Liverpool impressively halted their winless run in the Premier League with a 3-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
Goals from Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane guided the Reds to a vital result in a match that saw both sides also have strikes ruled out after VAR reviews.
The visitors’ joy was, however, marred by the news of an ankle ligament injury for centre-back Joel Matip, who was forced off at half-time.
Here are six more talking points from an eventful evening in north London...
Back to winning ways
Few, if any, would have predicted after Liverpool’s 7-0 win at Crystal Palace last month they would have to wait 40 days for their next top-flight victory.
But the Reds put a satisfying end to their hugely uncharacteristic run of five Premier League games without a win, and four without a goal, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A confident performance saw Jürgen Klopp’s men assert control for large spells of an encounter that included 14 shots, with seven on target, and three very welcome goals.
“They put a proper shift in,” said the manager post-match. “It was a brave performance in a game against a counter-attacking monster, which they are, and that makes it even more special.”
The result lifted Liverpool back into the top four and reduced the gap to new leaders Manchester City to four points.
Sadio leads the charge
Back in the starting XI after being a substitute at Old Trafford last weekend, Mane was at the crux of all of Liverpool’s productive attacking work in the capital.
First, the No.10’s assured chest control and delivery across the box served up a tap-in breakthrough for Firmino seconds before the half-time interval.
Then, in the fledgling stages of the second period, Mane’s spin at the edge of the box and low curler led to Alexander-Arnold’s strike on the rebound to make it 2-0.
Mane had also threaded the pass into the area from which Mohamed Salah smacked in a finish that was ruled out for an earlier handball, before he powerfully restored a two-goal cushion for his team himself.
Moving onto Alexander-Arnold’s bouncing delivery from the flank, Mane smoothly walloped a rising hit beyond Hugo Lloris for his 10th goal - and certainly one of his most important - in 2020-21.
Firmino’s Spurs charm continues
Right man, right place. Again.
The last-minute match-winner in their Anfield encounter in December, Firmino netted for the third consecutive league meeting with Spurs overall – the first to do so for the club since Luis Suarez – when he nudged Mane’s cross over the line in first-half stoppage time.
Coming in the final moments of a 45 minutes in which Liverpool went close on several occasions as they increasingly set the tempo, the No.9’s opener ensured his team’s efforts did not go unrewarded and set the foundation for victory.
On a personal level, the goal – his 84th for the Reds – moved the Brazil international into the club’s top 20 scorers of all time alongside fellow forwards Mane and Salah.
Trent’s perfect timing
Clinically swiping a driven shot from the right-hand side into the opposite corner of the net.
Alexander-Arnold’s 47th-minute conversion against Tottenham bore similarities to his previous goal away from home – the seal on a 4-0 triumph at Leicester City back on Boxing Day 2019.
And it was an ideal time for the full-back to rediscover his shooting boots on the road, while simultaneously opening his account for the current campaign, as he doubled the visitors’ advantage so soon after one had been established.
He further encapsulated a strong display – one that earned him Man of the Match plaudits – with a sweeping, inviting cross from deep that Mane powered home to conclude the night’s scoring.
A goal, an assist and a BRILLIANT all-round performance 👏 @TrentAA is your @carlsberg Man of the Match for #TOTLIV… https://t.co/CY7HDepwFq— LFC (Liverpool FC) 28th Jan 22:48
With five goals and 16 assists, Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more goals than any other defender in the Premier League since the start of last season.
“I felt good out there tonight. I felt like I was back at my best and was able to influence the game like I wanted to,” said the No.66.
Setting a record
Klopp’s charges have now won six successive league games against Spurs – a new club record.
The Reds bettered their previous runs of five wins in a row over their opponents (1975-76 and 2013-15) while bringing up the landmark of 100 goals past Tottenham in the Premier League era.
Liverpool’s form in the capital continued, too, with a seventh win in their last 10 league visits to London and just one loss in the past 15.
Encouraging numbers given they will be back within days, when they face the side immediately below them in the table, West Ham United, this weekend.
Millie keeps on going
It was Premier League appearance No.550 for the indefatigable James Milner on the evening.
The 35-year-old retained his place in midfield from last weekend and marked his personal milestone with a typically influential contribution to the victory.
Milner was integral to the champions gaining and maintaining the upper hand over Spurs with his energy and use of the ball across the pitch as he completed the 90 minutes.
He chalked up team-high figures for key passes (four), successful passes (56) and tackles (two).
Of his total matches in the top flight – the fifth-highest in the Premier League era – 161 have been in Liverpool colours and, no doubt to Klopp’s satisfaction, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Brilliant team performance and an important three points on the road. Delighted to make my 550th @premierleague app… https://t.co/mgOziLKVGr— JamesMilner (James Milner) 28th Jan 23:25