LONDON (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino hailed Harry Kane’s bravery after he shrugged off missing a penalty to net his 100th Premier League goal from a second spot-kick to salvage Tottenham Hotspur a point from a thrilling 2-2 draw at Liverpool.
Kane had seen his first penalty saved by Loris Karius five minutes from time with the score at 1-1.
Mohamed Salah then looked to have snatched all three points from Liverpool in style with a stunning solo run and finish in stoppage time to pull level with Kane on 21 Premier League goals for the season.
However, Kane edged back ahead of the Egyptian when he sent Karius the wrong way after Liverpool’s club record signing Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have clipped Erik Lamela inside the area two minutes later.
“He is one of the best strikers. He can miss a penalty or a chance, but the personality to score 100 Premier League goals is because you have big, big balls,” said Pochettino.
The England international is the second quickest ever player to reach a Premier League century with only Alan Shearer bettering his return of 100 goals in 141 games.
“It’s great to be in that 100 club now, and it’s great to get something from the game after that rollercoaster of emotions,” said Kane.
Despite the late drama, Spurs still trail third-placed Liverpool by two points down in fifth in the race for a place in the top four.
Failure to make the Champions League next season will further fuel speculation as to whether Spurs can retain even a man dubbed “one of our own” by the Tottenham faithful.
“Kane is one of the best players in the world, 100 per cent, if not the best pure striker in the world at the moment,” even Klopp admitted to the Daily Mail before kick-off.
However, for all the talent available to Pochettino, Spurs’ challenge remains undermined by their record on the road against their closest challengers.
Under Pochettino, Spurs have still won just one of 19 away trips to the rest of the Premier League’s top six at Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Argentine, though, insisted progress is being made after dominating possession at Anfield after falling behind to Salah’s third-minute opener.
“It was a fantastic performance,” said Pochettino.
“Against a team that is so difficult when they are up on the score the control and performance was amazing.
“The feeling in the dressing room from the team is that we dropped two points.”
Spurs had got off to the worst possible start when Salah latched onto a wayward backpass from Eric Dier to coolly slot past Hugo Lloris.
The visitors controlled the game after the break but needed a spectacular strike from an unlikely source to get back level when substitute Victor Wanyama smashed into the top corner with his first touch.
A frantic final 10 minutes ensued as Kane atoned for his poor first penalty and stayed a step ahead of Salah in their personal rivalry for the golden boot.