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Liverpool’s last-gasp winner ruins incredible Tottenham comeback

Liverpool's last-gasp winner ruins incredible Tottenham comeback


LIVERPOOL, England — Diogo Jota‘s 94th minute winner sealed a crucial 4-3 win for Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur — seconds after it looked as though Jurgen Klopp’s side had thrown away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3.

Richarlison‘s 90th minute equaliser had completed a Spurs fightback after goals from Harry Kane and Heung-min Son had responded to Liverpool goals from Curtis Jones, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah. But Jota pounced on a Lucas Moura mistake to snatch victory and deny Tottenham a deserved point at Anfield.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)


Rapid reaction

1. Spurs are awful, then brilliant — and beaten

Who would be a Tottenham Hotspur supporter right now? No team puts their fans through the wringer quite like the club that are now onto their second caretaker-manager of a crazy season.

Having been hammered 6-1 at Newcastle last week, Spurs seemed on course for another humiliation at Liverpool after falling 3-0 inside 15 minutes at Anfield. The fans were starting to walk out and turn on their players and chairman Daniel Levy yet again. But this was a day when Spurs showed fight and spirit with goals from Kane and Son giving them hope of salvaging something from the game.

Son hit the post, then Cristian Romero sent a volley against the upright as interim manager Ryan Mason’s side chased an equaliser. And when it came, through substitute Richarlison on 90 minutes, the script seemed to have had its perfect ending.

The former Everton forward hadn’t scored a single Premier League goal for Spurs since completing his £60 million transfer last summer, yet here he was, coming off the bench to break his duck at Anfield, where he was booed on by the home fans because of his connection to their city rivals.

But just as Spurs thought Richarlison had rescued them and capped a memorable fightback, Spurs became Spurs again with defender Romero gifting Jota the ball in the penalty area in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Jota didn’t waste his chance, scoring past the isolated keeper Fraser Forster to snatch a 4-3 win for Liverpool.

It was so harsh on Spurs, but that’s how it is breaking for them right now. An incredible fightback and they still lose.

2. Don’t rule Liverpool out of the top four race

Liverpool are firmly in the race for Champions League qualification and it would be a mistake to rule Jurgen Klopp’s team out of a late surge into the top four. Manchester United‘s 1-0 win at home to Aston Villa earlier in the day looked to have given Erik ten Hag’s side some breathing space in their bid to secure fourth spot due to opening a 10-point gap between themselves and Liverpool.

But while the odds are stacked against the six-time Champions League winners to snatch a top-four spot over the final month of the season, their run of form suggests they should be taken seriously as the strongest contender to deny United.

This win against Spurs — as crazy as it was — made it four successive wins for Liverpool, but their recent revival was sparked by Roberto Firmino‘s late equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Apr 9. Since then, Klopp’s side have gone from hoping for a place in the Europa Conference League to reviving their top-four hopes, but do they have enough games left to catch United?

Judging by their remaining five fixtures — all winnable in this form — Liverpool could finish on 71 points and no team has missed out on Champions League qualification with more than than 70 points since Arsenal finished fifth with 75 points in 2016-17.

If Liverpool keep on winning, United will need to claim nine points from their final six games to edge out their traditional rivals. That should be within United’s grasp, but their form has been patchy, so the final month could be a nervous one.

And for Liverpool, the equation is clear. They simply have to keep on winning and hope that United stumble in the weeks ahead.

3. Luis Diaz shows Liverpool what they’ve missed

Diaz has been a huge loss for Liverpool this season, so the Colombia international’s first start since suffering a knee injury last September was a much-needed boost for the team and the player.

Having made such a big impact following his arrival from Porto in January 2022, there was a real expectation that the 26-year-old could help propel to another Premier League title this season. But while Liverpool can now not win any trophy this season, having Diaz back in action at this stage of the campaign means he can start next season fit and ready to do what many had hoped he would do this time around.

Diaz’s goal after just six minutes, when he volleyed in Cody Gakpo‘s cross, highlighted his ability in the penalty box. The link-up between the two players will have been noticed by Klopp, who signed both players to be part of the club’s new-look attack.

With Diaz, Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, Liverpool have added three exciting new forwards during the past three transfer windows and they are clearly the future, alongside Jota.

Diaz managed just over an hour of this game — a good return considering he was on the end of a bad first-half challenge by Oliver Skipp — and he showed plenty to give Klopp and the fans encouragement that he can be back to his best when next season starts in August.


Best and worst performers

BEST

Harvey Elliott, MF, Liverpool: He brought energy and purpose to Klopp’s team and would have boosted his prospects of an England call-up in front of the watching Gareth Southgate.

Diogo Jota, FW, Liverpool: Jota held his nerve to score the winner deep in stoppage time to extend his recent run of form. His return to the team has coincided with Liverpool’s resurgence.

Heung-min Son, FW, Tottenham: Not a great day to be a Spurs player, but Son showed resilience and quality to help spark his team’s revival. Hit the post with a second-half shot and a real driving force for Ryan Mason’s side.

WORST

Eric Dier, DF, Tottenham: Lacks the mobility to be a top centre-half and he was pulled in every direction by Liverpool’s forwards.

Oliver Skipp, MF, Tottenham: Very lucky not to be sent off in the first-half following a terrible challenge on Diaz. Should have been reviewed by VAR, but the Spurs midfielder escaped a second look by referee Paul Tierney.

Andy Robertson, DF, Liverpool: A rare off-day for the Liverpool left-back who was caught in possession on more than one occasion.


Highlights and notable moments

After only 15 minutes, Salah scored Liverpool’s third as Tottenham looked to be in for another rout after their 6-1 loss to Newcastle last week.

Despite the game looking done and dusted, Spurs fought their way back in to tie the match at 3-3.

A rollercoaster ending to the match saw Liverpool clinch the win in injury time through Jota.

In the midst of Liverpool’s celebrations, Klopp was seen holding his hamstring after running down the sideline.


After the match: What the managers, players said

Tottenham Hotspur interim manager Ryan Mason on Jota’s challenge on Skipp: “Honestly, it’s probably the clearest red card you will see on the football pitch. I need an explanation. It endangered the opponent. Skipp needs stitches and Jota has scored the goal when he shouldn’t be on the pitch. When you talk about endangering an opponent, to draw blood from a stud when his head if 5.5ft in the air just baffles me.”

Liverpool’s Jota on the challenge: “It’s not a great tackle. I also touched the ball. I also think he gets his head down. It’s just brave from him. Unfortunately it’s a foot in the face. I saw the ref could see I didn’t mean it and it’s just football.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on confronting fourth official John Brooks: “My celebration was unnecessary, which is fair but what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not ok.”

Klopp on missed calls and referees: “How they can give a foul on Mohamed Salah [before Spurs’ third goal]. We have our history with [Paul] Tierney, I really don’t know what he has against us, he has said there is no problems but that cannot be true. How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. In England, nobody has to clarify these situations, it’s really tricky and hard to understand.”


Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Harry Kane scores his 9th career PL goal vs Liverpool, moving past Thierry Henry and Jamie Vardy for 2nd-most all-time, trailing only Andy Cole’s 11

  • Harry Kane: 208 PL goals, ties Wayne Rooney for 2nd most goals in PL history

  • Tottenham concedes 3 goals in the first 15 minutes vs Liverpool Tottenham has conceded 3 goals in a PL match quicker than they have in this match only once: last week vs Newcastle (trailed 3-0 in the 9th minute)


Up next

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s side continue their bid to secure a top-four finish when they face Fulham on Wednesday, May 3 and then a home match against Brentford on Saturday, May 6.

Tottenham: A struggling Spurs side will face off against Crystal Palace on Saturday, May 6 followed by a visit to an in-form Aston Villa side Saturday, May 13.





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