SWANSEA, Wales — Fernando Llorente marked his first Premier League start for Tottenham with a goal against former club Swansea in a 2-0 win on Tuesday.
The Spanish striker started ahead of Harry Kane, who had been ill in recent days, and pounced in the 12th minute by heading home Christian Eriksen's free kick.
Spurs rode their luck at times against the league's last-place side — Mike van der Hoorn's header was deflected against the post in the second half — before Dele Alli scored the second goal in the 89th minute.
It was a third straight win over the festive period for Tottenham, which climbed to within four points of fourth-place Liverpool with a game still in hand. That is against West Ham on Thursday.
Llorente's 15 goals last season were arguably the main reason why Swansea was able to stay in England's top division. His summer departure — added to that of Gylfi Sigurdsson — has hurt the Welsh club and it felt almost inevitable that he would cause them more pain on his return to Liberty Stadium.
Replays showed he was in an offside position when Eriksen sent over the cross that Llorente glanced home at the near post.
Tottenham was fortunate not to have Davinson Sanchez sent off early in the second half, when he fouled Martin Olsson when already on a booking. He escaped with a rebuke from the referee and was immediately substituted by manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The game was played in torrential rain, with some puddles forming on the field in the first half.