Son Heung-Min deals a blow to Liverpool’s quadruple dreams as stubborn Spurs frustrate Klopp




CNN

Continuing the perfect season, Liverpool needed a perfect run-in. Tottenham Hotspur had other ideas.

A fierce defensive display earned Spurs a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday, a result that lifted Liverpool top of the Premier League on goal difference. Yet the final day of the campaign could well be seen as the day the title slipped away to Manchester City.

With Liverpool already needing City to drop points from their last four games, victory at home to Newcastle on Sunday will see City take a three-point lead at the top as they seek to defend their crown.

If successful, Liverpool’s dreams of becoming the first team to win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup will be dashed.

Coming on the back of 13 wins in their last 14 league games – the only exception a 2-2 draw at City – Liverpool were favorites to beat a Spurs side struggling to reach the top four, but despite dominating possession , found themselves frustrated by a decidedly white wall.

Spurs’ Italian coach Antonio Conte has carved out a stellar career thanks to a combination of defensive solidity and counter-attacking dynamism, a philosophy that paid off 10 minutes into the second half on Saturday.

A quick move down the pitch saw Harry Kane find full-back Ryan Sessegnon free on the Liverpool left, who lost interest in Son coming home.

His 20th league goal of the season – the only player to clear the milestone without a penalty – the South Korean superstar has dazzled again for Spurs this year despite a mixed season for the team.

A deflected strike from in-form Luis Diaz with 15 minutes to go looked set to spark an inevitable Liverpool onslaught and goal; yet Spurs held their ground and could even have snuck in a spectacular winner with better late decision-making.

“Having a good result was positive,” Conte told reporters after the game, with Spurs now a point behind rivals Arsenal in fourth.

“On the other hand, I think maybe we have to be a bit disappointed. I saw disappointment in the eyes of my players because we had the chance to win the game.

Diaz levels for Liverpool.

Reflecting on “one of the toughest games” he has ever played, Son explained the need for a more defensive approach.

“Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world at the moment so sometimes we have to defend,” Son told BT Sport.

“We did well today, that was our game plan.”

Son and Conte’s assessments marked a stark contrast to those of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who criticized Spurs’ approach.

Citing the away team’s 35% possession, Klopp said the approach was ‘not me’.

“I’m sorry, I’m not the right person to ask [about Spurs’ defending] because I don’t like that kind of football,” Klopp said.

“We’re playing a world class team, they sit down…the game plan works for these games, but they’re still 5th.

Klopp criticized Spurs' tactics.

“They obviously work for everything, waste of time, that kind of stuff…smart, but that doesn’t make it easy for us.

“Absolutely well, I just can’t. I respect everything they do. But it’s not me,” Klopp added.

Klopp and Liverpool are now hoping Newcastle can take something from City on Sunday before heading to Aston Villa on Tuesday.

An FA Cup final and a Champions League final later this month leave Liverpool with the chance of achieving a historic treble regardless of the Premier League.

“If you ask me, my favorite situation would be if it stayed like this, on the same total points because City and we lose the rest of the Premier League games,” Klopp said.

“That would be great. But we all know that’s not going to happen.


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