Liverpool still hold out hope that they can scrape into the top four and secure Champions League football. Following their dramatic 4-3 victory over Tottenham, in which they needed an added-time winner from Diogo Jota to extend a four-match winning run after squandering a 3-0 lead from the opening 15 minutes, manager Jurgen Klopp said he did not know what the referee, Paul Tierney, “has against us.” Klopp was booked for his over-zealous celebration in front of fourth official John Brooks but said of Tierney’s attitude: “What he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.” The Professional Game Match Officials Limited responded with a statement saying that they had reviewed the audio of Tierney and that he had acted in a professional manner. This could lead to Klopp receiving a touchline ban for Liverpool’s remaining few matches, as he was previously warned about his conduct after being banned for one match and fined £30,000 for berating an assistant referee during October’s home win over Manchester City.
The absence of Klopp from the touchline for any or all of Liverpool’s remaining matches against Fulham, Brentford, Leicester, Aston Villa and Southampton could kill their momentum and blow their outside chances of catching fourth-placed Manchester United, who are currently seven points ahead with a match in hand. Harry Kane equalled Wayne Rooney’s Premier League tally of 208 goals just before half-time, leaving only Alan Shearer (260) ahead of him in the all-time list. Richarlison’s first league strike in added time followed Son Heung-min’s 77th-minute effort, but Jota slotted in his fifth goal in four matches 99 seconds later to keep Liverpool’s slim Champions League qualification hopes alive. Harvey Elliott, back in the side after almost a month, commented on the game saying that they had taken their foot off the gas and allowed Tottenham to play more football.
Ryan Mason, two matches into another spell as interim head coach following the sacking of Cristian Stellini after the 6-1 embarrassment at Newcastle, was less interested in Tottenham‘s top-four chances now they had dropped to sixth than he was of repairing some of the recent damage. He said his priority was to get some togetherness and create some good feelings and energy around the place and bring their fans with them.