It was all going pretty much according to plan for Jose Mourinho and his familiar rope-a-dope tactics.
In fact, as the clock ticked toward stoppage time in the top-of-the-table match at Anfield, Tottenham perhaps deserved more than to be drawing 1-1 with the Liverpool, the defending Premier League champion.
One simple corner changed everything.
Roberto Firmino met a cross from the left with a header into the top corner, and Liverpool was on its way to a 2-1 win that left Mourinho miffed.
“We were so close ... so close of winning, not so close of a draw," Mourinho said of what he described as “a very unfair result.”
Liverpool didn't look, he added, "like a team that’s champion, European champion and world champion.”
As Mourinho knows so well, it's only the result that matters in games like this, and the win lifted Liverpool above Tottenham and three points clear in first place after 13 games.
Liverpool took the lead in the 26th minute through Mohamed Salah's deflected shot that looped up and in off the post, before Son Heung-min replied seven minutes later after breaking the offside trap and running through unchallenged to score.
Firmino's 90th-minute goal meant Tottenham narrowly failed to come out of an extremely difficult run of games — Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace then the ultimate test, Liverpool away — unscathed.
Still, it was a performance from Tottenham that suggested Mourinho's second-place team should be regarded as a genuine Premier League title contender.
Mourinho will particularly rue Steven Bergwijn hitting the post and Harry Kane heading over from point-blank range at a corner when the score was 1-1.
“They're a counterattacking monster,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who beat his chest and applauded the 2,000 fans inside Anfield — the only crowd to attend a Premier League match this midweek.