Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham, highlights: Balotelli breaks duck and Gerrard reaches another landmark
It was a case of third time lucky for Liverpool as they took the lead thrice in a topsy-turvy match in which Tottenham refused to let the home side out of sight. Steven Gerrard went level with Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, christened as ‘God’ by the Kopites, to become Liverpool’s 5th highest goalscoer with 183 goals. But, in the short-term, all the attention will be given to Mario Balotelli, who scored his first Premier League goal by netting the winner.
Ahead of the game, Liverpool were top while Spurs were second in the form table. Raheem Sterling was ruled out of the clash after suffering a knock in his team’s 0-0 draw with Everton. Daniel Sturridge made his first start in Sterling’s absence and Lazar Markovic replaced the injured Lucas Leiva. Tottenham came into the match buoyed by Harry Kane’s goalscoring form and without any major injury concerns.
The match started with Liverpool taking the upper hand early on not letting Spurs settle and it took a couple of saves from Hugo Lloris to prevent the Reds from taking the lead. However, Lloris failed to deal with a Markovic shot with his left-foot and the ball rolled in the back of the net for Liverpool to take the lead.
Spurs refused to go down without a fight as Kane levelled things soon after when he had a clear shot on goal. The away side then took the match into their hands and controlled the game forcing Liverpool on the back foot. Sturridge nearly restored Liverpool’s lead with an audacious back-heel which ricocheted off the post. But, both the teams failed to find a goal and went into the half-time break at 1-1.
The second half started how the first ended, with Spurs trying their luck. But, in this brilliant end-to-end encounter, the home side took the lead courtesy of a Steven Gerrard penalty after Sturridge was brought down in the box by Danny Rose. But, Tottenham equalized a few minutes later through Mousa Dembele. However, the goal was a contentious one as it looked like Gerrard had won the ball for the free-kick which led to the goal. After Christian Eriksen took the free kick, Kane had strayed into an offside position, but the officials failed to spot it and the Englishman set up Dembele for the equalizer.
Brendan Rodgers replaced Sturridge with Balotelli and shortly after brought on Adam Lallana for Markovic. The two substitutes had a major say in the final goal of the night, but Jordon Ibe was the creator once again. Ibe’s incisive pass set up Lallana to cross the ball across the goal for Balotelli to score his first Premier League goal in the red jersey.
There were just 7 minutes plus stoppage time left for Spurs to equalize for the third time, but unlike the previous two times, the Reds did not let their lead go this time round. With this win, Liverpool moved to 42 points, a point within Tottenham and 3 points off fourth place. Gerrard is now the 5th highest goalscorer in Liverpool history sitting alongside Fowler with 183 goals. Ian Rush heads the list with 346.