Liverpool held off a late charge from Tottenham after Mohamed Salah struck twice to win 2-1 in north London and lift themselves back into the Premier League top-four race.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had suffered shock defeats to relegation-threatened pair Nottingham Forest and Leeds in their last two league outings but started fast against Spurs, with a sharp touch and finish into the bottom corner from in-form Salah giving them the lead on 11 minutes.
Ivan Perisic had a header deflected onto the post by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and Ryan Sessegnon saw a penalty shout from a challenge by Trent Alexander-Arnold waved away as Spurs came to life – but the Reds struck again just before the break thanks to a gift from Eric Dier.
The centre-back miscued a header towards his own goal and Salah (40) raced through to chip in his ninth goal in eight games.
Tottenham were sent out early for the second half and – not for the first time this season – were better after the break, with Alisson again pushing a Perisic effort onto the woodwork before Harry Kane (70) fired home a brilliant strike when played in by sub Dejan Kulusevski.
Rodrigo Bentancur went close with a couple of headers and Kane glanced wide as Spurs desperately sought another late goal but Liverpool clung on for their first away win in the Premier League this season to move up to eighth and within seven points of fourth-placed Spurs, with a game in hand.
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These two sides have both repeatedly started slowly in matches this season but Liverpool came flying out of the blocks, with Darwin Nunez making Hugo Lloris work on his 100th consecutive Premier League appearance for Spurs inside three minutes.
The Uruguayan continued to find space in the left channel and after angling another effort wide of the far post he got his head up and laid off for Salah to put Liverpool in front with a sweet touch and finish into the bottom corner.
The goal ignited Tottenham and Perisic – starting up front with Kane in a 5-3-2 – was inches away from a response four minutes later, when his header hit Alisson at close-range and deflected onto the woodwork, before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot was stopped by the Brazilian.
Spurs then had a strong penalty shout waved away on 19 minutes when Sessegnon got the wrong side of Alexander-Arnold and went down in the box when the Liverpool defender appeared to push him in the back. The challenge did not seem too different to the foul which earned Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo a red card and handed Fulham a penalty on Saturday but a VAR check cleared Alexander-Arnold.
- Tottenham made three changes from their Premier League win at Bournemouth, with Eric Dier, Rodrigo Bentancur and Ivan Perisic in. Croatia international Perisic started up front with Heung-min Son out injured. Davinson Sanchez and Oliver Skipp dropped to the bench.
- Liverpool made three changes from the midweek starting XI against Napoli, with Darwin Nunez, Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott coming in. Kostas Tsimikas and Curtis Jones dropped to the bench, with James Milner missing out due to concussion.
The right-back – who had demonstrated his fine passing range – continued to struggle with the pace of Sessegnon but his side went two clear just before the break thanks to a bad error from Dier, whose fluffed header allowed Salah to run through on goal and coolly extend Liverpool’s advantage.
The Reds looked in complete control at that point but Antonio Conte’s Tottenham have made a habit of being better after the interval this season and Alisson had to save well from a Dier header from a corner at the start of the second half.
The impressive ‘keeper then frustrated Perisic for a second time, brilliantly tipping his shot onto the bar, before Sessegnon and Kane sent efforts just off target.
The home fans had cheered loudly when Kulusevski – missing with a hamstring complaint since mid-September – went out to warm-up and within a minute of his introduction he showed why his return was so hotly anticipated, rolling the ball through for Kane to fire across Alisson and inside the far post.
That goal set up a late assault on the Liverpool goal from Tottenham but besides a couple of headed efforts from Bentancur, another from Kane and shot over from Perisic, the home side could not quite force in the equaliser and they slip behind Newcastle in the standings after the Magpies – who won here in the Premier League last month – beat Southampton earlier on Sunday.
Liverpool – who hit the bar late on through Nunez, who was flagged offside – are looking up again, with Klopp’s fist-pumps in front of the away fans summing up their boosted mood.
Tottenham head to Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday at 7.45 pm. They then host Leeds on Saturday November 12 with kick-off at 3pm.
Liverpool host Derby County in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday with an 8pm kick-off. They then finish their pre-World Cup campaign again at home three days later against Southampton. Kick-off at 3pm.