Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham: Forget TV Deals & Revel In The Joy Of A Next-Gen Classic


After news of the Premier League's £5.1 billion TV deal came a timely reminder as to why this filthy rich league makes for such irresistible entertainment.

Liverpool and Spurs might have entered this one with trepidation. Finishing inside the top four is the requirement for both managers and we couldn't have blamed either for setting up cautiously and hoping to sneak it.

Instead, and to the pure pleasure of those watching, they went at it in a fashion the respective traditions of these great clubs have long demanded - with passion and propelled with every possession to force a way forward.

The result was a throwback of a classic, though its lead roles were cast to a new generation of Premier League superstar.

Tottenham's Harry Kane once again delivered, with a clinical finish and an assist at Anfield to add to his match-winning heroics in the north London derby.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo

The "Kane tipped for England call-up" headlines were already looking more than a little daft, such is the weight of argument behind the 21-year-old being included in Roy Hodgson's next group. The next pundit or former player to get on that train belongs in the era of steam.

As for Kane the able (steal away bad pun lovers), what a sweet thing confidence must be for a young striker in the grips of a goal glut. Kane exhibited his composure with a low drive past Simon Mignolet to level things at 1-1, and his neat support play with an instinctive ball across for Dembele to make it 2-2.

Kane now has 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League games. He's matching Lionel Messi goal-for-goal in 2015 so far and the pair are joint top of the scoring charts for Europe's top leagues this year. Little wonder he fancied a dig from the halfway line when he spotted Mignolet off his line.

Also pointing to the future for Spurs at Anfield were Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, both 22 and in that breed of fleet-footed playmaker to whom the Premier League relies evermore on for inspiration. Gone is the age of the touchline-hugging winger - these days the flair cuts inside or plays in support of a striker.

That brings us neatly to Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, who for all the talk of his "incredible" contract offer and the desperate need for a new deal was barely missed on Tuesday night. Jordon Ibe and Lazar Markovic started and excelled in unison down Liverpool's right together.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo

Liverpool-Tottenham: 8 Premier League Classics at Anfield (before this one!)

The 19-year-old Ibe was zipping past defenders with such ease you could have squinted and thought it was Sterling out there. It was his second straight start and Brendan Rodgers will have little concern about giving him a third, although disappointingly he's cup-tied for the FA Cup clash at Crystal Palace on Saturday after appearing in the competition during his loan spell at Derby.

Markovic is a different kind of runner, but brought his dynamic bursts to the fore and delivered a performance that will further his argument as a genuine candidate to be a part of Liverpool's future.

In comparison, Philippe Coutinho had a relatively quiet evening, but there has been plenty of evidence recently that the Brazilian is an important as anybody to Liverpool's progression - perhaps even Sterling.

That's not to say Sterling isn't worth fighting for - more that Liverpool fans would do well to focus on a group of players committed to the club's long-term evolution, rather than a singular talent who seems destined to leave the club long before Rodgers' vision comes to fruition.

Daniel Sturridge, thankfully for Liverpool fans, isn't going anywhere.

Sturridge's return to the starting lineup might not have delivered his blockbuster best, but there was more than a hint of what Liverpool have been missing without him. With Sturridge in his team, Rodgers has an outlet up front and a player who counterattacks with a speed and directness to rival any other in the England's top flight.

With Ibe, Coutinho, Markovic and Sturridge in their team, Liverpool came at Spurs with pace and technique at every invitation. There are those who bemoan the death of the two-footed tackle, but when the result is expressive running with the ball it's hard to argue we're worse off.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo

Spurs played along with the theme, with Eriksen chopping in from the flank and Lamela dropping a shoulder to add to the entertainment.

It was left to Mario Balotelli to summon the closing act - a born entertainer to bring the house down on a thrilling exhibition of football he'd barely contributed to. 

Mario got the headlines, but the bigger story at Anfield was one of a Premier League in rude health and with talent to burn for decades to come.

If only there was more money to attract the rest of the world's superstars to join them.

Read more from Will Tidey