Joel Matip’s own goal deep into stoppage time gave Tottenham Hotspur victory over nine-man Liverpool in an eventful and contentious Premier League encounter.
The Reds were compromised by two controversial red cards, the first given to Curtis Jones for a foul on Yves Bissouma after just 26 minutes following a VAR intervention, before half-time substitute Diogo Jota followed him down the tunnel with more than 20 minutes remaining after picking up a quickfire double booking.
In a game in which the Reds were clearly nursing a sense of injustice, they had an opening goal by Luis Diaz ruled out by another controversial VAR decision, as the officials quickly ruled the Colombian offside without showing the customary offside line graphics.
PGMOL has since issued a statement admitting that a “significant human error” took place, calling the decision to rule out Diaz’s goal “a clear and obvious factual error”.
They say VAR should have intervened, and failed to do so, adding that a “full review” will be conducted to find out why it did not.
Captain Son Heung-min then slid Spurs in front from Richarlison’s pass nine minutes prior to half-time following good work from summer signing James Maddison.
But the visitors responded with an equaliser in first-half stoppage time when Cody Gakpo scored on the turn from Virgil van Dijk’s header down, but the Netherlands forward was injured in the act of scoring and did not come out for the second half.
Spurs, understandably, had the better chances in the second half and Liverpool keeper Alisson kept the Reds on terms with outstanding saves from Maddison and Son, and it looked like their resolute rearguard would earn them a battling draw until the drama of the final seconds.
As Spurs mounted one last attack, Matip could only turn Pedro Porro’s cross high past the helpless Alisson to spark scenes of jubilation and relief among the home support, inflicting Liverpool’s first defeat of the season and maintaining manager Ange Postecoglou’s unbeaten Premier League record.
Spurs’ patience rewarded by slice of fortune
Spurs knew they were under pressure to to find a winner against a side who have joined them as one of the early Premier League pacesetters.
It is to their credit that there was no sense of panic in their approach even as the seconds ticked away and Liverpool’s red wall of defensive defiance kept them at bay, helped by keeper Alisson proving such a relentless barrier.
Spurs showed their new-found belief throughout the game and, despite some groans when Dejan Kulusevski played the ball back to Porro at the end of six minutes of stoppage time, their patience was rewarded with a large slice of good fortune as Matip’s attempted clearance deflection carried such power that even Alisson was rendered powerless.
It was a climax which sparked wild scenes around Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where the atmosphere has been transformed since Postecoglou’s arrival.
Maddison was once again pulling the strings, playing a key part in Son’s opener, while the intensity and determination is bringing roars of approval from Spurs fans who have suffered under the stodgy styles of previous bosses Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
This may only be a pretty fortunate late victory against nine men, but a three points swing over this increasingly formidable Liverpool team will send confidence soaring even higher at Spurs.
Liverpool left heartbroken and fuming
Matip’s misery was the final straw for Liverpool after a game in which manager Klopp and his players were convinced officialdom and the fates conspired against them cruelly.
Klopp complained bitterly about Jones and Jota being sent off, while the decision to rule out Diaz’s first-half goal for offside was clearly an enormous error.
Their sense of injustice will have felt even more acute given the manner in which they organised themselves in a 5-3-0 formation, with a world-class last line of defence in keeper Alisson, to keep Spurs at arm’s length once they were down to nine men.
Liverpool have shown they can get results with reduced numbers this season, having beaten Bournemouth and Newcastle United despite being down to ten men, but this time it just proved a step too far.
Klopp, however, will be rightly proud of the way Liverpool gathered themselves to get within seconds of a valuable point.
The Reds’ attacking prowess is well known but this was a show of quality and character at the other end of the field, only for all their hard work to come to nothing after Matip’s unwitting late intervention.
Player of the match
23Porro17Romero37van de Ven38Udogie
23PorroBooked at 90mins
17RomeroBooked at 89mins
37van de Ven
38UdogieBooked at 45minsSubstituted forDaviesat 83′minutes
29SarrSubstituted forSkippat 83′minutes
8BissoumaBooked at 88minsSubstituted forHøjbjergat 90′minutes
10MaddisonSubstituted forVélizat 90′minutesBooked at 90mins
7Son Heung-minSubstituted forSolomonat 69′minutes
2GomezSubstituted forKonatéat 73′minutes
4van DijkBooked at 90mins
26RobertsonBooked at 87mins
10Mac AllisterBooked at 40minsSubstituted forGravenberchat 80′minutes
17JonesBooked at 26mins
11SalahBooked at 65minsSubstituted forAlexander-Arnoldat 74′minutes
18GakpoSubstituted forJotaat 45′minutesBooked at 69mins
7DíazSubstituted forEndoat 73′minutes
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Liverpool 1.
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Liverpool 1.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Alejo Véliz (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.
Pedro Porro (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Own Goal by Joël Matip, Liverpool. Tottenham Hotspur 2, Liverpool 1.
Foul by Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur).
Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Manor Solomon.
Attempt saved. Richarlison (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pedro Porro with a cross.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg replaces Yves Bissouma.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Alejo Véliz replaces James Maddison.
Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur).
Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dejan Kulusevski.
Yves Bissouma (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Yves Bissouma (Tottenham Hotspur).
Wataru Endo (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.