Liverpool waltz past Spurs

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  • GDS helps Liverpool to lead
  • Spurs poor, missing Dele
  • Firmino, Wiljnaldum score

Liverpool passed its first Top Four test of the year in style with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino scored the goals for the Reds, who moved to 5-0 on the young season and kicked off a run of tricky fixtures with a loss.

Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris were unavailable for for Spurs, who got a stoppage time goal from Erik Lamela.

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Liverpool had two phenomenal chances in the first 20 minutes of the match, one denied by the officials and the second by Michel Vorm.

Then Eric Dier made a terrible back pass that served as a delightful through ball for Mohamed Salah, but Vorm stayed back in his goal and saved a left-footed effort.

Christian Eriksen‘s cutback to Lucas Moura was denied by a sliding Naby Keita in the 27th minute. The Dane then ripped a free kick that Alisson Becker collected with a dip to his right.

Substandard passing often betrayed both teams’ fantastic energy, nerves possibly playing a role in the Top Four clash.

Liverpool went ahead with the help of Goal Decision System, as Vorm’s two-handed slap of Wijnaldum’s header off a 39th minute corner just crossed the line.

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Joe Gomez opened the door for lively Lucas Moura early in the second half, but Alisson saved the deflected shot.

Another poor giveaway, this one by Mousa Dembele, forced Vorm into a fine save on Sadio Mane (who might’ve wanted to make one more pass).

Lucas cooked Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold before zipping a shot off the near post in the 50th minute.

Firmino doubled Liverpool’s lead in the 54th minute as Spurs faltered badly down their right side. Jan Vertonghen‘s sliding diversion was saved of an own goal by the post, but Firmino scored one of the closest range goals possible.

Vorm saved Spurs from a 3-0 deficit when Liverpool earned a 3v2 break in the 64th minute.

Eriksen’s hard, tight cross could only be flicked wide by Kane three minutes later.

Firmino left the match with an apparent head injury in the 73rd minute.

Lamela brought gave Spurs a breath of life in the third minute of stoppage time when he volleyed home.

Now should Mane have conceded a stoppage time penalty kick? VAR would’ve awarded it to Spurs, that’s almost certain, but the video is not in play for the Premier League this season and Mane’s clip of Heung-Min Son‘s heel in the box was not noticed by Michael Oliver.

Dele, Alexis trade 1st half goals in FA Cup semi (video)

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Paul Pogba made amends for an early marking error that led to a Spurs opener by setting up Alexis Sanchez’s equalizer as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are tied at 1 after 45 minutes of their FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium.

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Spurs went ahead through Dele, as Pogba lost Christian Eriksen as the Dane raced onto a long ball. Eriksen crossed to the back post for Dele’s sliding finish.

Pogba made amends in his preferred third of the pitch, stealing the ball from a Mousa Dembele and lofting an inch-perfect cross for Alexis to nod home. The headed finish was anything but easy, hit across the goal while falling to the pitch.

Spurs, Saints play to stalemate

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  • Bertrand forces Spurs own goal
  • Kane levels before halftime
  • Spurs stay fifth
  • Saints one point back of safety

Harry Kane made amends for a Davinson Sanchez own goal as Tottenham Hotspur drew Southampton 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Southampton is now winless in 11 Premier League matches, while Spurs are unbeaten in six.

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Spurs entered the game with Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out through sickness and several more not at 100 percent, and Sanchez was surely feeling ill when his sliding attempt to block a Ryan Bertrand cross beat his own keeper to the inside post.

It was 1-1 within moments, as Kane rose over Manolo Gabbiadini after losing mark Jack Stephens on a corner kick.

James Ward-Prowse was fortunate to avoid a card when he kicked out at Jan Vertonghen following a slide tackle from the Spurs center back.

Stephens just missed making up for his error when he zipped onto Ward-Prowse’s free kick but headed just wide of the far upper 90.

Mario Lemina forced Vorm into a save after a 41st minute set-up by Gabbiadini.

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Ward-Prowse tried his luck from 25 yards to start the second half, but Vorm saw the ball the whole way into his arms.

Spurs grew into the second half, and Dele Alli lashed wide of the near post in the 65th minute. Vertonghen buzzed the tower with a left-footed shot five minutes later.

Would anything give as the match progressed, with Spurs inserting Erik Lamela and Saints opting for Sofiane Boufal and 17-year-old debutant Michael Obafemi?

Good work from Kane and Sissoko ended with an on-the-doorstep Lamela shooting off a Saints defender and out, poorly adjudged to be a goal kick.

Obafemi misjudged a chance to redirect a cross past Vorm in the 87th minute, and Cedric ventured a laser wide of the goal as Saints looked for a winner. Boufal was then blocked by Sanchez after taking a touch too much in the box.

Kane had late opportunity for Spurs, but dragged his shot or pass through the six without a receiver.

Watch Live: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen miss out as sickness-hit Tottenham Hotspur visits struggling Southampton at St. Mary’s on Sunday (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

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That opens up spots in the lineup for Michel Vorm and Moussa Sissoko, as Spurs aim to go level on points with fourth-place Liverpool.

Saints dipped into the drop zone when Stoke City won on Saturday, but will sit 14th if they can spring a home win over Spurs.

Mauricio Pellegrino is giving Mario Lemina and Manolo Gabbiadini, as well as in-form James Ward-Prowse, the starters’ chance to stop the rot. Southampton is winless in 10 league matches, but has drawn three of the last five.

LINEUPS

Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Lemina, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Hojbjerg, Gabbiadini. Subs: Forster, Pied, Bednarek, Davis, Boufal, Redmond, Obafemi.

Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Sissoko, Dele, Son, Kane. Subs: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Lamela, Llorente.

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford

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  • Spurs won 4-1 on New Year’s Day
  • Watford last won at WHL in 1994 League Cup
  • Spurs lead all-time 19W-3D-6L

Harry Kane could return for Tottenham Hotspur when the Premier League begins its weekend slate with a 7:30 a.m. EDT kickoff vs. Watford at White Hart Lane on Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

“I haven’t decided yet if he’ll be in the starting 11 or on the bench but the good thing is that he’s back,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

That’s good news, but Tottenham’s performance has meant it’s more a bonus than a relief. Spurs went 3-0 without Kane, scoring multiple goals in wins over Southampton, Burnley and Swansea City.

That last result was marvelous, as Swans scored thrice in the final moments of the match to overcome an early deficit and keep pace with Chelsea in the race for the Premier League crown.

Watford is in a bad way, with suspended Miguel Britos joining Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl as injured defenders. That’s just the back line, as Walter Mazzarri has six key players in doubt for the game and three more ruled out.

What they’re saying

Spurs backstop Michel Vorm on coming back to beat Swans“You see the power of Tottenham: it’s the team and the squad. We just kept on attacking and believing and you’ve seen the strength of our squad, we are a whole team.”

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri on their injury crisis“It’s our destiny. Against Tottenham, we are always in an emergency. Britos was important because Kaboul and Prodl were injured and we do not have a defense now.”

Prediction

It would take a brave soul to bet on Watford to find a point. We’re not that brave. Spurs 4-0.