Liverpool beat Spurs to maintain 100% start


Liverpool maintained their 100% start to the Premier League season and stayed top of the table as they made it five wins out of five for the first time since 1990-91 with victory over Spurs.

Jurgen Klopp’s side emerged impressively from their biggest test so far at Wembley with a win that was far more emphatic than the final scoreline suggests.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored his first away goal since joining Liverpool – technology adjudging his header to have crossed the line despite the attempts of back-up Spurs keeper Michel Vorm to clear.

The visitors were dominant almost throughout and doubled their advantage after 54 minutes when Roberto Firmino scored from on the line after Jan Vertonghen turned Sadio Mane’s cross on to his own post.

Andrew Robertson and Lucas Moura hit the woodwork for either side but the Reds could and should have made this a more convincing win, with Naby Keita and Mane missing chances to add to their goal tally.

Erik Lamela pulled one back for Spurs deep into stoppage time and Son Heung-min saw a late penalty claim turned down after he was brought down by Mane but it was all too late and Liverpool’s triumph was fully deserved.

Liverpool’s title ambitions have been clear since the arrival of expensive summer acquisitions such as £67m goalkeeper Alisson from Roma to top up other new signings Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri, as well as the £75m purchase of defender Virgil van Dijk in January.

The expectations have been heightened by those four straight wins but a trip to face Spurs at Wembley, where they were well beaten 4-1 last season, was regarded by many as the acid test of those aspirations.

They answered in the most positive manner possible and confirmed their growing status as the team most likely to topple reigning champions Manchester City.

True, Spurs were astonishingly lethargic but it would be unfair to remove credit from Liverpool on the basis of the home side’s performance.

The Reds were more vibrant, dangerous and energetic from the first whistle and moments of discomfort when they were not in control were few and far between.

The imperious Van Dijk ruled at the back, Liverpool were dominant in midfield and the pace of Mane and the guile of Firmino were simply too much for Spurs.

Spurs looked like they had recorded a landmark win when they went to Manchester United and came away with a convincing 3-0 victory.

It looked like the sort of statement manager Mauricio Pochettino had been seeking – but how the tables have turned since that night at Old Trafford.

Spurs conceded a lead to lose at Watford and to be brutal they were a very serious second best to Liverpool at Wembley.

Pochettino was without injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, particularly expensive given Vorm’s uncertainty, and Dele Alli – but so many aspects of this performance will have disappointed the demanding Spurs manager.

Spurs looked exhausted and off the pace almost from the first whistle, second to everything, and to see his side look so leg-weary and drained so early in the season will concern Pochettino.

Of course it is early days and far too soon to be raising serious questions about Spurs but the manner in which they were so completely outmanoeuvred by a team they will rightly regard as close rivals was ominous at times.

It could be that Spurs are suffering a hangover from the World Cup as seven of their starting line-up were involved until the semi-final stage.

And, of course, it may have been a very bad off-day.

Pochettino will hope it is the latter after a day of suffering in the Wembley sun for Spurs.

Liverpool’s attacking trio of Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah have had a devastating impact on the Premier League and Champions League after Klopp brought them together at the start of last season.

Their combination of pace, movement and firepower has wreaked havoc ever since in a manner which strikes fear into the heart of the best defences.

Salah was subdued again but Mane’s blistering pace was a constant danger and Firmino’s subtle touches and work-rate were a standout.

The Brazilian made a slightly slow start to the season but he has now contributed what proved to be the winning goals in successive away wins at Leicester City and now Spurs.

He has an impact in all areas of the pitch, whether it is scoring from virtually standing on the line to chasing back to near his own corner flag to help with defensive duties.

Firmino is a class all-rounder and it is easy to see why Klopp rates him so highly.


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