“Ugly” was Jurgen Klopp’s assessment of the way his Liverpool team eked out a thrilling last-gasp 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday as the Merseyside club returned to the top of the Premier League.
It might have been ugly, but the victory sent Liverpool’s Anfield crowd into delirium – their delight is perhaps understandable given the team they support last won the league title 29 years ago.
If there was ecstasy for Liverpool, there was primarily agony for Spurs after the match was decided by Toby Alderweireld’s own goal in the 90th minute.
The visitors had looked on course to take a deserved point from a tense encounter after Lucas Moura’s 70th-minute goal had canceled out Roberto Firmino’s first-half header.
But two errors from Spurs players following a corner cost Mauricio Pochettino’s team the chance of a point and also complicate their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Following a corner, first Hugo Lloris couldn’t collect Mo Salah’s header and then the ball ricocheted off Alderweireld and trickled over the line.
’A bit fortunate’
“Massive,” was the assessment of Liverpool defender Andy Robertson, who had set up Firmino’s headed goal, of the importance of his team’s victory.
“They beat us comfortably in the second half. It was a bit fortunate,” Robertson told Sky Sports as he reflected on how Liverpool took all three points.
Liverpool now leads Premier League champion Manchester City by two points, though the Merseyside club has played one more game. City’s next match is at home to Cardiff City, while Liverpool are away at Southampton on Friday.
“City last year were champions and are still pretty good,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “We have to fight like crazy. The crowd was outstanding. They were really here to push us and at the end it helped.
“It is only positive. I said there are 500 ways to win a football game and today was slightly ugly. Who cares?”
’It’s in our hands’
Banned from the Anfield dugout after accepting an improper conduct charge – the Spurs manager confronted referee Mike Dean after his team’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Burnley last month – Pochettino had to watch Sunday’s game from the stands.
“It is not easy to come here and dominate them,” the Argentine told Sky Sports. “After the first half we conceded a goal when there was not too much happening in the game. That was tough for us but in the second half we started playing with a lot of confidence.
“It is very tough to lose the game in that way but I feel I am happy because the emotion and feeling we have got today will help us.
“It is now a mini-league – seven games and we are in the top four. It is in our hands.”
In Sunday’s other Premier League match, Chelsea came from behind to win 2-1 at Cardiff and keep them in the race for a Champions League spot.