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Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Three talking points from Anfield

Rob Meech brings us three talking points from Anfield as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur played out an enthralling 2-2 draw.

Rob Meech

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Photo: Reuters

Harry Kane’s dramatic 95th-minute penalty rescued a point for Tottenham Hotspur in a pulsating Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

The England striker slotted the ball past Loris Karius after the referee’s assistant had flagged for a foul by Virgil van Dijk on Erik Lamela.

It was a contentious call but Kane, who had missed a spot-kick only minutes earlier, took full advantage to reach the 100-goal mark in England’s top-flight.

Liverpool thought they had won the game when Mohamed Salah netted his second goal of the afternoon, a delicious solo effort, in the first minute of injury time.

It restored their lead after Victor Wanyama had restored parity with an unstoppable thunderbolt just moments after coming on as a second-half substitute.

The upshot is Liverpool leapfrog Chelsea into third, but their advantage over fifth-placed Tottenham remains two points.

Here are three talking points…

Spurs are rewarded for an impressive display

Much has been made of Tottenham’s record against fellow top-six clubs since Mauricio Pochettino took charge, particularly away from home.

They were below-par on their travels against Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal earlier in the campaign, losing all three games with barely a whimper.

This was a different story. Spurs made a tardy start and struggled to assert themselves in the first half. However, the interval came at the right time, after which they were transformed.

Pochettino’s side dominated possession and created more opportunities than the hosts.

In a grandstand finish, it seemed as though they would once again leave empty-handed. That was until Kane had the final say from the spot.

Defeat would have been a huge blow to Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations, but this hard-earned and merited point has kept them in the hunt.

Pochettino’s celebrations upon the final whistle indicated just how big a result this was in the context of the season.

Magical Salah has the Midas touch 

Amid the bizarre denouement, another stunning performance from Salah that culminated in a magical second goal must not be overshadowed.

The Egyptian has been accused by some of being overly one-footed, but when he left is so good why should that matter? It certainly hasn’t done Lionel Messi any harm.

Salah’s first goal, which arrived as early as the third minute, was a trademark finish as he brushed the ball past Hugo Lloris.

It took until added time for him to have another defining impact.

Salah appeared to be surrounded, but with a drop of the shoulder and superb close control, he somehow he weaved his way past three Spurs defenders and chipped the ball over the onrushing Lloris.

As it transpired, it was not to be a match-winning goal. However, Salah now has 21 for the season and was briefly level with Kane at the top of the goalscoring charts before the Spurs marksman’s last-gasp intervention.

Landmark afternoon for hotshot Kane

This fixture had been billed as a battle between Kane and Salah, the two leading scorers in the Premier League.

For all but the last minute of the game, it looked as though the Egypt international would win the bragging rights.

But you can never count out Kane, who showed great composure and courage to score a penalty having seen his previous once saved by Karius, which snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.

It took Kane to 100 Premier League goals. By doing so in just his 141st appearance, he is the second-quickest player to the milestone, after Alan Shearer.

Comparisons with Shearer have been made for some time and if the 24-year-old maintains his current scoring rate, he will surpass the legendary striker’s total of 260.

Modest as always, Kane is not getting carried away with himself and will be happy to have contributed to an enterprising Tottenham performance.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Offer for Robertson; new deal for Grujic; Firmino wants title

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool are preparing a pay rise for Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson may only have joined the Reds last summer, but the Scottish defender is in line for a new contract which will doubles his wages, according to the Mirror. The club have been so impressed by his form since joining from Hull that they want to reward him with a pay rise.

The left-back became a regular for Jurgen Klopp after a slow start to life on Merseyside and more than justified his £10 million fee, which now looks a bargain.

Marko Grujic is set to sign a new deal and depart on loan

After rumours of an exit throughout the summer, Sky Sports say that young midfielder Marko Grujic will sign a new contract at Anfield until 2023 and then head out on loan to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

Grujic spent time with Cardiff as they won promotion from the Championship last season and was expected to return to Wales but a move never came to fruition and he will now go to Germany to continue his development.

Roberto Firmino has discussed his ambitions

Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino has spoken exclusively to the Mirror to give an interview in which he made it clear that him and his team-mates are aiming for the Premier League title this season.

“I am optimistic and I believe ­Liverpool are capable of fighting for the greatest success this season. I also think we have a better team than last season and that the new ­players will improve the performance of the team. We have shown in the last campaign that our dreams can be fulfilled and that we can return to the path of winning titles. This year, we must not fail and that is the attitude of the ­players. I’m only interested in Liverpool and winning everything I can with them. We know what it would mean to be champions.”

Firmino discussed his future.

The former Hoffenheim man is a fan favourite at Anfield and clearly has no plans to depart the club in the near future with his sights set on success under Jurgen Klopp.

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Liverpool round-up: Klopp demands more; Klavan explains exit; loans for youngsters

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Photo: Getty Images.

Boss Jurgen Klopp has demanded more from Liverpool‘s fringe players

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that he will not tolerate any complaints from unhappy fringe players this season as he relies on them to make their point on the training ground.

“I cannot make people happy, I never could. Whatever happens on 31 August there will be a specific point where it is clear that is the squad for the next four months until January. Who cannot be happy in these four months being part of the squad at Liverpool I cannot help. Everyone who trains on his highest level – because the decision has already been made that they are good enough to play for Liverpool – has a big chance to be an important part of the team, to stay in the team and all these things.”

Klopp won’t pander to any demands from his players.

The German did not hide his feelings having been forced to leave out the likes of Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan last weekend, whilst Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren remain sidelined. Klavan has since left the club, and as the transfer market enters the final stages in other countries it appears more exits could be on the way.

Ragnar Klavan has revealed that two Liverpool players encouraged him to leave

Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan completed a £2 million move to Serie A side Cagliari on Friday just before the transfer deadline arrived in Italy, and he has explained his decision to leave Merseyside.

“I had offers from several teams, including in other countries, but Cagliari really wanted me. Darijo Srna advised me to come here, as I talked to him via Dejan Lovren. Other Liverpool teammates like Alisson, Salah and Lucas Leiva all spoke highly of Serie A.”

Klavan revealed the thoughts behind making the move.

Some fans may have been surprised to see him depart but given that he was entering into the final year of his contract and was unlikely to feature regularly with the likes of Matip, Lovren, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk ahead of him, it makes sense.

Under 23s set for loan deals

The Liverpool Echo report that the final two weeks of the loan transfer window could see several under 23s players depart the club on loan in search of regular game time, joining the likes of Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria who have already headed out on loan.

Many of those to feature for the team against Manchester United under 23s on Friday evening spent time out on loan last season, including Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella who was heavily involved in pre-season and was linked with a move away.

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Liverpool round-up: Grujic bid rejected; interest in Karius; Brewster nears return

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Liverpool have rejected a bid for Marko Grujic

The transfer window may have closed in England but it remains open until Friday in Italy and reports from the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds have turned down an approach from Serie A side Torino for midfielder Marko Grujic. The deal was reportedly a season long loan with an option to buy worth 10 million euros (£9 million).

The Serbian was heavily involved in pre-season after impressing for Cardiff City on loan last season and was expected to return to Wales after helping them earn promotion but a move collapsed.

Besiktas are considering a move for Loris Karius

Turkish newspaper Aksam claim that Besiktas have emerged as candidates to sign German goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan to provide him with an Anfield escape having lost the number one shirt to Alisson Becker after his Champions League final nightmare in Kiev in May.

Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the goalkeeper remain unclear despite publicly giving him a vote of confidence and a loan deal may be an ideal solution. Much could depend on the Turkish team’s pursuit of other targets, including Arsenal‘s David Ospina.

Rhian Brewster is nearing a return to fitness

It was a major blow to Liverpool’s plans for young striker Rhian Brewster when he picked up a serious ankle ligament injury in January, but under 23s manager Neil Critchley has told Goal that he could return to light training as soon as next month after a summer of rehabilitation.

“I’m sure he’ll be doing a few people’s heads in down at Melwood, chomping at the bit and ready to return! He’ll be quite restless. He’s a young boy who loves playing football and wants to play football, so he’ll hugely frustrated at the moment.”

Liverpool under 23s manager Neil Critchley has backed his striker.

The 18-year-old was training alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rebuild fitness after signing a new deal to commit himself to the Merseyside outfit despite interest from elsewhere.

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