Mohamed Salah ensured Liverpool survived a major scare with the winner in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur that saw the Premier League leaders restore their six-point advantage over Manchester City.
The Egyptian smashed home a 75th-minute penalty, the 50th Anfield goal of his Liverpool career, as the Reds came back from going a goal down just seconds after kick-off to maintain their unbeaten league record with their ninth win in 10 matches.
Salah’s decisive spot-kick was awarded after Serge Aurier allowed Sadio Mane to gain a goalside position on him before tripping him in the process of making a tackle.
It was a decision that angered the visitors but one that allowed Liverpool to complete a second-half comeback that was started when Jordan Henderson cancelled out a dramatic early opening goal from Harry Kane.
After recent question marks over Liverpool’s ability to maintain their majestic early-season form, this was an impressive win that came after Kane had put Spurs ahead just 47 seconds into the contest.
The 26-year-old’s header made him the joint-third highest scorer in Tottenham’s history with 174 goals.
It was also one of the simplest after Moussa Sissoko sparked a scrambling counter-attack and set Son Heung-min racing upfield.
– Kane shocks Anfield –
The South Korean’s powerful strike from the edge of the area took a wild deflection off the head of Dejan Lovren before hitting the left-hand post but the rebound fell kindly for Kane to stoop and head into the gaping net.
It was a lead that lasted until the 52nd minute, when a Henderson cross was headed clear and turned back into the area by Fabinho.
Danny Rose appeared to nudge Roberto Firmino in the back but, with referee Anthony Taylor unmoved, the ball continued to the corner of the six-yard area where Henderson hit it on the half-volley into the Spurs goal.
Minutes earlier, Spurs might have doubled their lead when Son was sent clear on the end of a long clearance by keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, rounded Alisson Becker but could only strike the cross-bar from a tricky angle.
But the equaliser was no more than Liverpool deserved after a dominant first-half spell in which only an inspired performance from stand-in goalkeeper Gazzaniga maintained the visitors’ lead.
In one breathless, four-minute spell, Liverpool carved out five excellent chances with Gazzaniga peerless in dealing with them.
The best of the Argentine’s masterclass saw him first save from Salah and then keep out a fierce follow-up blast from Firmino.
The keeper also did well to tip over a Virgil van Dijk header and parry Trent Alexander-Arnold’s powerful shot in a first half that ended in fractious fashion before Liverpool opened the second in a similarly dominant mood.
Before the equaliser Gazzaniga saved well once more, from Firmino’s close-range header, and afterward, the keeper somehow blocked a shot from the Brazilian by sitting on the ball on his goalline.
Having taken the lead, Liverpool weathered the concluding minutes in relative comfort although Alisson was forced to save well from Son and from an injury-time header from Toby Alderweireld.