Roberto Firmino emerged as the Man of the Match as Liverpool edged Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool maintained their hundred percent winning record at Anfield this season with a narrow 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening.
It was not the most clinical performance from the home side, who found it difficult to break the shackles of the strong Tottenham backline. They were, however, lucky to secure an opener in the 26th minute through Mohamed Salah, though their lead did not last long, with Son Heung-min equalising in the 33rd minute.
It was a pretty open game, though a tad cagey in midfield – an area where both sides performed well. Tottenham, for the most part, had the better second half as they created a few clear-cut chances. And in the end, it was their wasteful nature in front of goal that kept the score level at 1-1 before Roberto Firmino’s thumping header in the 90th minute.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides after Liverpool became the new Premier League leaders with a hard-fought win over their London opponents.
Alisson might not have managed to save Son’s accurate finish for the Tottenham goal, but it was his excellent positioning sense and the ability to act as a sweeper-keeper that saw him clear multiple threaded-passes from Spurs.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7.5/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a matured display on the right flank, providing extra cover for the young Rhys Williams and balancing his offensive runs. He was excellent in defending the threat of Steven Bergwijn as well, though he should have won one header during the Spurs counter that led to an excellent chance for the said Dutchman.
Liverpool created 15 chances vs Spurs: 4 by Andy Robertson, 2 by Curtis Jones, 2 by Trent Alexander-Arnold, 2 by Bobby Firmino, 2 by Sadio Mané, 1 by Rhys Williams, 1 by Gini Wijnaldum, 1 by Mo Salah. #LFC pic.twitter.com/hbCZQK5ORx
— Ben Krimmel (@BenKrimmel) December 16, 2020
Rhys Williams: 7/10
Williams did a decent job of replacing Joel Matip, especially considering his lack of experience. He was not exactly strong in defence, but it was enough to prevent Spurs attackers from causing further damage.
Lost a key header to Son that led to an excellent chance for Spurs. However, the Brazilian played a key role in the Liverpool backline, offering the experience and leadership in the absence of players like Virgil van Dijk and Matip.
Andrew Roberson: 8/10
Andrew Robertson was excellent once again on the left flank, moving forward whenever it was necessary. His movements on the flanks made Spurs much more vulnerable on that side of the field as he continued to put pressure on Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko.
Curtis Jones: 8/10
As we had predicted, Curtis Jones was influential for Liverpool in this game, particularly due to his box to box qualities. He was, in fact, a key figure in the build-up to Salah’s opener goal as he played a neat one-two with Firmino.
Curtis Jones in that first half. Completed more passes (62) than anyone else on the pitch. 93% passing accuracy. Only Andy Robertson has touched the ball more often.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) December 16, 2020
Jordan Henderson: 7.5/10
Jordan Henderson played the deepest role in the Liverpool midfield, offering additional support for Fabinho and William while establishing himself as the main part of Liverpool’s build-up from the back. The Englishman also won numerous balls in midfield, one of which led to an excellent chance for Salah.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Georginio Wijnaldum operated in the left-sided half-space as usual – something creating a nice passing triangle with Robertson or other teammates. Always an outlet in the middle of the park.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
Salah can call himself extremely lucky to find the opener through a deflection. He was, however, a vital element of the Liverpool counter-attack, though things really didn’t go his way after the goal. He was defended well for the most part, to Tottenham’s credit.
Roberto Firmino: 9/10
Roberto Firmino was by far the best performer for Liverpool in this game. The Brazilian was tailor-made for this game as he operated in the false nine role, creating some useful chances through equally impressive link-up play, with one of them even leading to the first goal. Capped off his brilliant display with a thumping header, effectively sealing all three points for his side.
ROBERTO FIRMINO LATE ON!
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 16, 2020
Sadio Mane: 7.5/10
Sadio Mane did not have a particularly comfortable evening on the far side, up against Aurier. However, the Senegalese forward used his physicality and creativity remarkably well to churn out a few chances for his team.
Hugo Lloris: 7/10
Hugo Lloris was unlucky to concede the first goal but absolutely had no answer to Firmino’s thumping header. Aside from that, the Frenchman looked solid in goal, especially in terms of his positioning.
Serge Aurier: 7.5/10
Aurier’s tussle with Mane on the flanks was a pure joy to watch. The Ivorian actually did a good job to minimise the threat provided by the Liverpool winger, though he was bamboozled at times.
Toby Alderweireld: 7.5/10
Toby Alderweireld was excellent all game, marshalling the Tottenham backline with his experience and leadership. Also threaded a few excellent long-passes. However, the Belgian may have done a bit better in taking care of Firmino for the Liverpool winner.
Eric Dier: 8/10
Eric Dier was a rock at the back for Liverpool all game. His imposing frame and physical stature mad life difficult for the opposing players, with the centre-back also providing some useful passes.
Ben Davies: 7/10
Ben Davies played in a more defensive role, and understandably so. He did not offer anything going forward but did provide the defensive cover for the two centre-backs.
Moussa Sissoko: 6.5/10
Moussa Sissoko had a difficult time in this game. He struggled to provide adequate defensive cover for Aurier, at times and allowed Robertson to march forward with the ball. Looked more comfortable in a more central role.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 7.5/10
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg produced another inspiring effort in central midfield this evening. The Dane’s ability to win the ball constantly disrupted Liverpool’s flow in the middle of the park while he also threaded numerous forward passes.
#thfc midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with unbelievable commitment to the cause as he attempts to head the ball whilst on the floor.
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) December 16, 2020
Giovani Lo Celso: 7.5/10
Giovani Lo Celso was by far the most impressive player for Tottenham in the first half. The playmaker was a vital cog in the second line of press, notably producing the pass that led to Son’s equaliser.
Steven Bergwijn: 6/10
Steven Bergwijn worked hard throughout the game but wasn’t involved enough in the proceedings. However, the Dutchman did miss a glorious opportunity in the second half, potentially costing his team the game.
Son Heung-min: 8/10
Son Heung-Min looked quite sharp for Tottenham throughout the course of the game. He didn’t get too many touches on the ball, but his pace and dynamism constantly kept the Liverpool defenders at their toes. A marvellous finish to score the equaliser in the first-half before making an excellent opportunity for Bergwijn in the second.
— D9INE (@D9INE_FOREVER33) December 16, 2020
Harry Kane: 6.5/10
Harry Kane looked a little off on Wednesday. He wasn’t showcasing his usual trait of moving deeper into defence and finding long balls on the turn, though one can argue that Jose Mourinho might have employed a different strategy against a quality side like Liverpool
Nevertheless, the Englishman international missed a glorious chance to score from a set-piece in the second half, but his header hit the ground and went over the bar. Wasteful, one could say.
Lucas Moura: 5/10
Lucas Moura offered nothing after replacing the effective Lo Celso around the hour-mark. Mourinho should have opted for someone like Dele Alli instead.
Sergio Reguilon: 6/10
Added more defensive strength to the side by replacing Bergwijn during the final phase of the game. Tottenham conceded regardless.
Should have been brought on much earlier than the 87th-minute mark when he replaced Son.