Liverpool displayed the sort of resilience for which they have now become synonymous – and for which Tottenham are criticised for lacking – as they recovered from conceding inside the first minute to win 2-1.
A week ago they scored a late equaliser at Old Trafford to keep alive their unbeaten start to the season, but they went one better at Anfield and in truth the margin of victory should have been greater.
In April, during the final throes of an ultimately unsuccessful title bid, Jurgen Klopp called his players “mentality monsters” due to the relentlessness with which they racked up wins.
In 10 Premier matches this season they have shown a similar kind of attitude, albeit in different circumstances.
Captain Jordan Henderson, the midfielder social media loves to criticise the most – particularly after the midweek Champions League performances of favourites Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita – chose the perfect time to score his first goal at Anfield since December 2015.
That equalised Kane’s 174th for Spurs, which took him level with Martin Chivers in third place on the all-time list.
But the Reds have a goalscoring machine of their own and Mohamed Salah’s 50th goal in 58 games on this ground from the penalty spot settled things 15 minutes from time.
💫 M A G I C M O 💫— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 27, 2019
Kane’s stooping header after 47 seconds came via a huge stroke of luck when Son Heung-min’s shot rebounded off the crossbar, although the England international was rewarded for his anticipation and quick reaction.
Liverpool had done a similar thing to Spurs in last season’s Champions League final, winning – and scoring – a penalty inside the opening 30 seconds.
They went on to win their sixth European Cup with few alarms, but the same could not be said of Pochettino’s side at Anfield, who immediately looked to switch into defensive mode.
Even then they could not stem the red tide, with only reserve goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaninga keeping them at bay with an inspired performance.
In the 25 minutes up to the interval he repelled a long-range volley from Salah, produced a good double save from the Egyptian and Roberto Firmino, tipped over a Virgil Van Dijk header and held a Trent Alexander-Arnold piledriver, while Sadio Mane planted a free header wide.
During the same period, all Spurs had to show was Christian Eriksen’s volley wide with Dele Alli unable to reach it.
All the signs were that it would be attack versus defence after the break, with Liverpool charging towards the Kop, but – after Firmino’s header was turned behind – Gazzaniga launched a counter-attack from the corner which saw Son hit the crossbar after shrugging off Dejan Lovren and rounding Alisson.
That was the closest the visitors came as Henderson popped up at the far post in the 52nd minute to convert Fabinho’s chipped pass with his weaker left foot.
Firmino almost sneaked a shot through Gazzaniga’s legs, the ball stopping on the goalline, with Georginio Wijnaldum heading straight at the goalkeeper.
Liverpool, powered by a flurry of crosses from Alexander-Arnold and defensive midfielder Fabinho stepping up to show his creativity in the final third, continued to press.
The pressure finally told when Mane escaped down the left, regained possession from Serge Aurier after initially losing it and was brought down.
Salah’s penalty was not the best he has ever struck, but it wrong-footed Gazzaniga for a ninth win in 10 matches.
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