Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at Anfield on Tuesday as Mario Balotelli jumped off the bench to score the winner late on.
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The Reds had twice taken the lead through Lazar Markovic and Steven Gerrard, but Spurs equalized twice through Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele before Balotelli tapped home to send Anfield wild.
With the victory Liverpool are now unbeaten in nine games (winning six of the last eight) and remain in seventh on 42 points, just three points off the top four. Spurs are in sixth place on 43.
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A lively start played out at Anfield as Erik Lamela played in Kane and the latter seemed to be brought down by a combination of Simon Mignolet and Gerrard in the box but no penalty kick was given. That chance woke Liverpool up as Sturridge raced cleared but saw a tame effort saved by Hugo Lloris, moments later Gerrard curled a free kick from 25-yards just over the bar.
Sturridge then had an effort brilliantly palmed away by Lloris as Liverpool pushed hard for the opening goal. The opener arrived in the 14th minute as a long punt forward by Mignolet saw Markovic latch onto the loose ball and his tame effort somehow deceived Lloris and nestled into the back of the net. 1-0 to Liverpool. Sturridge got in behind Spurs’ defense soon after but his clipped effort went over as Liverpool were rampant in the first half.
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However the home side were to rue those missed chances as Kane (who else?) equalized for Tottenham. Christian Eriksen played a one-two with Lamela and the latter played in Kane who jinxed passed Mamadou Sakho and drilled home a low shot through Mignolet. 1-1.
The first half ended evenly as Jordon Ibe went close with an effort from outside the box and Sturridge hit the post with a cheeky backheel, while Spurs looked dangerous on the break. In the 53rd minute Liverpool went ahead as Gerrard slotted home a penalty kick after Sturridge was brought down by Danny Rose in the box. Rose’s outstretched leg just caught Sturridge and the England international went down somewhat easily in the box.
Lamela almost equalized right away but his powerful drive was tipped away brilliantly by Mignolet in front of the Kop. But soon after Spurs did make it 2-2 as Eriksen’s free kick was tipped away by Mignolet but Kane, who looked to be in an offside position, set up Dembele to tap home.
Eric Dier then bailed out Spurs big time, as Sturridge went clean through on goal but the young English defender timed his tackle perfectly to clear the danger. Superb defending.
Brendan Rodgers then sent on Adam Lallana and Balotelli and the duo combined to see “Super Mario” tap home in the 83rd minute for his first Premier League goal for Liverpool to make it 3-2 and seal a massive three points in their push for a top four finish.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Markovic (Lallana, 79′), Henderson, Gerrard (Lovren, 68′), Moreno, Ibe, Coutinho, Sturridge (Balotelli, 74′)
Goals: Markovic (15′), Gerrard (53′), Balotelli (83′)
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Bentaleb, Mason (Paulinho, 69′), Lamela, Dembele (Soldado, 85′), Eriksen (Chadli, 81′), Kane
Goals: Kane (26′), Dembele (61′)