Antonio Conte may have found his two stars to lead Spurs to top four after Liverpool draw

Spurs v Liverpool: Match in Pictures

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Antonio Conte should have plenty of optimism for 2022 after seeing his Tottenham side produce a gutsy display in an enthralling 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Tottenham could, arguably, have been out of sight before Diogo Jota cancelled out Harry Kane’s opening goal against the run of play in a frenetic opening period.

Andy Robertson’s point-blank header had nudged Liverpool into a late lead before a clanger from Alisson gifted Son Heung-Min an equaliser. Robertson was later dismissed for a wild tackle after an intervention by VAR.

Spurs may have come up short in their pursuit of a winner against their depleted opponents, but Conte and Tottenham had reason to be cheerful after their display in the final game before Christmas.

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The old saying ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ has been proven right and time and time again in football – and it turned out to be the case again on Sunday for Kane.

But even he will admit that he’s pushed that notion to the limit this season.

After his flurry of goals and assists last season, it almost defies belief to think that the England captain headed into the clash with Liverpool with just one Premier League goal to his game. The striker has endured goal droughts before, but his barren spell in the league for Spurs this year felt different.

But Kane finally showed signs of life – just when he and Tottenham needed it most.

It was a similar story for Kane’s old partner in crime, Dele Alli.

Reports earlier this week revealed that Tottenham are willing to facilitate an exit for Alli in the New Year after a serious slump in form over the past couple of years.

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It feels like almost an eternity ago that the tandem of Kane and Alli took Spurs to the cusp of a first Premier League title back in 2017.

But just like Kane, Alli may have given himself the faintest of chances to resuscitate his flatlining career against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

In what should have been Alli’s curtain call in the final game before Christmas, the ex-England ace rolled back the clock to produce an eye-catching, all-action display. The 25-year-old bullied the Reds midfield and was a key part of a superb display from Tottenham.

Alli almost got on the scoresheet himself, only for Alisson to thwart him with a genuinely world-class save.

He, alongside Kane, then came close to replicating their magic of old early in the second half – but somehow the pair combined to somehow scupper a golden chance.

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Despite that miss, Tottenham, led by Kane and Alli, showed enough promise in the game to hint that Conte can still mastermind a top-four challenge in the New Year.

Given the Italian’s coaching pedigree, that’s not exactly a huge surprise. But the fact that it could be Alli and Kane leading the charge definitely is.

After all, a revival for Tottenham’s nostalgic old duo definitely didn’t seem to be in the script for 2022 prior to Sunday.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and both, Alli in particular, have more to do for that to become a reality.

But the very fact that it could come to fruition should leave Spurs fans and Conte enthused ahead of the second half of the season.

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