Liverpool stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points after a 1-0 win over Spurs on Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Roberto Firmino was the match winner in what was a rather attritional encounter as the Brazilian fired past Paulo Gazzaniga eight minutes before half-time.
It wasn’t pretty, but in the face of a Tottenham side that looked to contain and frustrate Jurgen Klopp’s team, they got the job done.
It wasn’t a great day for Liverpool’s full-backs, who were largely shut down by a super-defensive setup from Spurs, and the midfield wasn’t as slick as it has been in recent weeks, but it was still effective enough to control the game. And for all Liverpool’s authority, there were occasional lapses in concentration that gifted their opponents the ball in dangerous areas, and on another day, this could well have been a draw.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — It wasn’t the most fluid of performances from either side, but Klopp’s outfit were patient and composed throughout as they continue to storm towards a first Premier League title.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7 — Came rushing out towards the halfway line to head away a potential Spurs counterattack in what was the only action he faced in the first half, before showing excellent handling to catch three efforts in the second period.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — Didn’t get a great deal of joy down the Liverpool right, but should have done better at the start of the second half when he dragged a volley well wide. Defended well to deflect a Son Heung-Min shot wide for a Spurs corner.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 — Got himself in the referee’s notebook for a naive swipe at Son as the two contested a loose ball, and the 22-year-old was occasionally scruffy in the way he went about his business.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Denied a first-half goal by an excellent Gazzaniga save, but the Dutchman really should’ve scored. He was defensively sound, however, and was on hand to stop Dele Alli with an excellent tackle just before the hour as the England man threatened on goal.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 — The Scot had limited opportunities to cross, and was uncharacteristically wasteful with those chances, but he made up for it with a focused defensive display.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — The Reds skipper wasn’t particularly convincing in possession in what was a largely scrappy match, but was brave as he stooped down to nod a loose ball into the penalty area on the way to his side going 1-0 up.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — He quietly went about things, but it was an excellent night’s work from the midfielder, who was assured in possession and helped to maintain his side’s control. Only hiccup was when he gave away the ball in his own defensive third in the second half and Spurs pounced, but were unable to punish him dearly.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — The former Arsenal man was Liverpool’s most impressive midfielder in the first half, providing some lovely probing balls in behind to stretch a disciplined Spurs backline. Booked for tripping Lucas Moura as he raced through the midfield third. Brought off on the hour, and replaced by Adam Lallana.
FW Mohamed Salah, 6 — Played a cute pass into the path Firmino for Liverpool’s winner, but Salah had a frustrating night with his own opportunities. The Egyptian always looked dangerous, but a shot that safely sailed past the near post was the closest he came to scoring. Replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri in injury time.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Shifted inside and fired against the post in the second minute, but made no mistake in the 37th when he rolled his defender and rifled home an excellent goal.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 — The recently crowned African Football of the Year found himself up against Tottenham debutant Japhet Tanganga, and Mane struggled to escape the shackles of the pacey defender, who kept a watchful eye on the forward. A microcosm of how Tottenham looked to neutralise the Liverpool threat. Replaced by Divock Origi after 80 minutes.
MF Adam Lallana, 6 — The midfielder came on at a time when Tottenham were beginning to believe they could get something from the game, and he failed to get into the thick of the action.
FW Divock Origi, N/R — Showed good feet to work a chance late on that he shot straight at the keeper.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, N/R — Not enough time to make an impact.