LONDON – Liverpool can score without Mohamed Salah. Not so Tottenham when a lethargic Harry Kane rattles.
After a first English title after Liverpool, Liverpool swept the fifth consecutive victory at the start of the Premier League on Saturday with goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino who won a 2-1 win at Tottenham.
Tottenham pays the price for the deep progress of England during the World Cup, where the Kane-led team unexpectedly makes the last weekend and finishes fourth.
While Kane collected the Golden Boot in Russia, the six goals came in his first three games and that was followed by a three-minute run. The attacker played twice for Tottenham in August, but he has not just found it in the last two games for the club in North London and his scorebol evaded him in the loss of England from last Saturday to Spain.
Kane, who last season was the second highest scorer in the league behind Salah, seems ready for a break to rest and recover a tired body. Kane also qualified for the Wembley Stadium pitch with three World Cup teammates: Defenders Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier and midfielder Eric Dier.
Tottenham only managed to reach three shots on goal for the 10th of Liverpool, including the oblique strike by Erik Lamela in the injury time. It gave the flicker of hope that an equalizer could be seized, and Son Heung-min was then denied a punishment when he was kicked by Sadio Mane.
A point would not have been earned by Spurs after such an inferior view.
The lack of depth in Tottenham's team is clear – especially the lack of a good backup striker to Kane – after he was the only Premier League team that did not make offseason additions. Liverpool on the other hand has spent more than $ 220 million to freshen up the team and now enjoys the best start since 1990.
"I do not want to complain about the World Cup," said Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. "(It's a difficult start to the season because it's a challenge to work with a team that arrives a few days before the start of the competition."
Hugo Lloris, who won the World Cup with France, was injured and Tottenham was directed at Michel Vorm in Liverpool.
The Dutchman hit the corner that led to the Liverpool opener. It was beaten to Dier, whose weak head Wijnaldum offered the possibility to nod high in the net. Vorm tried to put it on the bar, but the line technology decided it was over in the 39th minute.
The second came in the 54th when Mane could slide past Trippier. Mane's shot was executed by Jan Vertonghen on the post, but Vorm could not get his position back and Firmino turned the ball into the goal.
"The performance was better than the result," said manager Juergen Klopp of Liverpool. "We could have scored more and we controlled the game."
Almost a year after Tottenham Liverpool humbled 4-1 at Wembley before he finished third, the teams' ups and downs are reversed.
Liverpool is the early leader alongside Chelsea, who also won five out of five.
But just like the postponed new stadium in the north of London, where this game originally had to open, Tottenham's team is still a work in progress.
"I'm not going to complain, because after three victories it was all fantastic and now after two defeats it is not a disaster," said Pochettino. "I'm not worried that I promise you, we're going to win a lot of games, I fully trust my team."
The next challenge is in the Champions League with a trip to Inter Milan on Tuesday, when Liverpool Paris hosts Saint-Germain at the beginning of the group stage.
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