At least we’re all getting used to having to endure a nervy final 10 minutes now, right? No, me neither. It should never have had to be this way as we deserved to be out of sight with the amount of chances we created. Sadly, too many of our efforts were straight at their goalkeeper. Nevertheless, it was a very good win after going behind so early and keeps us 6 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
To begin, Alisson was very impressive on his first Anfield appearance since returning from injury. He may not have pulled off any spectacular saves, but late on, when we needed his handling to be assured, he did not let us down. The Brazilian was also brilliant with the ball at his feet, some very calm work in possession and a number of nice switches out to the fullbacks.
In defence, one man stood out above the rest – Trent Alexander-Arnold. He’s only just turned 21 and he’s running the game against top opposition from right-back. Other than Kevin De Bruyne, there is no one else in the league capable of creativity like Trent. His delivery from wide positions is arguably the best in Europe and he can hit diagonals as well as Steven Gerrard in his prime. Despite his Ballon d’Or nomination, it still feels as though he is underrated by the masses.
In midfield, much like Trent, Fabinho was head and shoulders above Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson. The latter was very poor in the first half which began with him needlessly losing the ball in the lead up to Tottenham’s early goal. For the remainder of the 45 he was all over the place, unable to make a mark on the game. He improved slightly in the second half and managed to help himself to his first Anfield goal for the club for almost 5 years. Wijnaldum, similarly to Henderson, failed to make much of an impact on the match. His performance was epitomised by a situation in the second half where he appeared to have a clear goalscoring opportunity but elected to hold onto the ball for too long before handing it off to Robertson. Due to the lacklustre outings from The Dutchman and Englishman, Fabinho appeared to be playing in midfield on his own. Fortunately for us, the Brazilian is arguably the best defensive midfielder in world football. I feel like I say it every week but once again he was sensational defensively, but also fantastic in an attacking sense. He glides past players and has a real eye for a pass. He was constantly finding Trent is acres of space and is always capable of playing a penetrative dinked pass over the opposition’s backline.
As for the front 3, it wasn’t their most electric game. Still, Salah got another goal from the spot and you can credit Mane for the assist as he won the penalty. The Senegalese was by far the best of the 3 throughout the game. He is a threat every time he steps foot on the pitch as he is so difficult to keep quiet. He is virtually impossible to wrestle the ball from, he’s as quick as anyone in the league and keeps fighting with everything he has until the final whistle. On that last point, it’s the second time in our last 2 home games in the league that he’s won us a late penalty. Defenders simply cannot switch off for a second when he is in the team.
Choosing Man of the Match was a difficult one this time around as both Trent and Fabinho deserved it in my opinion. However, since there can be only one, I’ve gone with Fabinho. Although Trent was sensational going forward, he did occasionally let himself down defensively. Fabinho, on the other hand, was virtually faultless throughout and has established himself as the most consistent player in the Liverpool squad. After his slow introduction into the line-up when he arrived last season, he now must be the first name on the team sheet.