Never in doubt.
Three changes for the Tricky Reds tonight, with Henderson, Matip and Mané coming in for Fabinho, Williams and Jones. There’s a good law firm somewhere in there. This meant that Captain Fantastic joined the oft-injured Joel to form central defensive partnership number 1,087 of this weird and wacky season.
Spurs had a ramshackle defence today and Salah and Mané wasted no time in carving them open. A nifty one-two saw Sadio free in the box but he blazed over. Spurs went straight down the other end and Kane released Son. With Alisson failing to react quickly enough, the Korean slotted home calmly but was adjudged to have been offside. A close decision but the correct one.
A breathless start, then, and Bobby was pulled back in the area by Dier soon afterwards. It would have been a soft penalty, perhaps, but I’ve definitely seen them given. Just not to us. Alisson reacted with alacrity to smother Bergwijn’s effort and then Kane somehow injured himself in the process of dispossessing Thiago but managed to battle on. No wonder he’s England’s captain- such a brave little soldier.
The visitors almost took the lead midway through the half, Henderson and Mo combining to set up Mané, whose shot was saved at full stretch by Lloris. Bobby fired tamely straight at Lloris; Mané couldn’t quite connect with Salah’s low cross; Sadio then shot straight at the keeper.
And then- finally- the Reds scored, right on the stroke of half time. Bobby couldn’t miss from two yards, after good work by both Henderson and Mané. Liverpool’s first league goal in aeons and a deserved lead at the break.
As the players trudged off for their halftime oranges, the Reds had definitely been the better side and-finally- had a lead to show for it. Still, one goal is never the most comfortable of cushions and Son’s disallowed effort should have served as a reminder that Spurs can be lethal on the counter attack.
Fortunately, the good guys managed to extend their lead within two minutes of the restart. Slab and Firmino had already contrived to spurning a golden opportunity but Sadio dispossessed Doherty and fired low towards goal; Lloris parried but Trent was on hand to tap home. 2-0.
No rest for the wicked; Hojbjerg collected Lamela’s pass barely two minutes later and sent a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards. Alisson could do nothing about it- it was a top class strike- and the hosts were back in the game.
Then Thiago and Rodon had an accidental clash of heads in midfield, leading to bandages all-round. Our Spanish-Brazilian Mr Bump then played a beautiful dummy to allow Mo to lash home Mané’s cross. 3-1. Or not. Apparently, the ball hit Firmino’s arm in the build up to the goal. Still 2-1, then.
No matter; Sadio made it three in the 65th minute, rifling home Trent’s long diagonal pass from deep after Rodon had inexplicably decided to let it go. Lloris had no chance with the Senegalese international’s cracking finish.
Alisson, Mané and Bobby almost let Hojbjerg Nick a goal back in the eightieth minute- a bit too intricate for their own good at the back- but the Reds managed to run down the rest of the game without any major scares, although Phillips had to intervene to prevent Son from capitalising on Milner’s strange back pass.
It was great to rediscover our scoring touch and we should have had a fourth goal to show for our efforts (very harsh handball decision against Firmino)
Next up is a trip to the East End on Sunday afternoon to face the resurgent Hammers. David Moyes has his lads on a good run of form- they have won all six of their fixtures this month and find themselves fifth in the table at the time of writing. It certainly won’t be a gimme.
MOTM: those fine people at Dickinson & Morris. Being a bit of a pie aficionado (ie a fat bastard), I’ve been running comprehensive tasting notes on all the pork pies I can lay my hands on. Marks & Spencer’s effort deserves a special mention but D&M take top prize for their beautiful pies. Dipped in a bit of hot chilli sauce… divine.