Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur score: Roberto Firmino strikes late as Reds return to Premier League summit

Liverpool returned to their perch at the top of the Premier League as Roberto Firmino rose in added time to secure his side a 2-1 win over Tottenham at Anfield.

The match went in much the fashion that Spurs boss Jose Mourinho often envisages these top of the table clashes should with Tottenham prepared to sit deep and explode on the counter. For a time it seemed that gameplan may not pay off when Mohamed Salah's shot deflected off Toby Alderweireld and beyond Hugo Lloris.

The visitors created just one shot on the Liverpool goal in the first half but it was all they needed, Heung-min Son finishing in incisive fashion to draw Spurs level before the interval.

Spurs had the best chances of a second half where Steven Bergwijn hit the post and Harry Kane curled wide but their defensive diligence was undone in the dying minutes of the match when Firmino rose to head home Andrew Robertson's corner and win the day.

Recap and the talking points from the game below.

Liverpool waves eventually wear away Spurs rocks

A clash between the league's best attack and its most resolute defense ended with Tottenham's rearguard emerging with all the credit. Against what was often a bank of six with three midfielders harassing them up the pitch Liverpool simply could not work the quality of chances they usually do.

There were flashes, a fine cutback from Andy Robertson to the penalty area where Salah curled the ball straight at Hugo Lloris, who himself did brilliantly to hold Roberto Firmino's bouncing header. Mane's brilliant spin of Serge Aurier in the 73rd minute was perhaps the game's outstanding moment of individual skill but all it earned the No.10 was a tight angle from which to shoot. Invariably, it was Spurs who looked the more likely to score even though they never had the ball.

Robertson and his fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold can put the ball on a sixpence from almost any position on the pitch but what can they do when there are no landing spots that aren't occupied by Tottenham defenders? Equally the interplay of Mane and Firmino counts for little indeed if Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is happy to just drag down the latter and take the yellow card.

Spurs defended excellently but the reality is if you set your stall out to hold firm against Liverpool you must be perfect and perhaps even lucky too to win. Toby Alderweireld was neither even though he defended excellently. He was misfortunate that Salah's shot looped off him and beyond Lloris. And, at the end, his defense of Firmino was that of a tired man, one who ran back too far and couldn't spring high enough to win the header from which Liverpool won the day.

Son ranks among the sport's best finishers

Did you doubt for a moment that Son would rifle the ball into the net when Giovanni Lo Celso busted through midfield and slipped him in behind? The only question that remained when he got one-on-one with Alisson was whether VAR were going to call the goal back for offside (although of course he had judged his run right) because there was no reason whatsoever to think the Tottenham forward would miss.

After all, no average striker would have got anywhere near Son's goal tally. His low drive was his 60th Premier League goal since the start of his second season with Spurs, the year when England first saw the remarkable quality of the 28-year-old. According to Opta's expected goals model, which measures the likelihood that any chance will result in a goal, he should have turned those 333 shots into 37.39 goals.

In other words Son has scored more than 20 more goals than the average forward would have in his position. There is one crucial reason why this particular player is such a statistical outlier. He has no weak foot even though he favors his right, meaning that he has more shooting options at his disposal and defenders more to worry about whenever he squares up to goal.

But that does not explain it all. The truth is that Son has taken a chance profile comparable with Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Josh King and turned it into a goal return that vastly outstrips the likes of Firmino and Marcus Rashford. In all of this sport there are few players you would be wiser to bet on in a one-vs-one situation.

Notable performances

Harry Kane: The England international ran himself into the ground chasing lost causes, always ensuring that there was one more body between Liverpool and the goal. His pressing was excellent and he might have found a goal from a smart interception. RATING: 7

Andrew Robertson: Even though not every cross found a team-mate Robertson invariably asked questions of the Spurs defense with tempting deliveries, none more so than the corner from which Firmino headed home. RATING: 8

Premier League outlook

Liverpool now hold a three point lead over Tottenham with 27 points to their name for 13 games. Leicester City and Southampton are just a point further back from Spurs but both dropped points with a defeat to Everton and draw at Arsenal.

Relieve all the action from the match with live commentary below.

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Sometimes they just find a way - for the first time in a long time a Tottenham defender loses their assignment at a set piece, Aldeweireld dropping too far back as Firmino heads home.

December 16, 2020, 9:47 PM
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This could be quite the remarkable story. Dele Alli has found himself thrust to the peripheries of the Tottenham squad since the opening weekend of the season but here he is getting his instructions from Mourinho. Could he turn the game at the last minute?

December 16, 2020, 9:43 PM
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To give you a sense of how hemmed in Spurs have been in this half, none of their players has yet reached 10 completed passes for the second half. Indeed only Hojbjerg has reached double figures for attempts with 11. Every single Liverpool outfield player has completed more than any of their opponents.

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