Diogo Jota’s injury-time winner gave Liverpool a dramatic victory at Anfield after Tottenham looked on course to salvage a point despite going three goals behind inside 15 minutes.
Spurs were 5-0 down after 20 minutes at Newcastle United and swiftly found themselves three goals adrift at Anfield as Liverpool delivered an opening salvo that left them chasing what looked like a lost cause.
Instead, when former Everton striker Richarlison headed his first Premier League goal of the season in stoppage time, Spurs were on the brink of rescuing an unlikely draw – until Jota capitalised on a defensive mix-up seconds later to win the game for Liverpool.
Curtis Jones opened the scoring in the third minute from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross before Luis Diaz, making his first start since suffering a knee injury in October that required surgery, turned in Mohamad Salah’s delivery at the near post two minutes later.
Salah made amends for missing penalties against Bournemouth and Arsenal by adding the third from the spot following Romero’s reckless challenge on Cody Gakpo.
With Spurs fans, who were given a refund after the 6-1 debacle on Tyneside, demanding their money back once more, they staged a fightback and showed real character, Harry Kane volleying home six minutes before the interval.
Spurs actually had chances to give Liverpool even more anxious moments but both Son Heung-min and Cristian Romero hit the post within seconds in the second half.
But Son then raced clear to beat Alisson, giving Spurs renewed hope with 13 minutes left.
Richarlison sent the visiting fans wild with a header, before Jota had the last word.
Liverpool move up to fifth to retain slim hopes of Champions League football but earlier victories for Manchester United and Newcastle United make this an increasingly long shot.
Sloppy Liverpool escape to victory
Liverpool’s late show, capped by Jota’s winner, was greeted with huge relief as well as celebration inside Anfield as a fast start went into a steep decline to allow Spurs a route back into the game.
Jurgen Klopp’s side looked to be strolling to victory after dominating the opening phase and scoring three goals, only to then deliver a sloppy, careless and complacent performance to throw Spurs several lifelines.
Liverpool’s rear guard was exposed at regular intervals and they were thankful for the woodwork twice in the second half as Spurs, who looked out of contention, gratefully accepted the encouragement they were being given.
Jota, who is back to his best goal-scoring form, was the match-winner with a drilled low finish past Fraser Forster at The Kop end to snatch back the three points Liverpool looked like they had thrown away.
Liverpool are right in the fight for a place in Europe as they overhauled Spurs, but this was a performance that demonstrated once again the two sides to their game they have shown throughout this season.