By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) -Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool raised the spirits with a rip-roaring 2-2 draw in a pre-Christmas Premier League classic on Sunday after a weekend marred by COVID-19 related postponements.
A mistake by Liverpool keeper Alisson gifted Tottenham’s Son Heung-min a 74th-minute equaliser the hosts fully deserved although the visitors were fuming about some contentious decisions.
Harry Kane ended his two-month league scoring drought to put Tottenham in front after 13 minutes and Antonio Conte’s side should have been further ahead before Diogo Jota equalised.
Andy Robertson put Liverpool ahead in the 69th minute as Liverpool looked set to record a ninth successive win in all competitions. But Son pounced to make it 2-2 and the visitors ended with 10 men after Robertson was red-carded for a wild tackle soon afterwards.
Tottenham had not played for a fortnight after having two league games postponed after a COVID outbreak, but produced a vibrant display and wasted numerous gilt-edged chances.
In the end a draw was a fair outcome from a game that illuminated a murky and raw north London afternoon.
The draw left Liverpool three points behind Manchester City, who won earlier in the day, while Tottenham are in seventh spot with 26 points, but with games in hand over the teams immediately above them.
Both sides’ starting lineups were impacted by COVID-19 with Tottenham having some regulars fit only for the bench, while Liverpool’s Thiago joined Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones on the absent list after being forced to isolate.
The changes affected Liverpool more as their defence was continually breached by the home side’s counter-attacks.
While Kane looked more like his old self with a well-taken goal, the England skipper was extremely fortunate not to be sent off for dangerous studs-up tackle on Robertson shortly after.
On an afternoon of several contentious decisions, Liverpool manager Klopp was booked for protesting after Jota was pushed over in the area in the first-half but was not awarded a penalty.
Kane had only scored once in the league this season and that was two months ago, but produced a clinical finish after being played in by Tanguy Ndombele’s through ball.
Kane then set up Son who missed from point-blank range while Dele Alli, given a rare league start, looked certain to score but had his shot from Son’s pass superbly saved by Alisson.
Son was guilty again when presented with another chance and the misses came back to bite Spurs as Jota met Robertson’s clipped cross to head past Hugo Lloris.
The pace was just as fast in the second half with Kane denied by Alisson after being played in by Alli and then heading a close-range reflex header over the bar.
Alli then went down under a challenge from Trent Alexander-Arnold and with Spurs still claiming a penalty, Liverpool went down the other end and took the lead with Alexander-Arnold crossing for Robertson to head in.
Tottenham levelled, however, when a through pass by Harry Winks should have been claimed by Alisson, but the Brazilian spilled the ball into the path of Son who calmly rolled in his shot from a tight angle.
Robertson’s wild lunge on Emerson Royal saw him red-carded after a VAR check in the 79th minute, although the tackle looked no worse than the one he received from Kane in the first half.
(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis)