Tottenham and Liverpool played out a hugely entertaining 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon, with the result ensuring the Reds go into Christmas three points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Both teams were hit with Covid-19 enforced absences before the game and the makeshift starting lineups made for a ludicrously open encounter in north London.
Things got off to a frenetic start, with both sides having chances early on, and there was little surprise when Spurs grabbed the game’s first goal when Harry Kane raced onto Tanguy Ndombele’s through pass and slotted past Alisson.
Minutes later, the hosts should have had a second with Son Heung-min just sliding Kane’s cross wide of the post under little pressure, before Dele Alli missed an even better chance when put through one-on-one with Alisson – the Brazilian making a brilliant fingertip save to send his effort wide of the post.
Liverpool had their moments too, and the hosts were made to pay for their wastefulness when Diogo Jota levelled the scores, rising high to nod home Andy Robertson’s cross for his 10th Premier League goal of the season. Moments later, Jota probably should have won a penalty when Emerson Royal bundled him over in the box, but referee Paul Tierney wasn’t interested.
The Reds went on to finish the first 45 minutes strongly with Trent Alexander-Arnold having a fierce strike palmed away by Alisson just before the break. However, there for still time for Kane to fluff a golden opportunity before the most entertaining half of the Premier League season so far drew to a close.
The drama continued at the start of the second half with the England skipper missing two more presentable chances, first seeing an effort smothered by Alisson and then nodding over when unmarked at the back post.
Then, in a roller-coaster few minutes, Dele had a penalty shout waved away and Liverpool took the ball down the other end to score through Robertson, who steered Alexander-Arnold’s drilled cross into the net with his head. There were shouts from the Spurs ranks for handball in the build-up, but the goal stood.
Liverpool’s lead did not last long with a horrific mistake by Alisson allowing Son the easiest of finishes. Before we had time to catch our breath, Robertson decided to clean out Emerson Royal on the touchline. The Scot initially was booked, but his yellow card was upgraded to a red following a VAR review.
Spurs pushed hard for the winner in the closing stages but for once there was to be no twist in this tale, with Liverpool hanging on for a point.
Here are your player ratings from a bonafide Premier League classic…
Hugo Lloris (GK) – 6/10 – Made a few smart stops to keep the score down. Could maybe point the finger at him for the second goal.
Davinson Sanchez (CB) – 5/10 – A few shaky moments, none more so than when his slip-up allowed Mane a sight of goal in the first half.
Eric Dier (CB) – 7/10 – Looks to really enjoy life in the middle of a back three. He barely misplaced a pass and defended confidently.
Ben Davies (CB) – 5/10 – Doubled up on Salah effectively at times. However, his strength in the tackle was lacking. Needed to show composure when presented with a decent opening at the end.
Emerson Royal (RWB) – 5/10 – Very lucky not to concede a penalty in the first half. Delivery was poor and a few shaky moments.
Tanguy Ndombele (CM) – 7/10 – Fantastic pass set up Kane’s opener. Got caught in possession a few times after that. Influence waned and he was taken off in the second half.
Harry Winks (CM) – 8/10 – One of his best displays in recent memory. Broke up play diligently to help Spurs unsettle their opponents.
Dele Alli (CM) – 6/10 – Missed a sitter in the first half, he has to lose a mark for that unfortunately. His manager was not a happy man. Box-to-box runs suggest he could have a future under Antonio Conte, though.
Ryan Sessegnon (LWB) – 6/10 – Not a great deal to report in an attacking sense, but he fared well against Salah.
Harry Kane (ST) – 6/10 – Finally ended his goal drought with a precise finish but might have been sent off on another day for a late lunge. Missed a sitter on the stroke of half time and then let two even better openings go begging after the break.
Son Heung-min (ST) – 7/10 – Missed two gilt-edged chances in the opening exchanges. Continued plugging away and eventually got his reward with the easiest goal of his life.
Oliver Skipp (CM) – 7/10 – Involved after coming on. Good energy.
Lucas Moura (RW) – 6/10
Sergio Reguilon (LWB) – N/A
Alisson (GK) – 4/10 – Some good, some bad, some very bad. Made several impressive stops but almost gifted Spurs a goal after a defensive mixup. He then did hand his opponents one on a plate.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 9/10 – Sublime going forward. His ability to act as his side’s primary creator from right-back never fails to astound.
Joel Matip (CB) – 5/10 – The channel between him and Alexander-Arnold was exploited several times by Spurs.
Ibrahima Konate (CB) – 5/10 – A bit slow to get across to Kane for the first goal. Not convincing throughout.
Andrew Robertson (LB) – 7/10 – A couple of stupidly good deliveries, including his cross for Jota’s leveller. Finished calmly for his goal, too. A shame he couldn’t channel the same level of composure a few minutes, when he saw red.
Tyler Morton (CM) – 5/10 – A baptism of fire on his first Premier League start. Struggled to cope with the pace of the game but is clearly a real talent.
Naby Keita (CM) – 6/10 – A chaotic display. Got through of lot of work and both ends, registering a bonkers eight tackles.
James Milner (CM) – 5/10 – Liverpool’s midfield was bypassed far too easily early on, often due to Milner’s lack of mobility. Got a handle on things in the second period.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 6/10 – One of his quieter outings, though he was probably due an off-day in his defence.
Diogo Jota (ST) – 8/10 – Scored a perfect header. How is he so good in the air? Well above Roberto Firmino in the pecking order now.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 5/10 – Always asking questions of Spurs’ defence but his decision making was lacking at times.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – 5/10 – Could not get involved effectively.
Kostas Tsimikas (LB) – N/A
Joe Gomez (CB) – N/A
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