Three things we learned: Liverpool v. Tottenham

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LIVERPOOL — Liverpool went back to the top of the Premier League table with a crucial 2-1 win against Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Fate playing its part?

Mohamed Salah‘s late header deflected off Toby Alderweireld and in to send Anfield wild, as Liverpool kept their title hopes alive and dealt a big blow to Spurs’ top four chances.

The atmosphere at Anfield was electric, as Liverpool’s fans went crazy after their late winner and at the final whistle.

Here’s what we learned from an epic, tense encounter.


STUTTERING LIVERPOOL SECURE HUGE VICTORY

“Oh well, there’s always next year!” Those were the words of the stewards to a few Liverpool fans seconds before Salah scored the winner in the final minute of the game.

Even though they somehow won this game, a familiar pattern is emerging for Klopp’s side, as they started off well but handed the initiative to Tottenham in the second half. Just like they did in draws against Leicester and West Ham, they took their foot off the accelerator when it looked like they would kick on and grab all three points. They started in electric fashion against Spurs with Firmino’s goal and both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane going close, but then the pressure seemed to get to them as they sat back in the second half. Spurs dominated and eventually broke through and grabbed a deserved equalizer. But Liverpool got the job done thanks to a late goal as they are top of the table. If Man City slip up in midweek Liverpool could go five points clear of City if they win at Southampton on Friday. That scenario is unlikely, but Liverpool have now put the pressure on their title rivals.

Liverpool’s last major speed bump is their home game against Chelsea in a few weeks. They do not have their destiny in their own hands, but they have given themselves a huge chance. With late winners in wild fashion against Everton and now Tottenham thanks to strange mistakes from opposing goalkeepers, there is a sense that fate is starting to play its part in Liverpool’s title push.


SALAH STRUGGLES, BUT DELIVERS

It just had to be him. Mohamed Salah was whistled by his own fans at times throughout this game, as his touch was off, he clipped balls out of play and generally struggled. Then he delivered a huge moment in the title race as his header at the back post somehow trickled over the line and in, via Toby Alderweireld, to hand Liverpool a crucial win. Salah is the main man once again, as he popped up in a pivotal area to lead Liverpool to a massive win.

The Egyptian isn’t at his best. Far from it. But this moment will do wonders for his confidence. The way he wheeled away in delight at Anfield showed just how much this means to him, and Salah is still the hero despite his recent dip in form.


TOTTENHAM DIG DEEP BUT TOP 4 HOPES IN RUINS

Spurs deserved at least a point for their second half display. Tottenham dominated the play and were happy enough to let Liverpool give the ball back to them. When they did, Eriksen and Alli probed and Harry Kane worked tirelessly to try and steal a yard from Virgil Van Dijk. Watching from the stands as he served the final match of his two-game ban, Mauricio Pochetino will be happy with the way his team fought their way back into this game despite the result. In truth, the longer the game went on there seemed to be only one team who were going to win this. That team ended up losing. They didn’t deserve to, but Lloris’ late mistake cost them dear.

Moussa Sissoko missed a glorious chance when one on one with Alisson and Dele Alli curled inches wide. Even a draw would have boosted Spurs’ top four hopes considerably, but this defeat means they are now just one point ahead of fifth-place Arsenal and have played a game more. For now they are still in the hunt with seven games to go and now have the boost of five of their remaining games being at their new stadium at White Hart Lane. Do not write off Tottenham. But losing late at Liverpool was a big blow.