Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino Fire Liverpool to Vital Win at Tottenham

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Liverpool continued their flawless start to the Premier League season on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, as they coasted to a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

The visitors were on top in the opening period, with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both squandering chances. In the end, they went ahead thanks to some horrendous goalkeeping from Michel Vorm, who flapped at a cross and allowed Georginio Wijnaldum to head home.

After the break, Liverpool doubled their advantage, as Firmino capitalised on some scintillating play from Sadio Mane and further questionable goalkeeping from Vorm. Spurs failed to threaten in response, although they did grab a late consolation through Erik Lamela in stoppage time.

While Liverpool have now won five from five, it's now back-to-back defeats for Tottenham, as they lost to Watford before the international break.

Liverpool Can go Toe-to-Toe with Manchester City for Premier League Title

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates after scoring their second goal with Liverpool's English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley St
ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Liverpool had overcome every challenge put in front of them ahead of this game, with four wins from four. This was another step up, and they turned in a performance to match.

With Tottenham pressing on, the Reds counter-attacked expertly through their attacking trio of Mane, Salah and Firmino. The home side were penned in and appeared at a loss as to how to stem the flow of all-red attacks.

Rafael Hernandez of Barcelona fansite Grup14 commented on how well the Reds attackers test their opponents' defence:

What was also impressive was Liverpool were able to see out the game with minimal fuss for the second consecutive away game. At the back, Alisson Becker was assured between the sticks, while Virgil van Dijk snuffed out any potential threat from Harry Kane.

      

Fabinho Faces Fight to Dislodge Wijnaldum from Midfield

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:
Georgina Wijnaldum of Liverpool scores the first goal for Liverpool in the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Wembley on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Chloe Knott - Danehouse
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Liverpool spent more than any Premier League side in the summer, and Fabinho's acquisition from Monaco was a big part of that recruitment drive. At the moment, with Wijnaldum playing so well, he may have to wait a little longer for his Premier League debut.

It was the Dutch international who scored the crucial opening goal for Liverpool. An away goal in a Reds shirt has been a long time coming for him:

Aside from that strike, Wijnaldum excelled as the deepest of the Reds' midfield trio, winning back possession and moving the ball forward quickly to set up counter-attacks.

The Anfield Wrap's Andy Heaton praised his dominant performance: 

With Jordan Henderson on the bench alongside Fabinho, manager Jurgen Klopp made a big call sticking with Wijnaldum in this crucial game. At the moment, his performances warrant him being one of the first names on the teamsheet.

      

Lack of Depth Will Hinder Tottenham's Top-Four Challenge

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Michel Vorm of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Spurs were without a couple of key men here in skipper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Dele Alli, and their absences were felt throughout.

Most notably, Vorm showed himself to be a far from able deputy between the sticks. The Dutchman was nervous on the ball, and when the time came for him to be decisive from a corner, he fluffed his lines massively.

Vorm punched the initial cross into the air and then failed to react as Wijnaldum aimed a header over the line.

Journalist Raj Bains was disappointed with the efforts of the goalkeeper:

After another error allowed Firmino in to grab a second goal, football writer Daniel Storey commented on the need for two strong goalkeepers:

Spurs opted against strengthening their squad this summer, and supporters may have been wondering why after seeing some stand-ins here. In additional to Alli, Victor Wanyama, who was only fit enough to make the bench, has been a huge loss, with Eric Dier toiling in midfield.

If they are to push for a top-four finish again this season, Spurs will need to keep key men fit and prevent performances like this blemishing their campaign.

       

What's next?

Both teams face testing UEFA Champions League fixtures on Tuesday. Liverpool welcome Paris Saint-Germain to Anfield and Tottenham Hotspur travel to Inter Milan.

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