London: Two first-half goals by Mohamed Salah brought Liverpool their first league win of the season away from home. The three points gained at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur kept their hopes alive for playing in European competitions next season. They had lost their previous two league games against bottom-of-the-table Nottingham Forest and Leeds.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp said: “This was big, absolutely big. It was a tough game for everybody, a brilliant first-half, with good football and world-class goals, then Tottenham coming back, taking a lot of risk. It became pretty direct, they switched the sides, crossed the ball early and that makes it very difficult.”
He spoke about Salah’s goals: “When you look back in five or six years, we’ll remember Mo as one of the best strikers you ever saw because his numbers will be insane. It wasn’t my plan to celebrate like that but I got carried away as our fans have had to travel a lot in the league and this was the first three points.”
The first half was totally in Liverpool’s favour. Had Tottenham delivered a second-half performance in the first 45 minutes, the result might have been different. They were a far more spirited side and put pressure on the opposition throughout the half with Liverpool largely on the retreat.
Liverpool were quick to take the lead when Darwin Nunez, in the 11th minute, passed the ball to Salah in the penalty area who took one touch to control the ball and then struck it left-footed and low into the corner.
Spurs were unlucky soon after when a shot from Ivan Perisic hit the goalkeeper Alisson and struck the right post. Then in the 18th minute, Ryan Sessegnon was pushed in the box by Trent Alexander-Arnold but the referee ignored Tottenham’s appeal for a penalty.
Five minutes before the break, Liverpool doubled the lead. Following a long kick by Alisson, Eric Dier headed the ball to back-pass to his goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but he put the ball into Salah’s path. The Egyptian sprinted past a defender before lifting the ball over the advancing Lloris for his 14th goal of the season in all competitions.
Spurs manager, Antonio Conte made a double change in the 69th minute, bringing on Matt Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski who both combined almost straightaway to pass to Harry Kane and the striker brilliantly put a right-footed shot into the far corner. Thereafter, despite exerting relentless pressure, Spurs could not find a deserved equaliser.
Conte said: “We have just started a process. After one year, we have made a lot of improvement. If someone thinks we are already ready to win I have to be honest and tell you it will be really, really difficult. I can’t promise at this moment to win trophies. We are far from it.”
He added: “I continue to ask for time and patience. For me, the passion and enthusiasm is my fuel. I need to have this, it’s very important for me.”
Source : OmanObserver