A game that summed up Liverpool’s and possibly Tottenham’s seasons ended with triumphant Jurgen Klopp fist-pumps and a pulled hamstring
Jones 3′, Daz 5′, Salah pen 15′, Jota 90+4′; Kane 40′, Son 77′, Richarlison 90+2′
Luis Diaz made his first appearance for Liverpool since October.
The team he rejoined at the end of this season was in a very different situation than the one he joined in January 2022, which was challenging Man City for the Premier League title.
It goes without saying that his return to the fold is greatly appreciated.
He brings a directness, quickness, and trickery that few players have, and he scored one of Liverpool’s early goals in the first 15 minutes.
Klopp now has a variety of attacking options at his disposal, and he can even use different players with varying strengths depending on the opponent.
There won’t be many games, however, where Diaz won’t provide a useful attacking threat.
Van Dijk is not to blame for his team’s defensive flaws.
Trent-Alexander Arnold has adapted brilliantly to the new system, where he will play in midfield.
However, the rest of the team appears to be figuring out what happens in Trent’s defensive gap.
The main issue for Tottenham’s first goal was Ibrahima Konate stepping into midfield to deal with the attack at its source, leaving an even larger space in behind on the right of the pitch.
Even if Konate was bypassed and the Spurs were in this position, they would struggle not to take advantage of it.
Van Dijk appears to be blamed, but he and Andy Robertson are fighting a losing battle because the opposition had a three-on-two advantage.
It demonstrates that, while some aspects of this new system are working well in possession, the players must still figure out what to do with the space left by Trent.
Maybe some midfield reinforcements are needed to keep Konate from stepping up, or maybe the central defender just needs to be more reactive and cover the space.
In any case, the victory exposed flaws for Klopp and the players to address.
He appeared to know what went wrong as he yelled angrily from the touchline after the first goal, which is encouraging. He might be stumped on the other two.
This Liverpool team may not be very good, but they were certainly entertaining – albeit not always in a good way.
Diogo Jota scored the winner after Richarlison appeared to have snatched a point for the visitors, sending fans on an emotional rollercoaster.
Anfield had been relatively quiet as Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 lead; perhaps too easy, which led to complacency.
The volume and nervousness increased as Tottenham made a game of it, and Liverpool let them.
In the end, it was a struggle, and an easy three-pointer became a crucial three-pointer with the possibility of losing two.
Klopp exemplified this, and he was fortunate to avoid punishment for his celebration in front of the fourth official. A pulled hamstring, on the other hand, may be sufficient punishment.
At the end of the game, the manager performed his trademark fist-pumps in front of the Kop, which he only does after a big win.
They might not have appeared if Liverpool had won easily, but because they won in dramatic fashion, the celebrations were more intense.