EPL

Son wants no Spurs let-up in pursuit of Chelsea

By Sports Desk February 04, 2020

Son Heung-min has urged Tottenham to be relentless in their pursuit of Chelsea in the battle for a top-four Premier League finish.

South Korea international Son was on target as Spurs made the most of Manchester City's profligacy in a 2-0 triumph at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in three in the league having lost back-to-back top-flight matches prior to that run.

The gap to Chelsea, who are fourth, is now at just four points with the teams set for a potentially crunch clash at Stamford Bridge on February 22.

Son wants Tottenham to show no let-up in their remaining matches.

"We have over 10 games now," he said. "We have a lot of games to play but at the end of the season we will see what happens. 

"We just try to be focused. We just try to get as many points as possible.

"Manchester City are so good and played so well in the first half. We had to defend all together but in the second half we came out strong.

"To win before the winter break was very good for our confidence. The fans were so happy and the players as well after the game so it was an important one to win."

Son scored Spurs' second against City after Steven Bergwijn netted the opener on his Tottenham debut.

"Steven scored an amazing goal and did a good job. It was emotional because it was his first goal," Son added.

"I'm so happy for Steve to score on his debut. It was well deserved and with the emotion he showed it looked great."

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    Jurgen Klopp dismissed talk about the Premier League title race after Liverpool's surprise 1-0 loss to Burnley.

    Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten home league run came to an end after Ashley Barnes netted a late penalty.

    Reigning champions Liverpool have gone four league games without scoring and are winless in five, leaving them six points adrift of leaders Manchester United.

    Klopp said it would be ridiculous to discuss the title race given his side's form.

    "Look, how silly would that be if I sit here now, losing against Burnley, didn't score for the last three or four games – I don't know exactly – and now I talk about the title race? How silly would that be?" the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

    "It's just we have to win football games – it was always like this. For this we have to score goals, there is no doubt about it. That's what we have to change and have to do better. If things don't work, you have to work harder, do the right things more often, longer and more consistent, all these kinds of things.

    "But not talking like it is an easy situation, it's not. It shows a lot of things. It's incredible how consistent the boys were but that was never something that anybody should have taken for granted because now we see they are all human beings, that's how it is. And now I have to make clear about what we have to do in the right moments and then we will score goals again."

    Liverpool had 27 shots without scoring against Burnley, the most they have had in a single league match without finding the back of the net since April 2013.

    Klopp said his players were lacking some confidence amid their poor run of form.

    "We can do more with this group, we can play much better football, that is my concern. That is what I am thinking about," he said.

    "The confidence is not on the highest level, I think that is so obvious that I don't have to mention it – you can see it in specific moments. It is like 90 per cent of all what the boys did all of the time is still there, but the decisive 10 per cent in the moment is missing.

    "So, now we have to work on this decisive 10 per cent. That's how it is – we always work on them, but now we have to dig a little bit deeper to get them back."

    Liverpool face Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday before visiting Tottenham four days later.

  • Liverpool v Burnley: Anfield streak ends but goal drought continues as Pope saves all Liverpool v Burnley: Anfield streak ends but goal drought continues as Pope saves all

    After thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19, Liverpool were six points clear at the Premier League summit. 

    Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were all on target in the clinical rout at Selhurst Park, after which Jurgen Klopp said: "It was really difficult to play against us."

    The reigning champions had seemingly found top gear again. 

    Fast forward to January 21 and, following a stunning 1-0 loss to Burnley at Anfield, Liverpool were left to wonder just where it had all gone so badly wrong.  

    For a fourth successive outing in the league they had failed to score, while the shock result sees them stuck in fourth position in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United. 

    Never mind moving through the gears: the wheels have well and truly come off. 

    BARNES HARMS AILING CHAMPIONS

    Ashley Barnes' penalty condemned the Reds to a first home defeat in the league since April 23, 2017. It had been three years and 273 days since former Liverpool player Christian Benteke struck twice for Palace in a 2-1 triumph. 

    The run of 68 games unbeaten was the second longest in English top-flight history. During the streak, there were 55 wins, 176 goals scored and 36 clean sheets. A total of 43 players were used, too.

    Joel Matip, Georginio Wijnaldum, Firmino and Divock Origi were also in the starting XI that were beaten by Palace, managed by Sam Allardyce, nearly four years ago, while Trent Alexander-Arnold came on as a late substitute.


    GOAL-SHY LIVERPOOL MISS CAPTAIN

    Since Mane's early strike in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on December 27, Liverpool have registered 87 shots in the Premier League without managing to find the net. Eighty. Seven. Shots.

    It was not for a lack of trying against Burnley, admittedly. They had 27 total attempts, their most in a single league match without scoring since April 2013 versus Reading (28).  

    The absence of Jordan Henderson did not help. Even prior to kick-off, Liverpool had lost more of their 11 Premier League games without their captain (3) than they had in 45 games with him (2) since the start of last season.

    KLOPP STREAK CAUSES CONCERN

    This is not yet uncharted territory for Klopp at Liverpool; he previously went five league games without a win between January and February in 2017. 

    That barren run four years ago included fixtures against Sunderland and Hull City – clubs now in the third tier of English football – and a home defeat to current Championship side Swansea City, who were celebrating at Anfield thanks to goals from Fernando Llorente (two) and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

    However, Klopp has never previously gone four without a goal during his Reds tenure. The previous time that happened in his coaching career was while in charge of Mainz, who suffered a drought in the Bundesliga late in 2006.


    POPE SAVES ALL AS REDS PAY THE PENALTY

    Nick Pope excelled when Burnley ended Liverpool's 100 per cent home record in their title-winning campaign – and the goalkeeper was once again in outstanding form on Merseyside.

    The England international made six saves to keep a clean sheet, having produced eight in his side's 1-1 draw in July at the same ground. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, no keeper has made more saves against a single opponent in the Premier League than Pope against Liverpool (19).

    Barnes' penalty was the second spot-kick Liverpool have conceded at home this season too – they had only given up two penalty goals at Anfield under Klopp before 2020-21.

    There is plenty for the German to ponder, then. While retaining the trophy is far from out of reach, what appeared to be a temporary blip is in danger of turning into a full-blown crisis.

  • Carragher struggling to comprehend Liverpool's drop off Carragher struggling to comprehend Liverpool's drop off

    Liverpool slipped to a first league defeat at Anfield since April 2017 as they went down 1-0 to Burnley, leaving Jamie Carragher struggling to explain the Reds' dip in form.

    Ashley Barnes' late penalty settled a contest which Liverpool dominated on Thursday, ending a 68-game unbeaten run at home in the league for Jurgen Klopp's side.

    Liverpool had 71.9 per cent possession and 27 attempts – with six on target – yet could find no way through to goal for the fourth Premier League match in succession.

    The Reds have had a total of 87 shots since Sadio Mane's opener in a 1-1 draw with West Brom on December 27, and their tally of efforts on Thursday is the most they have had in a single league match without finding the net since April 2013 and most at Anfield since April 2012.

    Their last league win was a 7-0 thumping of Crystal Palace prior to Christmas, and Liverpool are now six points adrift of league leaders Manchester United, while they have also played a game more than second-placed Manchester City.

    It is a situation which has left former Anfield stalwart Carragher puzzled.

    "We were talking about a blip for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp has come out and defended his players as you would expect because these players have done so much for Liverpool," the Sky Sports pundit said.

    "I think they have got to get back to scoring goals and winning games before they start thinking about someone taking the title off them. They have just been so poor. You cannot quite believe what has happened to Liverpool in the last few weeks."

    However, Carragher also fears that Liverpool could become embroiled in a battle for Champions League qualification, never mind their chances of retaining their crown.

    "At this moment it looks like the title is slipping away," Carragher added. 

    "Six points can still be recovered but the form Liverpool are in and the fixtures they have in the coming months, I think Liverpool fans will be worrying a little more about their top-four position than the title.

    "You go from that 7-0 win at Palace to so many players out of form at the same time. It is his job to fix it – whether that is formations, personnel, however they go about it – but there are so many teams challenging for that top four it will be a worry for Liverpool until they get out of this little run that they are on."

    Liverpool sit fourth on 34 points, having played a game more than fifth-placed Tottenham and two more than sixth-placed Everton, while West Ham are also only two points behind.

    Chelsea and Southampton are also within touching distance, while Arsenal have propelled themselves up the table and Aston Villa have three games in hand.

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