Tottenham ruthlessly exploited Liverpool’s defensive woes to move joint-second in the Premier League with a scintillating 4-1 victory at Wembley.
Two early lapses from Dejan Lovren were punished by Harry Kane, who scored the first and set up Heung-Min Son for Spurs’ second inside 12 minutes. Mohamed Salah halved the deficit midway through the first half but Dele Alli, on the stroke of half-time, and Kane’s second on 56 minutes sealed the victory.
With Hugo Lloris inspired between the sticks, there was no way back for Liverpool, who saw a nine-game unbeaten run against Spurs come to an end in front of a record Premier League crowd of 80,827 that included Diego Maradona.
It appeared consecutive clean sheets against Manchester United and Maribor lulled Liverpool into a false sense of security at the back, as early hesitancy handed Spurs the initiative.
With just five minutes on the clock, Lovren’s attempt to play offside backfired as Kane gathered Alli’s through pass, chipped the ball over Simon Mignolet and kept his balance to finish with his left foot. Things got even worse for the visitors seven minutes later as Lovren’s missed defensive header released Kane, who squared the ball for Son to fire first time beyond the Reds stopper.
Spurs continued to cut Liverpool to shreds and so nearly put the game beyond them, but Son rattled the crossbar with a thunderous 16th-minute drive. The visitors took full advantage of their reprieve.
A first-time pass from Jordan Henderson utilised the pace of Salah, whose scuffed effort – Liverpool’s first on target – trickled beyond Lloris to reduce the arrears. Lovren was put out of his misery soon after as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came off the bench, and Liverpool settled and threatened to level the contest.
However, in first-half stoppage-time, Spurs restored their two-goal lead, Alli volleying home from 18 yards after Joel Matip cleared a Christian Eriksen free-kick.
After defensive shortcomings plagued their first-half display, it was the turn of Liverpool’s goalkeeper to hamper their plans of a comeback as Mignolet failed to gather a free-kick on 56 minutes. Jan Vertonghen saw a shot blocked on the line but Kane was on hand to add his second from close range.
Lloris produced a world-class save to deny Philippe Coutinho’s curling effort on 67 minutes, and the Spurs skipper put the finishing touch to a fine display from his side with three saves to secure the three points.