Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Liverpool : 3 Talking Points as Reds continue title charge | Premier League 2019-20
Liverpool have now gone 38 league games without a single defeat, the equivalent of an entire Premier League season.
It was a game of two halves tonight as the league leaders visited Tottenham Hotspur in London. In the first half, Spurs sat back and let Liverpool control the tempo of the game as the home team could not string good passes together and their counter-attacks left much to be desired.
Lively Liverpool attacking sequences reaped rewards as Mohamed Salah passed the ball to Roberto Firmino inside the box, who turned away from the defender with an exquisite first touch and then finished past the goalkeeper to give his team the lead. Despite Spurs' better performance in the second half which included some fast counter-attacks, the home team could not get past Alison Becker and the game ended 0-1 in favour of Jurgen Klopp's men.
Here are the talking points from this high energy game which saw Liverpool extend their lead at the top.
1) Spurs rue their missed chances
This season, Liverpool have looked comfortable defending just a one-goal lead - tonight was a rare exception. The strong Reds' defence was tested quite a few teams in the second half by some great Spurs play, but the Lilywhites lived to regret their failed chances in front of goal.
Jose Mourinho's men had two great chances to equalise in this game - the first came to Son Heung-Ming, who bizarrely skied his shot in the latter stages of the game as his teammates looked on in disbelief. It was the player's first Premier League back after his suspension through a red card, and he could have ensured his team a draw if not for his woeful finishing.
It was Giovani Lo Celso, however, who had the best chance of the game as a Serge Aurier cross found him in the box, but his shot was off target. The Liverpool defence came undone at that moment and it was one of the misses of the season from the Argentine, as Mourinho fell down to his knees on the touchline in dismay. The game ended without the home team scoring, and the attack will no doubt be unhappy with their finishing.
2) Liverpool's unbeaten run continues
Liverpool extended their unbeaten run in the league to 38 games now - only two teams have ever gone on bigger unbeaten runs in the history of the Premier League. Chelsea went unbeaten for 40 games from 2004 to 2005, whereas the famous Arsenal Invincibles avoided defeat for 49 games from 2003 to 2004.
If Liverpool can avoid defeat in the next three games, they will have overtaken Chelsea's record and will be chasing the shadows of Arsene Wenger's historic squad. Poetically, Liverpool's 49th game in this run (should they not lose by that point), will come up against Manchester City at the Eithad.
After this victory, the Reds now have 61 points out of a possible 63 in 21 league games. Although today they were a bit lucky with Spurs' awful finishing, it seems as if nothing can stop this team right now. Through one way or another, they just find a path towards victory. A few more wins, and we could be talking about a repeat Invincibles in the Premier League...
3) Pressure piles on Jose Mourinho and Spurs
Spurs are now winless in their last three Premier League games, having lost two games. They also failed to get anything out of their FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough, and Mourinho's men have only won one game in their last five in the league. This poor run of form has seen them drop their place in the league table, and they now sit at eighth in the table - nine points behind the top 4, which is their ultimate aim for the season.
After Mourinho's arrival at the club, the team had a mini-resurgence and won their first few games, but those performances feel like distant history now. Star striker Harry Kane is out injured till at least April, and Mourinho's job has become that much harder with his team's lacklustre performances since the start of December.
Of course, his job is not in question this season, but a few more games such as this could see Spurs miss out on Champions League football next season. The former Chelsea manager needs to get his squad playing better, and we may yet see the Lilywhites make a signing this window to help bolster their top 4 hopes.