Football

Liverpool beat Spurs to go top, as Mourinho takes aim at Klopp, Guardiola

EPL
LIVERPOOL TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
2 1
(Mohamed Salah 26, Roberto Firmino 90) (Son Heung-min 33)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho took aim at Juergen Klopp after his team’s 2-1 defeat to the German’s Liverpool side at Anfield on Thursday morning (Dec 17, Singapore time) and even found time to refuel his old feud with Pep Guardiola.

A 90th-minute header from Roberto Firmino earned Liverpool a victory which sent them three points clear of Spurs at the top of the EPL.

It was hard to take for Mourinho whose team were not only moments away from a hard-earned draw, but could have won the game with Steven Bergwijn hitting the post and Harry Kane missing a great chance.

Asked about what appeared to be a testy exchange with Klopp after the final whistle, Mourinho told Amazon Prime: “I told him the best team lost. He disagreed. That’s his opinion. By the way, if I behaved the way on the touchline like he does, I have no chance to stay there – and I’m out after a minute.”

Asked whether he was referring to the “animated” way Klopp reacted through the game on the touchline, Mourinho replied: “That’s animated? That’s animated? Or do you want me to take the screen (from) the fourth official’s hands?”

The latter comment was almost certainly a reference to Manchester City manager Guardiola’s response to the added time shown at the end of his team’s draw with West Bromwich Albion a day earlier when he grabbed hold of the fourth official’s board.

Asked if he thought Klopp’s behaviour had gone over the limit, Mourinho said there appeared to be double standards.

“For some reason, I am different. And that’s that,” he said.

“Everything is fine between us,” he told the BBC in a separate interview.

“The referees let him behave the way he does. It’s not my problem. I feel sad for it because I cannot do it but it’s just the way it is.”

Klopp appeared nonplussed when asked about his conversation with Mourinho at full time.

“It was not heated at all,” he told the BBC. “He wasn’t happy because he told me the better team lost – and I thought he was joking! But he wasn’t. So that’s it.” 

TAKING THE LEAD

Klopp’s side dominated from the outset and took the lead in the 26th minute when Mohamed Salah’s shot deflected off Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld and looped into the far corner.

But Tottenham struck back seven minutes later, Giovani Lo Celso breaking strongly before finding Son Heung-min with a superb pass and the South Korean beat Alisson with a clever and composed finish.

Despite the home side enjoying the vast majority of possession, Spurs had two great chances to go ahead with Steven Bergwijn bursting into the box and holding off Trent Alexander-Arnold but his shot hit the post.

Moments later, Harry Kane found himself unmarked from a Son corner but uncharacteristically made a mess of his header, directing the ball into the ground and off-target from a great position.

Such opportunities are rare at Anfield and the champions made Spurs pay at the death with Firmino leaping to power home a header from Andy Robertson’s corner.

“A good game against a counter-attacking monster, the possession we had we did incredibly well,” Klopp said.

“Yes they have scored a goal, had two chances, apart from that we controlled the game and it is a massively deserved three points and I am happy,” he added.

Liverpool have 28 points while Spurs are now second on 25 points with both teams having played 13 games. Southampton, who drew 1-1 with Arsenal, and Leicester City, who lost 2-0 to Everton, are both on 24 points. – REUTERS

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