LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom (AFP) - Harry Kane’s 22nd goal of the Premier League season rescued a point for title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool on Saturday.
But the result left shock leaders Leicester City four points clear at the top – and the Foxes will stretch their advantage to seven points if they win at home to Southampton on Sunday.
England striker Kane scored with a superb 62nd minute effort, taking a cross from the quick-footed Christian Eriksen, before turning to beat marker Dejan Lovren and send an unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal.
Kane’s goal cancelled out an earlier effort from Liverpool’s Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho who struck in the 51st minute of an open contest.
Coutinho started, and emphatically finished, the move, executing a one-two with Daniel Sturridge before beating the diving Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a magnificently-judged right-foot shot from just inside the penalty area.
An absorbing and entertaining game saw both teams play with attacking intent and energy from the outset.
As early as the ninth minute, a super cross-field pass from Danny Rose picked out fellow full-back Kyle Walker and, after a helping touch from Son Heung-Min, Eriksen’s well-struck shot was kept out impressively by Simon Mignolet.
Not for the first time on the day, there was a swift response at the other end as Adam Lallana dispossessed Mousa Dembele, James Milner saw a shot blocked by Kevin Wimmer and Coutinho’s follow-up shot was kept out by the diving Lloris.
Mignolet’s suspect kicking has caused Liverpool supporters more than occasional anxiety this season and, in the 19th minute, he and Lovren dithered in dealing with a loose ball on the edge of the area and Kane charged down the goalkeeper’s clearance, with the Belgian watching in relief as the ball flew harmlessly behind.
Moments later, Lloris showed his worth at the other end, diving sharply to deal with an interception from team mate Son that looked like flying into his own goal.
Then, as Liverpool pressed, Coutinho robbed Eriksen and advanced only to dive under a challenge from Toby Alderweireld, receiving the game’s first caution in the process.
The uncertainty that has been evident in Liverpool’s defending at times this season again came to the fore as Mamadou Sakho failed to head clear, allowing Kane to run at Lovren and send a low shot flying just wide of the left-hand post.
But, whatever their shortcomings at the back, Liverpool still impressed in attack, even if the quality of their finishing left a lot to be desired.
After Spurs survived a penalty appeal, when Walker tangled with James Milner in the area, Sturridge was clean through on goal but denied by the legs of Lloris.
Coutinho found Lallana who showed great skill and footwork in the area to make room and force another save from the impressive Spurs keeper and the France captain somehow kept out a mis-hit close-range Lallana volley.
After the second half opened with Liverpool taking the lead, Sturridge might have increased the advantage with an off-balance header that flew just over, while Son arrived on the end of a Dembele cross to send an acrobatic volley soaring above the crossbar.
Mignolet then saved Eriksen’s low, crisp shot, as Spurs sought the winner, while Coutinho again threatened with a drilled cross-shot that flew along an unguarded goal-line.
Coutinho, yet again, was just off target with a shot after decent approach play by Divock Orgi and, as Spurs pushed and pushed, a 22-yard Eriksen free-kick sailed narrowly wide.
It was a miss that summed up an afternoon of so near yet so far for Tottenham at Anfield.