Toby Alderweireld’s late own-goal handed Liverpool a huge three points in another pulsating encounter at Anfield. Lucas Moura cancelled out Roberto Firmino’s opener, but the own-goal sent Liverpool fans into raptures as Jürgen Klopp’s side moved back on top of the Premier League. Reds once again find a way to win in near repeat of last year… They say you need a helping hand to win titles. Well goalkeepers are certainly doing their part to help the Reds in their quest for glory, and Hugo Lloris is the latest name to add to the list. Liverpool have been unlucky with officiating decisions this season, but it seems their luck is being repaid in the misfortune of opposition players. The win over Spurs is another recent example of Liverpool stumbling over the line, but getting over the line all the same. The match was extremely similar to the 2-2 draw at Anfield last term. The Reds take an early lead, but fail to extend it and Spurs get a deserved equaliser. Mohamed Salah is than on hand right at the end to play a key role in his side regaining the lead, but fortunately this time around there was no heart-breaking Spurs strike. Realistically, Liverpool do really need to start winning matches convincingly again as good fortune can’t occur every game, but for now, especially in such a big game against a quality side, any victory will do. Klopp’s midfield selection and faith in plainness backfires… Nowadays it feels like a complete rarity if Klopp names a starting line-up without at least one surprise in it. On this occasion it was the place of Fabinho on the bench, and everyone’s favourite midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum out on the pitch. Every time this midfield plays, the response is always that we should never see it ever again. Yet here we are. Against Spurs it was terrible – the passing was extremely sloppy, too much space was given to the opposition midfielders and barely a single tackle was won. And what a shock that once Fabinho entered the fray, everything immediately improved and tackles were actually made. Liverpool were lucky to come away with three points, and if the win wasn’t secured then the midfield selection would have certainly been to blame. Klopp just doesn’t seem to learn, and while fans should back the majority of his decisions, this is an area where the fans are right. Fabinho needs to start every game for the remainder of the season as he is by far the team’s best midfielder, and the ‘trio of terror’ cannot be selected together. Please Jürgen. Please. World class defenders prove their worth in big moments… When Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son were bearing down on Alisson’s goal, it felt like the Fernando Torres and Willian scenario against Chelsea all over again – the moment when Liverpool’s title challenge collapses. But this time there was a Dutchman in the way, a Dutchman that blocked off the pass to Son while forcing Sissoko onto his weaker foot and putting him off. Virgil Van Dijk, aka the best defender in world football, may well have been involved in the moment that wins Liverpool the title. A crack team of word-smiths need to start coming up with new adjectives that we can use to describe Van Dijk. Next to him, another world class defender, and Andy Robertson was equally as outstanding in a superb performance. The Scotland captain broke the record for assists by a defender in a Premier League season when his perfect cross was headed home by Firmino, and Robertson was also on hand to deny Christian Eriksen a certain goal. Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold also deserve positive mentions, but the levels that Van Dijk and Robertson are performing at week in week out are tremendous. Salah the match-decider which needs to re-energise his season… With Spurs looking the more likely team to find winner, the only way Liverpool were going to find one of their own was if Salah had something to say about it. For most of the match the Egyptian produced another frustrating display – highlighted by his decision to go solo rather than play in Sadio Mane with the score at 1-0. But after Klopp’s double substitution, Salah moved upfront and all of a sudden he looked a threat. With the clock ticking down, Alexander-Arnold did extremely well to whip in a dangerous first-time cross, and then there was Salah. Right place, right time, and he finally got the luck that he’s been missing as his tame header was spilt by Lloris onto Alderweireld and over the line. This needs to be the moment Salah has been waiting for. The moment that re-invigorates his campaign. Hopefully, this will be the start of Salah tearing defences apart once again.
- Predicted XI: Tottenham Hotspur (H)
- Southampton awaits as Liverpool look to stay top.