Premier League
Liverpool3Tottenham2

Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has three goals for the season in all competitions
  • Kane scores his 23rd goal of the season
  • Liverpool unbeaten in last seven home league games
  • Reds move to within one point of Spurs
  • Balotelli scores first goal in 13 league appearances

Mario Balotelli's first Premier League goal for Liverpool gave them a crucial victory in the fight for a Premier League top-four place in a thrilling game at Anfield.

Liverpool led twice only to be pegged back by Spurs before Balotelli, on as a substitute for Daniel Sturridge, turned in Adam Lallana's cross with seven minutes left.

Lazar Markovic gave Liverpool an early lead but man-of-the-moment Harry Kane was on the mark again to swiftly equalise for Spurs with his 23rd goal of an outstanding season.

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We deserved a point - Pochettino

Steven Gerrard's penalty just after half-time restored Liverpool's lead but Mousa Dembele levelled again before the decisive late intervention from the Italy striker, who has been little more than a £16m misfit since his summer arrival from AC Milan.

And in the context of the battle to earn a place in next season's Champions League, Balotelli's goal came at the perfect time, halting Spurs' recent resurgence and moving Liverpool to within one point of Mauricio Pochettino's side and three points off fourth-placed Arsenal.

Balotelli did not hang around to enjoy the acclaim at the final whistle, running straight down the tunnel - but no-one appeared to notice or care as The Kop, along with the club's American owner John W. Henry who watched from the stands, celebrated this vital win.

Hot-shot Harry
The top scorers in 2015 across the top five European leagues are Lionel Messi and Harry Kane with eight each.

The absence of forward Raheem Sterling through injury allowed Sturridge to make his first Liverpool start since their 3-0 win at White Hart Lane on 31 August - and he had opportunities to mark his return with a goal in an early phase dominated by the hosts.

He showed some ring rust as his shot lacked power when he collected Ryan Mason's poor back pass, but it needed a fine one-handed save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris to stop his instant shot as Liverpool applied pressure.

Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge made his first start since August and hit the post at Anfield

Liverpool's opening goal came after 14 minutes and the normally impeccable Lloris had to take a large share of the responsibility. Markovic picked up the ball following an aerial challenge between Sturridge and Jan Vertonghen, and although his shot did not carry great power it deceived Lloris and ended in the corner of the goal.

Kane's confidence was illustrated with an ambitious effort from the halfway line that was never going to trouble Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet, but he made no mistake with a much more routine chance as Spurs drew level 12 minutes later.

All good things...
Mario Balotelli's first Premier League goal of the season came with his 48th shot. It was his first goal in the English top-flight since November 2012.

Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela were the creators and when Kane had the opportunity with time and space 10 yards out, he drilled home past Mignolet.

Sturridge was striving to get on the scoresheet and a piece of invention just before half-time was almost rewarded, his backheel after a scramble in the penalty area bouncing back off a post with Lloris beaten.

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Mario Balotelli deserves the limelight - Colin Pascoe

Liverpool regained the lead seven minutes after the break when Sturridge tumbled under Danny Rose's challenge, leaving Gerrard to score with his usual expertise from the spot.

Spurs, once more, wasted no time responding when Dembele bundled in from almost on the line from Kane's cross after Mignolet had done well to turn away Eriksen's free-kick.

As both managers made changes, it was the introduction of Balotelli for the tiring Sturridge that made the difference - and put Liverpool right in the hunt for a place in the top four.

Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe:

"We knew it would be a tough game but we got the three points to keep closing the gap.

"Mario always works hard in training. Recently he has been ill and also had a knock on his foot and couldn't get his boot on but he kept going and deserved his goal.

"He got the winner so I'm sure he's happy. He knew he might have to play a part and he did.

"It must have been a great game to watch but we knew were always going to create chances and with Daniel Sturridge back we knew we were always going to have a threat in behind.

"Steven Gerrard just felt his hamstring. He looked over and said he was feeling it so he was just taken off as a precaution.

"We talked about needing to win to get the gap closer and get closer to the top four. We will be looking to do the same when we play at Southampton in our next game - win again and keep closing the gap."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino:

"It was a great game and I am disappointed with the result but proud of the efforts of my players. We have a young team and believe in our way of playing. The effort and performance was good. We played to try and win the game and I felt we deserved more."

John W Henry and Linda Pizzuti
Liverpool owner John W. Henry was at Anfield with wife Linda Pizzuti after flying in from America earlier this week
Lazar Markovic
Markovic got Liverpool going at Anfield in his 14th league appearance for the club
Harry Kane
Harry Kane, who has played 10 times for England Under-21s, scored his 23rd goal of the season and provided an assist for Spurs
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard scores his 10th goal of the season
Mousa Dembele
Mousa Dembele's goal cancelled out Gerrard's penalty
Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has played 13 Premier League games this season, having signed from AC Milan in August 2014

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Can
  • 37SkrtelBooked at 40mins
  • 17SakhoBooked at 45mins
  • 33Ibe
  • 14Henderson
  • 8GerrardBooked at 60minsSubstituted forLovrenat 68'minutes
  • 18Moreno
  • 50MarkovicSubstituted forLallanaat 79'minutes
  • 10Coutinho
  • 15SturridgeSubstituted forBalotelliat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Johnson
  • 6Lovren
  • 9Lambert
  • 20Lallana
  • 24Allen
  • 45Balotelli
  • 52Ward

Tottenham

  • 1Lloris
  • 2WalkerBooked at 73mins
  • 15Dier
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 3Rose
  • 42Bentaleb
  • 38MasonBooked at 24minsSubstituted forPaulinhoat 69'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 11Lamela
  • 19DembéléBooked at 63minsSubstituted forSoldadoat 85'minutes
  • 23EriksenBooked at 28minsSubstituted forChadliat 81'minutes
  • 18KaneBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 8Paulinho
  • 9Soldado
  • 13Vorm
  • 17Townsend
  • 21Fazio
  • 22Chadli
  • 33Davies
Referee:
Phil Dowd
Attendance:
44,577

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamTottenham
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home16
Away14
Shots on Target
Home7
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

Hand ball by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

Booking

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mario Balotelli (Liverpool).

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Emre Can (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mario Balotelli.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mario Balotelli (Liverpool).

Booking

Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur).

Adam Lallana (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

Foul by Roberto Soldado (Tottenham Hotspur).

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Roberto Soldado replaces Mousa Dembélé.

Goal!

Goal! Liverpool 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) right footed shot from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

Hand ball by Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur).

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Nacer Chadli replaces Christian Eriksen.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Adam Lallana replaces Lazar Markovic.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Danny Rose.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Mario Balotelli replaces Daniel Sturridge.

Booking

Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

Foul by Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur).

Lazar Markovic (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Paulinho replaces Ryan Mason.

Foul by Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea24175254213356
2Man City24147347242349
3Southampton24143738172145
4Arsenal25136647281945
5Man Utd24128440231744
6Tottenham2513483934543
7Liverpool2512673629742
8West Ham2410773628837
9Swansea249782831-334
10Stoke249692729-233
11Newcastle248793036-631
12Everton246993134-327
13Crystal Palace2468102634-826
14Sunderland2541292236-1424
15Hull2558122334-1123
16West Brom2458112234-1223
17QPR2564152643-1722
18Aston Villa2557131234-2222
19Burnley2449112340-1721
20Leicester2545162240-1817
View full Premier League table

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