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9-Man Liverpool suffer first defeat

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk looks dejected after the match. — Reuters
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk looks dejected after the match. — Reuters

LONDON: A dramatic end to a match riddled with controversies saw Tottenham Hotspur inflict Liverpool’s first defeat of the season and the first since last April after a 17-match run. Reduced to nine players, they went down after an own goal in the dying seconds of the game.

A satisfied Spurs manager, Ange Postecoglou said: “It was an eventful finish. We controlled the game a lot better in the second half. We were a bit more calm but probably didn’t vary our attacks enough. But having said that Alisson pulled off some unbelievable saves.”

On the VAR controversies he added: “I’m on record saying I’ve never been a fan of it since it came in. Our support (fans) has been unbelievable. We’re going to need that going forward.”

The first red card incident came in the 26th minute and seemed a bit harsh on Curtis Jones who tackled Yves Bissouma. He was first shown the yellow card and then was summoned by VAR to take another look before he pulled out the red. Their manager, Jurgen Klopp commented: “The game is in real time but we judge it in slow motion. It makes no sense.”

Liverpool’s Luis Diaz had the ball in the net soon after but VAR disallowed it for offside. VAR bosses’ statement said: “PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Ltd.) acknowledges a significant human error occurred. PGMOL will conduct a full review into the error.”

Ten minutes after Jones was sent off Liverpool took the lead. James Maddison put a through ball to Richarlson who in turn delivered a precise pass back for Heung-min Son – who had a goal disallowed earlier for off side – to finish superbly after going past Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool battled on for the equaliser which deservedly came in the fourth minute of added time of the first half. Dominik Szoboszlai’s excellent pass was headed back by van Dijk and was then picked up by Cody Gakpo who seemed to lose control at first but swivelled quickly to drive his shot in. He injured himself in the process and had to go off.

Spurs pressed hard in the second half during which, in the 69th minute, Diogo Jota was sent off. He was shown the yellow card for his tackle on Destiny Udogie and within two minutes he lunged on the same player for a second yellow and got marching orders.

Alisson made several excellent saves under pressure from Spurs with only nine men in their opposition. Eventually, came the winning goal in the sixth minute of added time. With seconds remaining, Matip, in attempting to stop a powerful cross by Pedro Porro sent the ball flying into his own goal.

Klopp said: “I never saw a game like this with the most unfair circumstances, crazy decisions. The offside goal is not offside. It is so tough to deal with it. The first red card, Curtis steps on the ball and goes over. Not a bad tackle. Diego’s first yellow was not a yellow. Then he gets a second and to defend with nine is tricky.”

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