Tottenham Hotspur dealt a major blow to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in their pursuit of the Premier League title, as they drew 1-1 at Anfield on Saturday evening. Heung Min-sun opened the scoring early in the second half while Luis Diaz scored a late equalizer to provide a point for the Reds.
Premier League (premierleague) May 7, 2022
Liverpool came into the game chasing Manchester City and his start showed it meant business. Their intensity in the first 10 minutes turned away visitors who looked like deer trapped in headlights, unable to get out of the inevitable Liverpool truck on their way.
Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson were particularly quick off the blocks and created dangerous openings but Spurs kept going here and there to disrupt their attacks. Antonio Conte’s men looked dangerous at times on the counterattack with Harry Kane, Heung Min Son and Dejan Kulusevsky. One of these counters brought the first shot of the match on target Rodrigo Bentancur, which was directly at Alisson.
Jordan Henderson did a very good job of blocking Kane’s shot on the volley while Virgil van Dijk should have done better in the other, heading away from a good shot by Robertson. Hugo Lloris was only tested in the 28th minute, albeit by his teammate. The Frenchman did a good job of clearing Ryan Sesson’s poor header with Salah at the back post.
The match saw some lull before coming back to life in the last few minutes. Van Dijk once again showed his strength from set pieces and was fired by Trent Alexander-Arnold from another angle. His attempt this time was much better but he couldn’t get past it enough and saw it coming back off the crossbar.
Then Diaz tested Lloris from the range after a fantastic twosome with Sadio Mane. The Tottenham captain saved his volley out of danger. One minute later, Pierre-Emile Hojberg also left 25 yards behind. The Dane beat Alisson against Liverpool, but his shot hit the right post instead.
Half time Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham
Premier League (premierleague) May 7, 2022
It was a frenetic first half that probably deserved a goal but both teams went into the second half with things to improve. The Reds came back with the same force and Spurs stopped immediately. Thiago continued to pull the strings but Tottenham’s defense inside the penalty area remained solid.
10 minutes into the first half, Spurs advanced with a very good goal. Emerson’s high ball was brilliantly brought down by Kane who worked his way forward before Ryan Sessegnon found a freestyle inside the penalty area. The youngster did a fine job to maintain his composure and hooked the ball to Son to take advantage of it.
1-0. Let’s keep working. ✊ pic.twitter.com/W7HS9H8Kny
– Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 7, 2022
The goal gave Spurs momentum and opened up spaces in front of them while Liverpool chased the match, and the title with it. Sessegnon and Sohn came together again dangerously but couldn’t convert and Kulusevsky fired home Alisson from long range shortly after the goal.
Liverpool became increasingly desperate for a goal that would not come, and the match became a bit awkward. Substitute Costas Tsimikas and Cisegnon received a yellow card in quick succession.
The host side looked like they were going to need a bit of luck and came in the form of an aberration that gave them a tie. Once again, midweek champion Diaz was the game-changer, dropping his shoulder to create space for himself and shooting from distance. His attempt collided with Bentancourt and ran past Lloris with the wrong foot.
LUUUUIIIIIIIISSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! Enter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/CTHVAtbSI6
– Liverpool FC (LFC) May 7, 2022
Neither side wanted to accept a draw and the match was all-out in the last few minutes. Clear chances were still few and far between and it was Hogberg who had the best chance of winning in injury time when the midfielder was found in the penalty area from a deep pass from Harry Winks. He tried to point it at Kane when going for the goal was a better chance.
Liverpool doubled in the end but to no avail and could only save one point. Here are the main points from the match –
The winter signing of Luis Diaz was expected to be a long-term move, as part of the eventual replacement for Salah-Firmino-Mane Trifecta. However, it proved to be another major blow from Liverpool’s recruitment team with the Colombian seamlessly fitting into Klopp’s machine.
He was the difference with Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final second leg and he was again Liverpool’s best player at Anfield on Saturday. Diaz’s candor and confidence make him a very difficult client and under Klopp’s leadership he lives up to the potential he has shown in Portugal.
When Antonio Conte took over Spurs, the team was well placed in the top four and the season looked like a write-off. Although the Italian turned it around with experience, the Lilywhites are just one point away from qualifying for the Champions League.
More than points, it was their level of performance that got the Spurs fans excited. They may have been conservative but they went toe-to-toe with Liverpool and put in a transformation that they can be proud of. Even if they don’t make the top four this season, they will be a force to reckon with in 2022-23.
Liverpool have already led with a tie on goal difference but Manchester City have a game in hand when they face Newcastle tomorrow. City’s exit from the Champions League also means that they can devote all their efforts and resources into the Premier League season.
Liverpool’s title hopes have been hit hard but strange things have happened. They’re unlikely to ever take their foot off the pedal, but with two World Cups looming and City looking as ruthless as ever, the four-way dream appears to have just ended this season.