An equaliser from Harry Kane kept league leaders Leicester in Tottenham’s sights after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
- Liverpool 1 Tottenham 1
- Coutinho fires Liverpool into the lead
- Kane equalises with 22nd league goal
- Spurs four points behind leaders Leicester
- Liverpool leapfrog Chelsea into ninth
Philippe Coutinho was an inspiration for the hosts and broke the deadlock in the 51st minute after he stroked the ball home from just inside the area.
Liverpool’s joy was relatively short-lived as Harry Kane showed his predatory instinct in front of goal 12 minutes later to set-up an enthralling finale.
The two teams engaged in a titanic tussle to net the all-important winner but neither could find one despite Coutinho and Christian Eriksen coming extremely close.
Aggressive pressing and crisp passing from both sides made for an entertaining start on Merseyside.
Eriksen provided the first real shot in anger nine minutes into the contest which Simon Mignolet got a strong hand behind.
The Reds’ response was a rapid one, with Adam Lallana helping the ball onto James Milner who saw his strike from inside the area blocked well by Kevin Wimmer.
Cries of anguish then emanated from the Kop when a defensive mix-up between Dejan Lovren and the onrushing Mignolet almost allowed a razor-sharp Kane to steal the opening goal.
A clearer chance came Kane’s way with 25 minutes on the clock as Liverpool suddenly found themselves short on numbers at the back. The England striker had options to his left but ultimately dragged his shot wide of the left post.
Hugo Lloris, who was able to spectate the vast majority of the first half, was forced to perform a succession of smart saves as the half-time break approached. He pushed away Daniel Sturridge’s effort before he twice denied the lively Lallana.
Some key saves from Hugo Lloris have contributed to a hard-earned point here at @liverpoolfc #COYS #thfc A photo posted by Tottenham Hotspur (@spursofficial) on
Tottenham were able to carve out another couple of chances before the interval, but Lovren stood firm to deny Kane a clear sight of goal and Mignolet was alert to an audacious long-range missile from one of the stars of the season: Dele Alli.
It only took six minutes after the restart for an entertaining game to get the goal it deserved. Coutinho created space by combining with Sturridge for a quick give-and-go deep into opposition territory, and the Brazilian had the Liverpool fans on their feet as he guided the ball coolly into the bottom-left corner.
The deadly duo almost made Tottenham’s task even harder moments later and manager Mauricio Pochettino would have been relieved to see Sturridge’s header fly just over the crossbar.
Eric Dier unlocked the Liverpool defence with a majestic pass over the top and Son Heung-min was a whisker away from sending a sweetly-struck volley into the far corner.
The disbelief turned to delight in the 63rd minute for the travelling Spurs fans. Eriksen’s hard work to keep the ball in play was rewarded by Kane, who quickly adjusted to fire low and hard beyond Mignolet for his 22nd league goal of the season.
The equaliser looked to give Tottenham a new lease of life and Mignolet had to be at his best to prevent Eriksen from giving the visitors the lead.
Pochettino’s men, though, still had to contend with the silky skills of Coutinho, who looked utterly perplexed as he watched his ferocious drive from the left side of the area flash across the face of goal and wide.
He bamboozled the Tottenham defence once again in the closing stages with a clever reverse shot which flirted with the foot of the left post, before Eriksen and Mousa Dembele both went close.
The sides traded blows continuously but the knockout puch didn’t arrive and left Tottenham four points behind table-topping Leicester – who face Southampton at home on Sunday – and Liverpool still in touch with the top six.