A stoppage-time goal from Erik Lamela and a late flurry from Tottenham nearly saw the home side overturn a 2-0 deficit. Liverpool hung on behind goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino to make it a perfect 15 out of 15 points.
The first match of Gameweek Five saw Liverpool face Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds’ trip to Wembley looked to be off to a dream start. Within a minute of the first whistle, Firmino turned home James Milner’s cross. After the flag ruled him offside, Sadio Mané was adjudged to have affected the play from an offside position.
While the dream of scoring in the first 10 minutes did not come to fruition, it didn’t take away the quality of Liverpool’s performance. The Reds were immediately dominating possession, putting Tottenham on the back-foot with ease.
It wasn’t until the ten-minute mark where Liverpool began to see their possession dip and Tottenham started to settle. From that point, the Reds handled the attacking pressure and made breaks forward on the counter-attack. Mohamed Salah had a clear opportunity that should have been put away but fell straight into the gloves of Michel Vorm.
At half-time, Liverpool went ahead by a spectacular headed goal put away by Georginio Wijnaldum. Although the ball was clawed away by Vorm, Goal Line Technology confirmed it crossed the line.
New and improved
In the second half, Liverpool started bright but a few mistakes from Joe Gomez almost gave Spurs a window back into the game. Luckily Alisson was alert and on-hand to stop any lurking chances following Gomez’s dispossession in front of goal.
The hype amongst the home fans soon fizzled out. Tottenham simply could not carve out any true build-up chances with Liverpool firmly holding their ground.
In the 53rd minute, Liverpool doubled their lead. Following a smooth over-the-top pass from Andrew Robertson, Sadio Mané dribbled into the 18-yard box. Sending a defeating ball across the six-yard line, Firmino scoops it away after a poor clearance from Jan Vertonghen and poor handling from Vorm.
Just like in the first half, Liverpool created chance after chance but failed to find the end product. If it was not for some selfish play from Mané and Salah, the Reds could have been up by five or six goals.
Without a doubt, this was another dominating performance for Liverpool away from Anfield. Lamela’s late goal didn’t throw the visitors off and Liverpool rode out a calm 2-1 victory.
Saturday’s team looked a shadow of the side that fell defeat to four Spurs goals just one year ago.
Wijnaldum – often overlooked by fans and professionals alike – was everywhere in the first half. The Dutchman put in a solid shift that James Milner would be proud of.
This was Wijnaldum’s first away goal in 58 Premier League appearances for both Liverpool and Newcastle. This wasn’t just about the goal, though as Wijnaldum has been known to ‘disappear’ during away matches in the past. Wembley was the exact opposite.
It was the Number 5’s shift this match that was exceptional as he continuously looked to maintain possession, drive forward and look to counter-attack after regaining the ball.
A player that had a below-par performance, however, was last season’s Golden Boot winner. Salah has struggled to continue his blistering goal-scoring campaign and his performance against Tottenham showcased this. His desperation to find the back of the net got the better of him and a lot of selfishness cost the team some clear chances to score.
Following his injury in the Champions League final just four months ago, Salah still seems to be playing gingerly. Despite criticism, he has still contributed to goals this season – scoring two and assisting one. With Paris Saint Germain on the horizon, three goal contributions in five games aren’t the worst stats to be carrying.
Five in five
A Chelsea route of Cardiff means Liverpool drop to second in the ladder but the Reds maintain their perfect start. Although the Reds have 15 points in the bank, the team doesn’t seem to have gotten out of third gear yet. With a strong starting XI and a good-looking bench, Liverpool look like they’re barely breaking a sweat.
Fabinho is yet to be implemented into the team and Xherdan Shaqiri has been getting minimal game time. With Daniel Sturridge also looking fitter than ever, Liverpool have three key players still looking to make their part this season.
With an onslaught of tough opponents to finish off the month, it was imperative to grab three points. The Reds have a tough timetable going forward and their win over Spurs is the momentum needed to go forward.