There were no shortage of talking points as Liverpool and Tottenham played out an extraordinary 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.
In a crazy finale at Anfield, Victor Wanyama’s stunning strike cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s early goal before Harry Kane had a controversial penalty saved by Loris Karius.
Salah then seemed to have won it for Liverpool with a sensational individual goal in the first minute of stoppage time, but Kane scored his second spot-kick in the dying moments to rescue a point for Spurs after Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela.
Redemption for Kane
Kane held his head in his hands when Salah scored his brilliant second goal just a few minutes after he had fired his first penalty straight at Loris Karius, but he made no mistake when afforded a second chance by the linesman’s decision to pull play back for Tottenham’s second spot-kick.
Harry Kane had a message for us after his late penalty at Anfield
As well as salvaging a vital point for Spurs in the top-four fight, the cool finish brought up 100 Premier League goals for Kane in his 141st appearance, meaning only Alan Shearer has reached the milestone in fewer appearances.
Up until the dramatic finale, however, it had been a frustrating afternoon. Kane had fewer touches (25) than in any other game all season despite Spurs enjoying 66 per cent of the possession, with Liverpool successfully cutting off his supply line. Few sides have nullified the 24-year-old so effectively from open play, but there was nothing they could do about his equaliser.
Salah’s phenomenal season continued with his 20th and 21st Premier League goals of the campaign. Since the Premier League began in 1992, no other Liverpool player has scored so many in so few appearances in a single campaign. It underlines his extraordinary impact under Jurgen Klopp.
The Egyptian showed his striking instincts for the first, latching onto Eric Dier’s loose pass and slotting his finish past Hugo Lloris, and his second was down to individual brilliance as he danced around Ben Davies, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen before poking the ball into the net. “The only other man who can score that goal is Messi,” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher afterwards.
Salah’s pace was a threat to Spurs on the counter-attack throughout. And as well as the two goals, he attempted twice as many shots and completed twice as many dribbles as any of his team-mates. With 12 games of the season still to play, it would be no surprise if he now becomes the first Liverpool player since Luis Suarez to hit the 30 mark.
Liverpool’s lightning start
Salah’s early goal set the tone for a frantic opening in which Spurs looked rattled by Liverpool’s aggressive pressing. Klopp’s men forced their opponents into repeated errors high up the pitch. Dier’s mistake for the opener was one of 21 occasions on which Spurs misplaced a pass in their own half before the break.
Davinson Sanchez struggled more than anyone, eventually making way for Erik Lamela as Mauricio Pochettino changed his formation midway through the second half, but in the end Liverpool were the ones punished for failing to make the most of the turnovers. Spurs improved as the game went on and the result could have gone either way.
Van Dijk at fault?
Virgil van Dijk’s eventful start to life at Liverpool continued. The Dutchman was impressive for large parts of the game, marshalling his defence with authority and making a string of important clearances to keep Spurs at bay, but ultimately it was his foul on Lamela which proved their undoing.
In the Sky Sports studio, Carragher was disappointed by Van Dijk’s failure to get a clearing header to the Spurs throw-in in the lead up to the incident. “When the throw in came, I said: ‘Van Dijk, this is the header you’ve got to win. If you win that header, the games finished’,” he said.
“For the penalty he gives away, I can feel for him in some ways because he doesn’t see the man coming,” he added. “I was more disappointed that he didn’t win the big towering header and just head it back where it came from. There’s always that time late in a game when you’re hanging on and the ball comes into the box and you just want your centre-half to win it.”
It is testament to the extraordinary drama at Anfield that Wanyama’s stunning equaliser was ultimately overshadowed, but while Kane was Tottenham’s hero in the end, it was the Kenyan’s moment of inspiration which changed the course of the game.
Victor Wanyama cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s opener with a stunning goal
Wanyama had only jogged onto the pitch in place of Mousa Dembele a couple of minutes earlier, but after picking out Christian Eriksen with a clever ball over the top, he met Karius’ punch with a phenomenal effort which flew into the top corner. After an injury-hit season, it was a vital contribution.