Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp finally got the trademark fist-pump out again after they survived a belated Tottenham siege to enjoy the luxury of back-to-back victories.
Klopp’s team were living on their nerves in the closing stages of Sunday’s 2-1 win, the first on their travels in the league this season, but the post-match celebrations with manager and players in front of Liverpool’s fans was a demonstration of the importance of these three points.
Victory over Napoli in the Champions League was satisfying as it was against one of Europe’s in-form teams and helped staunch the wounds of successive league defeats at struggling Nottingham Forest then to Leeds United at Anfield.
Some of the real Liverpool stood up against Napoli, although it was within the context of what was effectively a dead rubber with the group placings already decided barring a remarkable turnaround.
Liverpool’s victory at Spurs carried greater weight as it was against opponents who proved a problem last season, their late draw at Anfield crucial in the final reckoning as Manchester City won the title by one point on the concluding day of the season.
And with Arsenal and Manchester City threatening to open up a gap at the top of the table, this may prove a vital win as the battle for top four places develops after the World Cup break.
The key for Klopp and Liverpool now is consistency. The real Liverpool must not just stand up occasionally. They must appear on a regular basis and this has been beyond them this season.
Liverpool looked to have kicked into gear with victory over champions Manchester City and West Ham United at Anfield only to follow it up with two desperately poor league results.
But where there is Mohamed Salah, there is always hope.
He is right back to his best after a slow start to the season, seemingly in a more restricted right-flank role, but he has been deadly in recent weeks.
Salah’s two first-half goals showed his world class and put him seventh in the all-time list of Liverpool’s league scorers with 124 goals.
Liverpool had been exploiting wide open spaces on the Spurs right flank from the kick-off and this was the route to Salah’s first goal, but the manner in which he controlled Darwin Nunez’s pass in an instant before flashing a left-footed finish past Hugo Lloris was magical.
Salah’s second was a gift from Eric Dier’s misplaced header back to Lloris but he showed composure then perfect technique to loft a finish over the Frenchman, the ball almost moving in slow motion as it floated towards the back of the net.
Nunez was also a serious threat in the first half and put in such a tireless shift that he fully deserved his standing ovation when he was substituted late on.
Liverpool were penned back after the break but with goalkeeper Alisson outstanding and Ibrahima Konate a rock, they showed a resilience that has been mysteriously missing at times this season to secure the three points that released the elation at the final whistle.
They now have the chance to go into the World Cup break on a high with a home game against struggling Southampton.
Spurs yet again made a slow start. This was the sixth successive game in which they have gone behind, the 13th in 20 matches in all competitions.
It is unsustainable and, coupled with unforced errors like that produced by Dier, there will be occasions when the hole is too deep for them to dig themselves out of and this was one of them.
Spurs actually responded well to going behind but Dier’s mistake was fatal for their hopes. Defensively they look vulnerable while Lloris, for all his glowing reputation, still remains prone to mistakes.
Antonio Conte’s side turned up the tempo after the break and could easily have secured a draw, with Ivan Perisic hitting the woodwork in each half, and Spurs certainly had a passable penalty claim ignored when Ryan Sessegnon appeared to be pushed to the ground in the area by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the first period.
Spurs simply gave themselves too much to do, especially as they were missing the injured Son Heung-min and Richarlison, while the talented Dejan Kulusevski only returned as a substitute here, immediately showing his quality and what they have been missing by setting up a goal for Harry Kane.
This was Liverpool’s day. It was the sort of result that was commonplace when they were right at their best. They were not at their best at Spurs but still had enough threat in the shape of Salah to get themselves a lead then showed enough resilience to keep Conte’s side at bay.
It must now be Liverpool’s template for the rest of the season.