Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham: Have Jurgen Klopp's side got a title-winning combination?
Late own goal from Toby Alderweireld secures win for Liverpool over Spurs at Anfield
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 01/04/19 9:17am
Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League in dramatic style with a last-gasp victory over Tottenham. Jurgen Klopp's side appear to have found a blend of resilience and, at times, good fortune. But will it be enough to carry them to the title?
Anfield has witnessed this scene before this season.
A game that looked to be slipping away, vital points that were going to be dropped, an advantage set to be handed to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Only the Merseyside derby win was December. There were 24 games of the Premier League season left to play.
Now there are six. And Liverpool are on top of the Premier League again after another goalkeeping error - the sixth that Liverpool have scored from this season; three more than another side - saw them snatch victory.
Jurgen Klopp had been asked before the win over Tottenham what his side would need in the final stages of the season to win their first league title in 29 years. "Resilient…kind of stubborn… dig in and stay in," were the attributes he touched on.
Liverpool showed all of those qualities against Tottenham, and also had some good fortune on their side, not only with Lloris' game-changing error but when Moussa Sissoko blazed over the bar when he had a superb chance to put Spurs ahead in the 85th minute.
Resilience and good fortune? That sounds like a title-winning combination. But the mention of 'luck' should not take away at all from Liverpool's effort and determination.
Trent Alexander-Arnold said after the match that he thought Liverpool "wanted it more" than Tottenham in the closing stages.
That could be disputed, but what can't be disputed is that Liverpool have scored more late goals than another side in the Premier League this season.
They have scored 14 goals from the 81st minute on (nobody has scored more), 10 from the 86th minute on (two more than another side and four more than Manchester City) and six from the 90th minute (one more than any other side).
What does that say about Liverpool? Graeme Souness, a serial trophy winner during his time as a player at the club, praised their "will to win".
"They dug out a win. Sometimes you have to do that. They were gritty and determined."
But Souness added a caveat: "They can't keep relying on people making mistakes. Lloris has gifted that to them. Enjoy the day, analyse it, but you have to do better. That has to be the message."
Had Liverpool lost or drawn this game, it surely would have been the midfield that would have been under the most scrutiny.
They can't keep relying on people making mistakes. Lloris has gifted that to them. Enjoy the day, analyse it, but you have to do better. That has to be the message
The analysis had already started during the second half as Tottenham took control of the game and Liverpool's midfield trio struggled to get any control of the ball.
Jamie Carragher had said before the game that Klopp prefers to go with a combination of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson in "big games". He did it for Bayern Munich away, Manchester United away, Manchester City away, Manchester City at home and Paris Saint-Germain away.
Liverpool only won one of those games, and Carragher questioned during the second half against Spurs whether it remains the best combination going forward.
"There hasn't been enough in terms of stopping Spurs, let alone going the other way. They haven't been able to get close to people, I am not sure that midfield gives you the energy you need any more."
While City's squad depth has been cited as potentially decisive in the title race, Liverpool do have options in midfield.
Fabinho has impressed recently but he was left on the bench while Adam Lallana was also dropped after showing some encouraging signs since his return from injury. There's also Naby Keita, who is energetic but has not shown his best form in his debut season.
If Liverpool don't win the title this season, questions might be asked of the midfield and whether Klopp got it right with his selections in key games.
But with only one fixture remaining against a top-six side (Chelsea at home on April 14), perhaps Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum will not be paired together again in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool's five other remaining matches are Southampton, Cardiff and Newcastle away, and Huddersfield and Wolves at Anfield.
If the defence remains as impressive as it has been this season - and Andy Robertson and Alexander-Arnold as dangerous down the flanks as they were in the first half against Spurs - then it's difficult to see Liverpool losing too many games before the end of the season.
Will they win them all? And will resilience and a sprinkle of good fortune be enough to secure the title?
Souness is not sure.
"Liverpool are playing with a nervousness which they have to free themselves of in the next six games because if they continue like that it will be nail-biting stuff."
How much more drama is in store at Anfield this season?