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Tottenham 1-3 Liverpool: Reds end dry January in style

Liverpool’s slump is over! They end a five-match winless run with a comprehensive victory at Tottenham.

Firmino opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time to prompt a manic start to the second half.

Alexander-Arnold got Liverpool second before Hojbjerg hit back. But Mane’s nailing strike set up an obvious finish.

Liverpool moves back into the top four, four points behind league leaders City, although Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand.

The Reds visit West Ham in an uncertain test on Sunday as the Hammers boss David Moyes knows he may be facing a revived Liverpool come Sunday. While Tottenham, still in sixth, as they head to Brighton.

This could be where the title defence begins in earnest – and where, perhaps, Tottenham’s dominance ends.

There were some big performances from Alexander-Arnold who scored and also assist and a constant threat from Mane. Firmino also led the line superbly.

Liverpool has taken six points out of six, from Spurs for the last two months – but there’s a possibility Harry Kane might have suffered a significant ankle injury.

For Liverpool, though, this might be a turning point. Their first league goals of 2021 and against a team that would be reckoned as a title rival.

Liverpool’s defence of their title has been harmed by a string of injuries in defensive positions, then Tottenham’s challenge is built on even more counter-attacks. Any injury to Kane or Son Hueng-min and it is presumed to be over.

So, long before Roberto Firmino tapped the ball into the net shortly before half-time, the most worrying sight for Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho would have been the two lengthy intervals of treatment required for Kane to make it through to half-time.

Even then, his movement looked forced as he struggled to shake off ankle issues, sustained, further worsened, and then ultimately insurmountable.

Kane’s initial problem came in a challenge with Thiago Alcantara. Not in the tackle so much, although it was a foul, more its aftermath in which Kane appeared to slip on the turf at the moment bodies collided.

He knelt still for agonising moments until treatment arrived, carried on but did not appear to be moving freely.

Then he went up for an aerial challenge with Jordan Henderson and landed awkwardly on his other ankle. More treatment, more anxiety, the second one was worse according to Mourinho.

Certainly, when Kane came back onto the field this time he looked even more disturbed. On the bench, Carlos Vinicius – the hero of Marine – began warming up. But Kane wanted to stay on, and Mourinho wanted to keep him on. That is his level of importance to the team. They gave it every chance to stop hurting.

The half-time ended, however, introduced common sense and reality to the situation, and when Tottenham returned without their talismanic captain.

Erik Lamela was introduced to the forward line and Mourinho being nothing if not bold with his substitutions in came Harry Winks for Serge Aurier to bolster the midfield.

Tottenham’s second problem. Defensively, they were poor, too. Joe Rodon is young, and those around him prone to error. Liverpool’s makeshift backline – the initial pairing of Henderson and Matip was Jurgen Klopp’s 11th central defensive partnership of the season – looked considerably more assured and Henderson’s commanding instructions could be heard everywhere.

So, back to Liverpool’s first, and just as bad balls take wickets, not every cross has to have laser accuracy. Mane’s poorly hit centre initially seemed so mild that Tottenham’s defensive pair looked reluctant to lower themselves by actually dealing with it.

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