Two crucial goals either side of half-time and a quality Sadio Mane volley saw Liverpool triumph 3-1 over Tottenham on Thursday evening, handing the Reds their first league win of 2021.
Roberto Firmino capitalised on an Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris defensive hesitation to prod home the opener for the visitors four minutes into first-half stoppage.
Trent Alexander-Arnold then doubled Liverpool’s advantage minutes after the break before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fired in a fine effort to keep Spurs in touching distance.
Mane then latched onto a sumptuous Alexander-Arnold ball to lash home a third for the champions to wrap up a much-needed victory.
The scoreline could have been very different though, with VAR ruling out goals for both sides at key moments in the match.
The game set off at a frantic pace, Mane taking on Serge Aurier before firing narrowly wide to produce the first chance of the game after just two minutes.
Tottenham then went straight up the other end, Harry Kane linking up with Son Heung-min who planted the ball past Alisson.
However, VAR ruled out the strike for offside just moments later to cap off a dramatic opening few minutes.
Spurs were clearly trying to expose Joel Matip’s lack of pace at the back, a stream of balls being fired behind him and onto the on-rushing Son.
The South Korea international found himself staring into Alisson’s eyes on 22 minutes but he could only muster a tame effort into the Brazilian’s midriff when he really should have done better.
Mane was Liverpool’s most potent threat throughout the game and managed to muster several efforts at Lloris.
His biggest contribution of the first period came deep into stoppage time, though, when he slid the ball across to Firmino for his tap-in.
Spurs talisman Harry Kane went down several times during the first 45 minutes, clutching his ankle. He consequently hobbled out the half before being replaced by Erik Lamela at half-time.
Subscribe for free to TEAMtalk’s daily newsletter…
Liverpool started the second half with blistering pace, Mohamed Salah’s fierce shot flicking the paint of the crossbar just seconds after the restart.
Tottenham were punished for not learning their lesson a minute later when Lloris palmed his effort into the path ofAlexander-Arnold who smacked home a second for his side.
The game had barely restarted when Hojbjerg fired in a beauty to half the deficit instantaneously. Those goals were both players’ first goals of the season for their clubs.
Then on 55 minutes, Thiago, who had only just come back onto the pitch after getting his head bandaged following a collision, superbly set up Salah who rifled home a third for the visitors.
However, the goal was soon ruled out when Martin Atkinson was asked by VAR to check for a handball by Firmino.
Liverpool were not to be denied their two-goal cushion though. Alexander-Arnold’s delicious ball was misjudged by Joe Rodon which allowed Mane to slam home his seventh league goal of the campaign.
That goal seemed to deflate Jose Mourinho’s men and they failed to create any further dangerous opportunities as Liverpool ultimately eased to comfortable but crucial three points to move fourth.