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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

'Monster' Kane leaves Liverpool in shambles and puts Tottenham back in title talk

Klopp's men will have much introspecting to do, while Spurs move to third in Premier League table

Harry Kane, centre, is once again among the goals as Tottenham thrash Liverpool. Frank Augstein / AP Photo
Harry Kane, centre, is once again among the goals as Tottenham thrash Liverpool. Frank Augstein / AP Photo

Days after their Bernabeu bloom, Tottenham Hotspur blasted past Liverpool for a Wembley win to confirm a club on the rise.

Spurs were rampant, Liverpool ramshackle. Without a victory against their most obdurate Premier League rivals in 10 matches, the hosts triumphed at a canter. They took the spoils 4-1. They moved level on points with Manchester United in second.

Liverpool’s dire defending continued. Where Jose Mourinho’s United parked the bus last week, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham went full throttle. Harry Kane struck twice, with goals from Son Heung-min and Dele Alli sandwiched between.

Mohamed Salah’s strike seemed a mere footnote.

“Unbelievable,” Kane said afterwards, as Tottenham backed up Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League with a display of poise and panache.

They have United, Madrid, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund to come in the next month. Having lacerated Liverpool, they will approach those with real relish.

“It’s very good,” Kane said. “We’re in very good form. We’ve got a very tough month, we’ve started it very well, but we’ve tough games coming up.

"We’re positive, we’re feeling good and especially this will give us more confidence going forward. But plenty of games to go, plenty of time to go.”

Tottenham needed not long to rock Liverpool, although Jurgen Klopp’s team played a huge part in their own downfall. All four of Spurs’ goals came from Liverpool errors.

Dejan Lovren contributed to the first two. On four minutes, the Croatian centre-back allowed Kane to spring the offside trap, leaving the England striker to withstand Simon Mignolet’s tug and side-foot into an empty net. It was Kane’s 44th goal of 2017 for club and country, but his first at Wembley in the Premier League.

Eight minutes later, Kane had turned creator. Again, Lovren misjudged, getting caught beneath a throw from Hugo Lloris to let his man race away to square for Son. Meeting the cross first time, the South Korean finished adroitly.

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Liverpool looked shell-shocked. Son crashed the crossbar with a half volley. Then, somehow, the visitors had a way back into the game. This time, Kane was caught dwelling on the ball - perhaps he was fouled - Jordan Henderson found Salah and the Egyptian scuffed his shot in off Lloris’ right-hand post.

But once more, Liverpool contrived to concede. Even with Lovren substituted just after the half hour, their back-line gifted Tottenham a goal. In first-half injury time, Joel Matip failed to clear Christian Eriksen’s free kick and Alli volleyed home.

Eleven minutes after the break, Tottenham made safe the points. Kane got his second, pouncing on Firmino’s gallant goal-line block from Jan Vertonghen. It should never have gotten that far, but Mignolet flapped at Eriksen’s set-piece.

It was Kane’s 13th goal in his past nine games across all competitions. In the 2017/18 Premier League alone, he sits top-scorer with eight. Winner of the past two Golden Boots, Son labelled his strike partner a “monster”.

From there, Tottenham managed the match. When called upon, Lloris saved brilliantly from Philippe Coutinho. He repelled James Milner and Salah, both with his feet. However, it was hardly backs-to-the-wall stuff.

Tottenham outplayed and outfought Liverpool. Klopp questioned his side’s desire. With 16 goals conceded thus far, Liverpool have not been breached after nine top-flight games as many times since the 1964/65 season.

As Kane intimated, there remains plenty of time, although the immediate aftermath will be filled with introspection on Merseyside. In London, and front of Diego Maradona and a record Premier League crowd, Tottenham concluded a fine week on a fabulous note.