Liverpool verdict - Reds prove title credentials with dominant performance at Spurs - but there is more to come
The definitive word on Liverpool's 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley Stadium
By James Pearce
18:42, 15 SEP 2018
Revenge really is a dish best served cold.
Eleven months after being humiliated by Tottenham at Wembley, Liverpool turned the tables in glorious fashion.
Jurgen Klopp had challenged his players to show just how far they have come since that bleak afternoon in the capital and they delivered.
A fifth straight win extended the Reds' best start to a season since 1990 as they continue to set the pace in the Premier League. This triumph will serve to fuel the belief that they can stay there.
The progress Klopp masterminded last term – coupled with this summer's show of ambition in the transfer market – had pointed to Liverpool being genuine title contenders this time around.
Now they have proved it. Bold words have been backed up with actions.
This was a statement win - Liverpool's first away to one of their top-six rivals since they collected maximum points at Stamford Bridge two years ago.
Their biggest test of the campaign to date was passed with flying colours.
It was the perfect way to kick off a potentially season-defining three weeks as they compete on three fronts.
Momentum is growing and the Reds will approach Tuesday's mouthwatering Champions League opener against Paris Saint-Germain with relish.
Last October the away end at Wembley was virtually empty when Liverpool were finally put out of their misery. Their frailties had been brutally exposed.
This time around a jubilant travelling Kop provided the soundtrack for the celebrations as 'Allez, Allez, Allez' echoed around the national stadium.
Make no mistake, the scoreline massively flattered Spurs, who were comprehensively outworked and outclassed.
Liverpool dominated from start to finish and only some slack finishing and dodgy decision making in the final third saved Mauricio Pochettino's side from a proper hammering.
Gini Wijnaldum ended his long wait for a first Premier League away goal and Roberto Firmino doubled their tally in the second half before being forced off with an eye injury.
A lapse in concentration enabled substitute Erik Lamela to pull one back in stoppage time but the hosts were well beaten.
Spurs have finished above Liverpool in eight of the last nine seasons but it's hard to see that happening again this term.
While the Reds kicked on under Klopp with their summer acquisitions, the Londoners stood still and their inactivity in the transfer market will cost them dear.
Aside from winning five out of five this season, part of the excitement for Kopites is the knowledge that there is so much more to come from this team.
Liverpool have yet to play with anything like the fluency or potency they are capable of. Mohamed Salah isn't firing on all cylinders but, crucially, they are still finding ways to win.
At Wembley they were indebted to some big performances through the spine of the side. The tireless Firmino led the line with aplomb, while Wijnaldum, James Milner and Naby Keita ensured that the midfield battle was incredibly one-sided.
The defensive unit of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson excelled as Harry Kane barely had a kick.
On their previous visit to Wembley, Liverpool paid the price for a woeful start as they found themselves 2-0 down inside 12 minutes.
This time they flew out of the traps and it was Tottenham who found themselves forced on to the back foot.
Inside 45 seconds Firmino turned in Milner's inviting cross from the right but Sadio Mane had tried to get the final touch from an offside position.
Firmino, who saw another effort turned behind by Toby Alderweireld, set the tone as he dropped off into space and linked play intelligently.
Midway through the first half Salah pounced on Eric Dier's misplaced pass and his pace took him clear but he couldn't beat Michel Vorm.
It was one-way traffic with Alderweireld across to make a crucial covering tackle after Salah had played in Firmino.
Klopp stood applauding on the touchline and the Reds boss was punching the air in delight soon after when Trent Alexander-Arnold's relentless pressing resulted in Danny Rose running the ball out of play deep inside Spurs' half. The teenage right-back marked a half century of senior appearances for the Reds with another all-action display.
At the other end there was danger when Mane shoved Christian Eriksen over on the edge of the box but the Dane's free-kick was easy for Alisson Becker.
Liverpool's new No 1 had clearly taken on board the lesson learned from his blunder at Leicester a fortnight earlier. No unnecessary risks were taken.
Six minutes before the break Liverpool got the breakthrough they deserved.
Vorm flapped at a corner, Dier nodded away but Wijnaldum dispatched a clever header goalwards which looped under the bar with the keeper unable to stop it crossing the line.
Wijnaldum, who bossed proceedings from the holding midfield role, could have had a second soon after but dragged wide.
Lucas Moura hit the post early in the second half to briefly rally the home fans but hopes of a fightback were soon snuffed out.
Robertson's cross clipped the bar and Mane was thwarted by Vorm before Liverpool made it 2-0 nine minutes after the interval.
A pin-point pass from Robertson released Mane down the left and his low cross sparked panic. Jan Vertonghen turned the ball against the post and Firmino gleefully tucked away the loose ball.
A Saturday lunchtime kick-off straight after the international break was never going to provide a feast of free-flowing action but what was most impressive was how Liverpool managed the game.
Spurs had plenty of possession but rarely looked like finding a way through as the Reds kept both their shape and their composure. Keita and Salah had big chances on the counter but couldn't find a way past Vorm.
After Lamela's late consolation, hearts were in mouths when Heung-Min Son shaped to shoot but he ended up on his backside and victory was secure.
After four straight defeats in competitive games under that iconic arch, Liverpool have finally banished their Wembley blues.
'Bring on yer Internationale,' roared the travelling Kop. For now they will have to make do with PSG. A season which promises so much is gathering pace.
Tottenham: Vorm, Trippier, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Dier (Wanyama 83), Winks (Son 73), Dembele (Lamela 60), Eriksen, Moura, Kane.
Not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Aurier, Davies.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold (Matip 90), Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita (Sturridge 83), Mane, Salah, Firmino (Henderson 74).
Not used: Mignolet, Fabinho, Moreno, Shaqiri.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Goals: Wijnaldum 39, Firmino 54, Lamela 90+3.
Man of the match: Gini Wijnaldum. Capped a commanding midfield display with his first away goal in the Premier League.
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