leanne: It feels like Liverpool are breaking records every week at this point, which is testament to the territory they are in.
Make no mistake, this is a generational side with so much quality and depth, determined to get themselves to the finish line no matter what.
Key to this run has been the ability to contrive a variety of ways to win; there have been some almighty fights, some showcases of scintillating football, and some displays of mentality monsters reflective of the journey that’s been made over the past four years.
It feels fitting that Liverpool capped the best-ever start to a season across Europe’s top five leagues with a win at Spurs, though. That chastening 4-1 defeat at Wembley in October 2017, is where the transformation began and the contrasting fortunes of both teams since couldn’t be clearer.
Liverpool are in a completely different bracket now and the tale has come full circle.
Klopp’s insistence to take one game at a time is precisely why Liverpool find themselves in such a strong position – they don’t dwell on the weeks to come but deal only with the matter at hand. He and his players may remain tight-lipped on title talk, but there’s no denying their grip is growing stronger.
United next, and a chance to make amends for those two measly points dropped.
Joanna: It’s like my brain can’t compute such statistics despite how many times I look at the table and read all the records which keep coming our way.
It does feel at times as though I’m taking for granted how special this team is, I mean over a year unbeaten in the league which now stretches to 38 games, and we have the highest points total ever after 21 matches – it’s nothing short of incredible.
We keep winning in different ways and showcasing our ability to grind it out, putting teams to the sword or simply swatting them away.
To say we’ve also picked up six successive clean sheets in the top flight amid our most congested period says everything you need to know about this team, and it really is hard to see when it will come to an end.
I always feel we can be our worst enemy and I don’t think we’ll be outclassed by anyone in the division, it is simply up to us and our performance levels as to how long the run will go on for.