Mohamed Salah was spot on to send Liverpool six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after a struggle against Paulo Gazzaniga-inspired Tottenham.
Harry Kane put the visitors ahead after just 47 seconds, but Jordan Henderson’s first Anfield goal since 2015 and Salah’s penalty gave Jurgen Klopp’s men a vital victory.
Spurs started superbly when Son Heung-min created space for a 20-yard shot that was deflected onto the post by the head of Dejan Lovren. With Alisson stranded, the rebound landed perfectly for the lurking Kane to nod in.
Liverpool were stunned, but regrouped to force five great chances in the space of four minutes.
Gazzaniga first clawed away a Salah effort before blocking the rebound from Roberto Firmino.
The Spurs keeper’s fingertips then touched over a thumping header from Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold was next to be denied by Gazzaniga when he smashed a drive goalwards.
An unmarked Sadio Mane then headed wide as Spurs defended desperately.
Gazzaniga’s heroics continued when he kept out a Firmino header and then came two opportunities that shaped the outcome.
First, Son broke clear, rounded Alisson, but his finish struck the bar. Henderson made him pay for that miss when he crashed in at the other end in the 52nd minute.
And the comeback was complete in the 75th minute when Serge Aurier kicked Mane in an attempted clearance and conceded the spot-kick that Salah drove in confidently.
REDS REAP REWARDS OF THEIR EXTRA MAN
It was tense, it was tight, but this is now 45 matches unbeaten at Anfield for Liverpool as they confirmed a club-record 12th home victory.
It offers a major reason why the Reds are six points clear at the top and driving towards a first top-flight title since 1990. That was an era where the opposition feared coming to Anfield.
For 51 minutes, Spurs fought and frustrated the hosts, squeezing and suffocating across the pitch.
GET IN REDS!! 🔴🔴— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 27, 2019
But even as several chances were spurned, the Anfield roar lifted their side when needed most.
Such backing breeds confidence and the bedrock of every title-winning side is their home performances.
Liverpool are far from fluent, far from being at their best right now, but they have belief on and off the pitch to dig deep and grind out victories such as this.
When City visit on November 10 for their eagerly-awaited showdown, they have to be ready to take on Liverpool’s 13th man.
KANE ABLE TO DO MORE AND WIN MORE
The recent suggestion of Roy Keane that his old club Manchester United should buy Harry Kane to help revive their fortunes was a notion of fantasy.
At 26, in the prime of his career, he needs to be somewhere challenging for major honours, not part of a rebuilding project.
Kane has done that at Spurs and there comes a time when personal ambition comes to the fore.
11 - Tottenham will find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League table in November for the first time since 2014. Slide. pic.twitter.com/NTbCso66Pn— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 27, 2019
A 16th goal of the campaign for club and country – in a game where he did not get many other chances – reflects his quality. He is on a par with Robert Lewandowski as a finisher and why Europe’s leading clubs should be assessing his situation at Spurs to see if they can tempt him away.
He has now joined Martin Chivers on 174 career goals for the club, but is unlikely to overhaul Jimmy Greaves’ tally of 266 in the all-time list unless he decides to commit his best years.
A one-club player is pretty special these days, but, as Spurs sit 11th and 16 points behind leaders Liverpool and changes expected next summer, Kane has to consider where he and Spurs are heading. Trophies define legacies, not just goals.
GOMEZ NEEDS MORE BACKING
The absence of Joel Matip through injury again highlighted the defensive concerns at Anfield, especially in the centre.
Two clean sheets in the league and one in the League Cup this season are sorry statistics for a team of this calibre.
Dejan Lovren was preferred here for only his fourth start. The last in midweek at Genk saw mistakes and prompted calls for Joe Gomez to face Spurs.
For someone deemed surplus to requirements in the summer, has been prone to lapses and was beaten with ease by Son when the South Korean hit the bar, it was a surprising call by Klopp to turn again to Lovren.
Gomez, whose only league start came back in August against Norwich, has often been widely touted as the long-term partner for Van Dijk, yet usually fills in for Alexander-Arnold when he needs a rest.
He struggled in the Champions League game with RB Salzburg, where the Reds conceded three, but Klopp needs to test and trust Gomez. His development will not improve on the bench.
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