'Kane and Son goals – and Dele Alli's not in Newcastle yet'
- Credit: PA/Adam Davy
After a fallow period at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a visit by high-flyers Liverpool brought chance after chance for the home side.
Few would have predicted that a 2-2 draw with Jurgen Klopp's side would be slightly disappointing for the home side but with Son and Kane finding spaces in behind, it could have been a clear win.
The game was full of incident – penalty shouts for both teams, dangerous challenges for which only one player walked, goals, missed chances, a goalkeeping howler.
"To get one point could be good in one hand, on the other hand if you create these chance you have to kill [off] your opponent to get the points," was Antonio Conte's verdict.
The opening goal in the first quarter of an hour came with a tidy finish from Harry Kane after being slid in by Tanguy Ndombele, making a rare start.
The England striker could have been sent off while it was still 1-0 when he went in studs high against Andy Robertson, who would himself walk in the second half.
Further chances came, in particular with Dele Alli clean through to draw a fingertip save, but you can't be wasteful against Liverpool as they will find a way through.
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In this case Robertson lifted it into the box and Diogo Jota demonstrated how deadly he is this season.
There was controversy as Liverpool's took the lead in the second half, with a penalty shout after Dele took a tumble before a Liverpool counterattack, and then a possible Salah handball before Andy Robertson headed in from Alexander-Arnold's slashed cross.
When the Spurs equaliser came, it can only be put down to an Alisson howler as he let the ball dribble past him. Son, whose afternoon until then had been characterised by missed chances, wasn't going to waste this one.
Robertson's sending off after swinging a boot at Emerson Royal was probably deserved. But Liverpool can rightly feel aggrieved that Harry Kane wasn't sent off in the first half.
With the man advantage, Spurs used the width of the pitch well, although Liverpool remained dangerous on the break.
Manager Antonio Conte joined the club with the season already under way, and the two-week hiatus, brought about by a Covid outbreak, game him a chance to work with his players (most of them, at least). And it showed.
There was a change of personnel, with everyone showing a far clearer understanding of their roles.
Liverpool will always be dangerous, but the banks of players at the back held well, on the whole, drawing in the opposition and giving Kane, Son and Alli space to exploit behind.
2. The enigma of Dele Alli
When Dele was substituted in the second half there was a genuinely warm applause after a solid, if inconclusive, performance.
It's hard to tell whether a Newcastle move in January is a real possibility, or whether it is just speculation. But if he were to go, it would leave many fans disappointed.
Dele has real personality in the way he plays and there are few things more exciting in football than players genuinely expressing themselves. Take a look at Mo Salah.
Dele's return could have been cemented with a goal on the half hour mark, but his finish allowed Alisson to get fingers to the ball. When another prime opportunity came, he instead squared to Kane, getting the pass all wrong.
His future remains in the balance but the Spurs faithful would love to see him find another purple patch.
3. Harry Kane is up for it
A goal in the bag, a yellow card that could have been red, blocked shots – this was an all-action Harry Kane – hungry, and not in the Christmas dinner sense.
His finish wasn't the most elegant but it found the corner, and three other chances were blocked.
The challenge in the first half was dangerous, with studs up, off the ground, buying him a booking. It cannot be condoned but it was an indicator of the intensity with which he was playing.
4. Even Son has an off day
There was a palpable sense of relief when Alisson gifted Sonny his goal. Having wasted one-on-ones and failed to bring down presentable through-balls, it was looking like one of those days.
But nobody can doubt the South Korean's attitude, and his work rate never drops.
5. Ryan Sessegnon
The young wing-back, who has struggled to find his feet since his move from Fulham had a steady, if occasionally nervy, game on the left. Facing up against Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah will never be easy but he held his own. The latter got neither a goal nor an assist for the first time in 16 games.
However, when Sergio Reguilón came on, returning from injury, things lifted and it is hard to see him being displaced from the starting XI.