Harry Kane injured as Liverpool cruise to victory over Spurs
Mistakes prove costly as Tottenham lose 3-1, a defeat made even worse by the news that their star striker is now facing a spell on the sidelines
28 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier
Harry Kane is facing a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury
TOTTENHAM 1 (Hojbjerg 49)
LIVERPOOL 3 (Firmino 45+4, Alexander-Arnold 47, Mane 65)
SPURS were well off the pace tonight (Thursday) as Liverpool cruised to an easy 3-1 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, completing a league double over Jose Mourinho’s side largely thanks to a woeful home performance.
Individual errors, a formation that from the off looked uncomfortable, and a Liverpool side keen to halt a run of poor form combined to create a thoroughly miserable night in north London.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho said his players were the architects of their own downfall. “It is very hard to resist so many individual mistakes in defence,” said the Spurs manager.
“It’s impossible, unless you score four against Liverpool, which is not easy. Each time we reacted, the next mistake was coming.”
Mourinho highlighted how three errors had led to goals, and some of his players were understandably downcast.
He added: “The game was stable and we were in it – then we saw a replica of their first chance, the same mistake, and it is 1-0.
“We lost a goal and Harry [Kane] at half time, then the first minute of the second half, another mistake, another goal.
“We fought to bring Liverpool back, but then it’s another mistake, and its 3-1. The guys are very disappointed, but at the highest level, mistakes are punished.”
The evening got grimmer after the match with a worrying prognosis on Kane, who was substituted at half time and now faces a possible six-week lay off.
Mourinho commented: “Kane is injured in both ankles. It was very painful, very sore. He couldn’t carry on. He is a guy with a good sacrifice spirit, he can fight against pain, but it was difficult for him.”
Mourinho’s angst was increased by the fact a victory would have taken Spurs right back into the title mix, but as has happened before in this topsy-turvy term, his team choked when they caught a glimpse of the summit.
Tottenham were sent out with defensive three, with Mourinho playing Matt Doherty out of position on the left as a wing-back.
It soon became clear that the set-up was leaving them out numbered in midfield, and the first warning came on just three minutes when Sadio Mane spooned a shot wide with the goal gaping.
Seconds later, before the malaise had a chance to set in, Spurs replied. Tanguy Ndombele stormed through the middle and found Heung-Min Son, who played a swift one-two with Kane, before turning the ball inside Alisson’s near post.
The celebrations were cut short, however, as the goal was chalked off after VAR ruled that Son was fractionally offside in the build-up.
Liverpool settled and Hugo Lloris was by far the busier goalkeeper. Bar another Son effort on 21, the visitors were menacing, and the goal they deserved came via Roberto Firmino, who tapped home Mane’s cross with the last touch of the first half.
Tottenham’s task got a whole lot bigger when Kane failed to emerge for the second half, and before substitute Erik Lamela could even work up a sweat, Liverpool were 2-0 up.
Eric Dier gave the ball away cheaply and Mane’s shot was parried out by Lloris into the path of the on rushing Trent Alexander-Arnold. The full-back walloped the ball back across Lloris and into the far corner.
It looked like that was surely game over, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had other ideas. The midfielder thumped home from well outside the area to reduce the deficit. It was a terrific goal, but failed to spark a sense that there might be a comeback on.
Instead, a disallowed Firmino goal on 55 minutes was a harbinger of what was coming: and just after the hour mark Alexander-Arnold crossed from deep to the back post, Joe Rodon lost his bearings and Mane pounced.
Apart from Hojbjerg and Ndombele, who were excellent, this Spurs side had the air of a team stuck in the doldrums. Jurgen Klopp’s side were more than worth their victory.
With the injury to Kane on top, this was a hugely dispiriting evening. Tottenham’s sights must now be set on squeezing into a Champions League position – as a performance of this calibre at the end of January is not the mark of title contenders.
Spurs: Lloris, Rodon, Dier, Davies, Aurier (Winks, 45), Doherty, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Bergwijn (Bale, 80), Son, Kane (Lamela, 45)
Substitutes not used: Hart, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Sissoko, Lucas, Vinicius
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip (Phillips, 45), Henderson, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Thiago (Jones, 77), Mane, Salah, Firmino (Origi, 86)
Substitutes not used: Kelleher, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Williams