Since October last year Liverpool have had the best defensive record in the Premier League, keeping more clean sheets than any other team, but they were denied another by Erik Lamela in stoppage time.
Lamela’s goal from a tight angle was deemed a mere consolation, though, as Spurs slipped to consecutive league defeats for the first time since the final two games of the 2015-16 season, meaning they remain outside the top four.
“We were that good it was difficult for Tottenham,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “The performance today was better than the result. It was the best game of the season for us."
Determined to write the wrongs of their 4-1 defeat by Tottenham last season, Liverpool started quickly and Firmino had the ball in his net inside the first minute, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Harry Winks, making his first Premier League start since December, helped Spurs to calm the storm initially but defensive mistakes allowed Liverpool to create openings.
Soon enough, Wijnaldum headed Liverpool in front from a corner, capitalising on a poor punch from goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Spurs’ best chance to get back into the contest came when Lucas Moura drove at the Liverpool defence, drilling against the foot of the post and giving Wembley hope that the tide had turned.
“When Lucas Moura hit the post that was the key moment,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said. “Moments like this are when you can get confidence. This type of game shows we need to improve if we are going to be contenders.”
Hope of a recovery vanished minutes later when Firmino was on hand to tap the ball home almost on the goal line.
Liverpool wasted chances to find a third goal and endured a nervy finish after Lamela scored in stoppage time but they saw out the victory that keeps them ahead of the chasing pack.
(Editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar)