Five out of five for Liverpool

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (left) firing past Tottenham Hotspur's Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm for his team's second goal in their 2-1 win at Wembley Stadium yesterday.
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (left) firing past Tottenham Hotspur's Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm for his team's second goal in their 2-1 win at Wembley Stadium yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Klopp thrilled with Reds' display as Spurs lose successive games for first time since 2016

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE


Tottenham 1

Liverpool 2

LONDON • These are still early days of the new Premier League season, but Liverpool have proved that they are serious title challengers to Manchester City.

They might take some stopping too, judging by their superiority at Wembley yesterday against Tottenham, who like the Reds will switch to Champions League duty in the coming week.

It was Liverpool's fifth straight league win, only the third time in their history they have started a top-flight season so immaculately.

Perhaps the most frightening thought for the teams playing catch-up is that the PFA Players' Player of the Year Mohamed Salah has still not quite found his most exhilarating form of last season.

Not that he was too shabby during those long spells when Liverpool overwhelmed their opponents and, in the process, put down a marker at the start of a challenging run that will also see them take on Chelsea and champions City in the coming weeks.

WAXING LYRICAL

What a game from my boys, that was really, really good. Tottenham are one of the best teams in world football.

JURGEN KLOPP , Liverpool manager, on his team's performance.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was not only thrilled with the statement win, but also the manner of the victory, having come right after the international break.

"What a game from my boys, that was really, really good. Tottenham are one of the best teams in world football, and to come here and perform like that after the international break... I didn't take that for granted," he told BBC Sport.

"We were defensively good, offensively good, and the performance was better than the result.

"It was perhaps a bit nervy at the end, but no problem. I have nothing to be critical about today. It's a deserved result."

Once again, the front line of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane shimmered with menace. Yet there is also growing evidence that Liverpool can no longer be considered a lopsided team.

The defensive partnership between Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk is flourishing and, until stoppage time, when Erik Lamela scored for Spurs, it was hard to think of another period when goalkeeper Alisson was threatened.

  • ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

  • YESTERDAY

    Tottenham 1 Liverpool 2

    Man City 3 Fulham 0

    Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2

    Chelsea 4 Cardiff 1

    Bournemouth 4 Leicester 2

    Huddersfield 0 Palace 1

    Watford v Man United

    Late kick-off

  • TODAY

    Wolves v Burnley

    Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 8.30pm

    Everton v West Ham

    Ch102 & Ch227, 11pm

  • TOMORROW

    Southampton v Brighton

    Ch102 & Ch227, Tuesday, 3am

It was certainly unusual to see Spurs being outplayed this way and a particular ordeal for Michel Vorm, deputising for the injured Hugo Lloris in goal.

Vorm's frailties were exposed for both of the goals, scored by Georginio Wijnaldum and Firmino, and his mind seemed scrambled throughout the game.

If anything, it was a surprise Liverpool restricted themselves to only two goals and the only criticism was that their finishing could have been more clinical.

Otherwise, the Premier League's early pacesetters can reflect on a hugely satisfying day's work against a Spurs side who have now lost successive league fixtures for the first time since the closing stages of the 2015-16 season.

Harry Kane's listless display also did little to shift the common perception that he could benefit from a rest and it was scarcely deserved when Lamela fired past Alisson.

Spurs might even have salvaged the most improbable draw, with Mane lucky not to concede a penalty on substitute Son Heung-min in the final seconds and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was quick to reference the decision in his post-match interview.

A point, however, would have been a travesty, with the final score hardly doing justice to the gulf that existed between the sides.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 16, 2018, with the headline 'Five out of five for Liverpool'. Print Edition | Subscribe