Liverpool ended a five-game winless run in the Premier League to move back into the top four with a 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday as Spurs also lost Harry Kane to an ankle injury.
The English champions had not even scored in their last four league games, but Jurgen Klopp said he recognised his side again as their front three sparked back into life after Roberto Firmino ended a 492-minute goalless drought in first-half stoppage time.
Kane had soldiered on after twice receiving treatment on ankle knocks in the first-half and was eventually replaced at the break with Jose Mourinho predicting the England captain will be absent for at least a few weeks.
Liverpool’s worst run in the league since 2017 had seen them slip from the top of the table to fifth before kick-off with Klopp admitting his first priority is now to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
But the German was delighted with the response from the Reds as they clicked back into gear, particularly after going in front.
A return to the Champions League is also Spurs’ target in Mourinho’s first full season in charge, but Tottenham’s chances may now depend on how long Kane is sidelined.
Kane and Son Heung-min have been the most deadly duo in the Premier League this season and thought they had combined for the opening goal inside the first five minutes.
Son finished coolly from Kane’s through ball, but the South Korean had just strayed offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out by a VAR review.
There were signs of life in Liverpool’s attacking play despite a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday and they created many more clear-cut chances than in recent weeks as Hugo Lloris twice denied Mane with excellent saves.
With Kane clearly hobbling, Tottenham were clinging on for half-time when Liverpool finally struck.