Liverpool ran out deserved winners away at Tottenham tonight ending a poor run of form since Christmas.
The reds, who had failed to score for over eight hours in the league, even had the luxury of a goal harshly denied by VAR over the course of the game. Liverpool's performance was at a much higher level and more reminiscent of the side that stormed to be named Champions last season.
However, that looked increasingly unlikely in the hours before the game when photo leaks began to suggest that Fabinho would be out - and it was confirmed when the team sheet named Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson in defence. A muscle injury the apparent reason for the Brazilian midfielder/defender's absence.
Within 2 minutes Sadio Mane was handed a glorious chance to start the ball rolling but put it wide. Oh no - not all this again!
And almost immediately Spurs went up the other end and Son placed the ball in the net. Alisson should have done better.
Thankfully VAR went back and, as has happened to Liverpool far too many times to mention, they brought out the telescope camera and Son was a fraction offside in the build up. Harsh - as all those decisions tend to be in favour of the defenders. 0-0.
Roberto Firmino does have something of a goalscoring knack in this particular fixture, and after the reds missed a glut of chances eventually in the third minute of first half injury time, Mane's ball was poked in by Bobby. 1-0. A furious Mourinho on the touchline. A hugely relieved Jurgen Klopp.
— Anfield Online (@anfieldonline) 28 January 2021
The reds were forced into a change at half time. Joel Matip, only lasted 45, and on came Nat Phillips in another new centre-back partnership alongside Henderson.
Harry Kane was also replaced at half time due to a knock he picked up in the first half, and Serge Aurier went off also as Mourinho tried to correct his tactical masterplans.
Within two minutes Liverpool had doubled the lead. Hugo Lloris, always prone to slight errors, failed to save a Sadio Mane drilled shot and pushed it in the direction of Trent Alexander-Arnold who fired in. The scouse right back had a much better game and looked a lot more lively than in the past few weeks.
Spurs hit back straight away - Hojbjerg firing a nice shot from the edge of the area but he was afforded way too much time and space to get his chance away.
After a clash of heads between Joe Rodon and Thiago, the Liverpool midfielder briefly departed to receive a strapping head bandage, and as he sauntered back on to the pitch he placed the ball at Mane's feet who delivered it to Salah to make it 3-1.
However, replays showed Eric Dier handle the ball as he tried to wrestle Firmino the ground, forcing the ball to then hit Firmino's arm. The eventual outcome of this referee pitchside review was, baffling, no advantage to Liverpool and a Spurs free kick. Goal ruled out.
But Liverpool deserved all three points here and it was fitting that Mane got the third goal of the game to end all aspiration for Spurs.
A 100th league win for Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool boss and the reds move up to 4th, closing the gap on Man City to four points.
Much better, reds!