The cen­tral match of the Pre­mier League tour end­ed in a bril­liant vic­to­ry for the Reds.

Eng­land. Pre­mier League. 36th round

May 05, 18:30. Anfield (Liv­er­pool)



Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur

Some time ago this game would have had a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent sta­tus. Liv­er­pool was then a full-fledged con­tender for the cham­pi­onship, and Tot­ten­ham had excel­lent chances to gain a foothold in the top 4 and guar­an­tee them­selves the Cham­pi­ons League. How­ev­er, every­thing turned upside down quite quick­ly. Espe­cial­ly in the sit­u­a­tion with the Reds, who dropped five points last week and were effec­tive­ly elim­i­nat­ed from the title race.

Yes, math­e­mat­i­cal­ly the Reds remained in the game even after Sat­ur­day’s vic­to­ries at Arse­nal and Man­ches­ter City, but even Jur­gen Klopp did­n’t real­ly believe it. But he was sin­cere­ly hap­py about return­ing to the Cham­pi­ons League and said that now the pres­sure had sub­sided and this would help the team show beau­ti­ful foot­ball again. In gen­er­al, if every­thing had been fine before, then Salah would not have been among the sub­sti­tutes in the last round and no con­flict would have hap­pened between the Egypt­ian and the Ger­man coach.

How­ev­er, Klopp ini­tial­ly did not agree with this def­i­n­i­tion, and on the eve of the meet­ing with Tot­ten­ham he tried to close this top­ic: “If we had not known each oth­er for so long, I don’t know how we would have dealt with this, but we have known each oth­er for so long and we respect each oth­er so much that it’s real­ly not a prob­lem.”

“If I speak out, there will be a fire.” Salah quar­reled with Klopp dur­ing the match

If any­one had any doubts about this, they were dis­pelled in a quar­ter of an hour of Sun­day’s game at Anfield. Salah returned to the start (his por­trait accom­pa­nied the squad news on the club web­site) and was absolute­ly the best. More­over, he went down in league his­to­ry as the first play­er to have dou­ble-dig­it goals and assists for three sea­sons. The ben­e­fit per­for­mance began with a shot from the Swede that hit the cross­bar. He con­tin­ued by beat­ing the defend­er and land­ing a dan­ger­ous right-hand­ed shot. Final­ly, hav­ing shown Gakpo the direc­tion of his dash behind the defend­ers, after an exem­plary deliv­ery from the Dutch­man, Salah head­ed the ball into the net.

And Liverpool’s sec­ond goal could not have hap­pened with­out Mo’s active par­tic­i­pa­tion. In fact, he should have scored him­self — after Alexan­der-Arnold’s sig­na­ture trans­fer to Robert­son and the Scot’s dis­count to the cen­ter. But Vic­ario came to the res­cue, and Robert­son, who scored in the sec­ond round in a row, scored on the fin­ish­ing touch. With 274 Pre­mier League appear­ances under his belt, the defend­er has nev­er man­aged this before, so we can say that even before the end of the Klopp era, his play­ers are capa­ble of some­thing unique.

Pho­to by Reuters

Tot­ten­ham, against the back­drop of the tru­ly lib­er­at­ed Reds, turned out to be unten­able. Even in a sit­u­a­tion where his moti­va­tion seemed to be high­er. Aston Vil­la’s defeat in Brighton brought Spurs back into the race for the league title, but Liv­er­pool mer­ci­less­ly crushed the Lon­don­ers’ hopes. No post­poned match­es will help here. More­over, we are talk­ing about the game with Man­ches­ter City. Only the most des­per­ate peo­ple or Arse­nal fans can believe in Ange­los Postecoglou’s team in this match.

They will need the help of their worst ene­my, but how can they count on it if in the deci­sive peri­od Tot­ten­ham receives four defeats from New­cas­tle, Arse­nal, Chelsea and now from Liv­er­pool?! Oppo­nents, of course, are like selec­tion, this is the only test for com­pli­ance with the lev­el of ambi­tion. But, prob­a­bly, the capa­bil­i­ties and safe­ty mar­gin of the Spurs were sim­ply over­es­ti­mat­ed, fas­ci­nat­ed by Postecoglou’s attack­ing style, which at a cer­tain stage even made them for­get about Kane’s depar­ture. Only the Spurs didn’t have enough for the entire dis­tance.

And Liv­er­pool — even if its chances for the title are close to zero — pleased both its fans and Klopp per­son­al­ly. When Elliott added a bril­liant cross to Gakpo with a superb shot into the top cor­ner (after Salah’s pass!), Jur­gen had a huge smile on his face and he applaud­ed the team along with the stands. And some­where in Birm­ing­ham, Unai Emery prob­a­bly smiled for the first time that evening. After a ter­ri­ble week with a loss to Olympia­cos in the semi-finals of the Con­fer­ence League and Sun­day’s mis­fire in the Pre­mier League, Aston Vil­la is still clos­er to a his­toric break­through into the Cham­pi­ons League.