1) For an perception into the distinction between Tottenham and Liverpool, one want look no additional than how they’re affected by accidents. Shortly earlier than Thursday’s sport it emerged that Fabinho was unavailable, depriving the champions of their third centre-half with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez nonetheless on the sidelines. Joel Matip can be accompanied by Jordan Henderson, each of whom had been near impeccable.
Within the case of the hosts, Harry Kane was substituted at half-time after condensing his biannual ankle issues into one sport. With out him, Tottenham had one shot within the second half – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s great purpose from outdoors the world – and three touches within the penalty space whereas chasing the sport.
It was all the time a idiot’s errand to depend on the Kane and Heung-min Son partnership as their solely supply of attacking sustenance. Construct round them and provides them a platform to flourish – it will be silly to not – however at the least fake to attempt to cease placing all of your eggs in that one basket, lest some inevitably fall and break. They’re a very sensational tandem however the lack of alternate options when that fails to provide is astounding. Liverpool are rattling via inside options whereas Gareth Bale, Vinicius Junior and Lucas Moura watched from the bench as an remoted South Korean didn’t get inside 20 yards of the opponent’s purpose. Cheers, Son’s crying.
Liverpool and Spurs performed virtually precisely the identical variety of passes in that sport (584 vs 586), however Liverpool efficiently accomplished 11 inside 20 yards of the opposition purpose, whereas Spurs accomplished… zero.
— Grace Robertson 🏳️⚧️ (@GraceOnFootball) January 28, 2021
2) Matip, after all, was confirmed post-match by Jurgen Klopp to have sustained an damage that “seems severe”, therefore his removing on the break after a commanding first half. It stays to be seen how Liverpool reply to this newest puzzle with out at the least typing in Steven Caulker’s quantity earlier than swiftly deleting it, however that was the only darkish lining to this long-awaited silver cloud.
They had been wonderful, preying on weaknesses and looking with ferocity and swagger just like the Liverpool of outdated. At their finest they overwhelm opponents, forcing errors in each space of the pitch and shifting with goal. At their worst, they go 5 video games with no win and 4 video games with no purpose earlier than conjuring considered one of their finest performances of the season away at a supposed shut rival. Liverpool are usually not the perfect group within the nation proper now – they go to them on Sunday – however it can require greater than 4 below-par weeks for them to relinquish the title it took 30 years to win.
3) Tottenham have been outshot in each residence Premier League sport they’ve performed towards present top-half opposition up to now this season. In complete, they’ve managed 40 photographs towards Everton, West Ham, Manchester Metropolis, Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool, permitting 92.
The method can work. Two of these matches resulted in victory. However when it doesn’t the blow of defeat is emphasised underneath Jose Mourinho greater than another supervisor. It’s dangerous sufficient shedding a sport in any circumstance however followers at the least want one thing tangible to remove as comfort: effort, want, intent. They wish to see proof of the broader image within the absence of the smaller particulars. It’s simpler to assist the group, the supervisor and the gamers when the journey is obvious, even when the vacation spot is obscured.
It should be infuriating to look at a facet so missing in authority when advised to select on groups their very own measurement. Mourinho has had greater than a 12 months in cost and we nonetheless really feel no nearer to seeing a sustainable thought of what he needs to do.
4) These opening ten minutes ought to be hung up within the Louvre. Thiago insisted on taking the kick-off to make sure he might stat pad his cross accuracy; Matip responded by launching it straight to Serge Aurier. Liverpool ought to have scored after one minute and 50 seconds when Sadio Mane nodded a Trent Alexander-Arnold missile down for Mo Salah to return the one-two, just for the Senegalese to resolve that caressing it into the far nook together with his stronger proper foot was significantly much less enjoyable than making an utter hash of it together with his left.
Tottenham’s response was to assemble a fairly sensible group purpose, Aurier combining nicely with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steven Bergwijn earlier than Tanguy Ndombele and Kane helped play Son in to fit previous Alisson. Sandstorm by Darude had barely stopped whirling across the totally empty stadium by the point it was dominated out for an armpit offside. Liverpool, having discovered their lesson, instantly gave the ball away and afforded Kane the house and time to virtually discover Son’s run as soon as extra.
Son then tried a half-volley from 70 yards out that almost trickled out for a throw-in.
To spherical all of it off, Steve McManaman uttered the precise phrase, “it’s solely on his throat,” his comical pause earlier than delivering the ultimate phrase maybe betraying his remorse at barely downplaying Mane shoving his forearm straight into Joe Rodon’s neck.
Up the Barclays.
5) Do verify the Ndombele run that preceded the disallowed Son purpose when you can. Thiago nipped away at his heels however he was pissing in a whirlwind. Tottenham will want his capability to hold the ball like that greater than ever in Kane’s absence; he may be their subsequent finest hyperlink to Son.
6) If that Kane contact to arrange Son’s try after 21 minutes was deliberate then he’s a witch. The England captain primarily managed an extended Hugo Lloris kick by letting it roll down his decrease leg and straight into the trail of Bergwijn, who helped it on to Son earlier than Alisson’s save.
The perfect bit was Henderson interesting for some form of infringement. Nonetheless not totally certain what. Except PGMOL has modified one other rule and unfathomably good first touches that go utterly missed are actually outlawed.
Ridiculous first contact from Kane after that Lloris lengthy ball there.
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) January 28, 2021
7) There have been two wonderful items of defending within the first half. Matip seemed at risk when Dier discovered Son with a luxurious raking ball from deep within the twentieth minute, however the Cameroonian galloped again chaperoned the ahead off the ball, jogging away as he tapped it to Alexander-Arnold to start out a Liverpool transfer.
A little bit later, and with the guests beginning to discover their groove, Roberto Firmino slipped Mane in with a pointy via ball however Joe Rodon did extremely nicely to thwart him with an ideal sliding deal with proper on the penalty spot. The main target is so usually on the attacking expertise on the disposal of those two sides however each situations of world-class defending had been a stunning reminder of the standard additional again.
8) James Milner has been made to look his age precisely twice on a soccer pitch: as a 16-year-old when skipping previous precise world champion Marcel Desailly to attain towards Chelsea and have fun in a laughably outsized Leeds shirt; and as a 35-year-old piling right into a 50-50 with Ndombele earlier than discovering the Frenchman had masterfully spun him about 5 seconds earlier and was lengthy scampering into the Liverpool half. The Tottenham midfielder is bloody good enjoyable.
9) To make clear, Milner was really actually good. It’s a pretty redundant sentence however nonetheless. And Georginio Wijnaldum alongside him was as sensible as ever. Liverpool can fret all they need about whether or not to signal one other centre-half this month or in the summertime however changing the Dutchman if he decides to not prolong his Anfield contract will probably be way more tough. He’s exactly the form of participant whose influence and position on this group will solely be actually appreciated from the surface when he’s gone.
10) Liverpool most likely deserved their purpose on the stability of play however the frustration was two-fold for Tottenham. The decisive cross, lofted from Henderson into Mane, was solely attainable as a result of Kane was hobbling across the pitch and couldn’t press successfully, thus permitting Liverpool’s captain to step out of central defence and choose his runners. The ahead’s centre was easy sufficient to ask Firmino to faucet in.
Henderson might need loaded the bullets however Tottenham’s gun wound was sometimes self-inflicted. Dier’s determination to attempt to shepherd the ball again to a reluctant goalkeeper as an alternative of testing the structural integrity of the stands was straight out of the Harry Maguire faculty of non-defending. As Rio Ferdinand mentioned at half-time: “Clear your strains and speak about it after.”
So many individuals complain about Dier however it was José who gave him a brand new deal. He’s a participant José likes. He’s a participant José sees as a primary alternative centre-back. Makes means too many errors. Alderweireld is older and slower however he ought to be getting within the group forward of him.
— Noz Ahmed (@NozAhmed) January 28, 2021
11) It was symptomatic of Tottenham’s full lack of resistance or competence for all three targets. The second got here barely a minute after their very own kick-off to start out the second half, Liverpool immediately swarming them and doubling their lead when Alexander-Arnold capitalised on a poor Lloris save to attain. Mane, whose effort it was the Frenchman parried to the closest crimson shirt he might see, then hammered an Alexander-Arnold cross into the roof of the online to make it 3-1 after Rodon adopted Dier’s lead by making an attempt a clearance in his head and forgetting to place it into bodily observe.
Mourinho blamed “particular person errors” for the concession of “utterly avoidable” targets lately, and certainly after this sport. He technically wasn’t mistaken to take action. However he should additionally see that his specific model of cautious, inflexible, low-risk and low-line soccer places undue stress on a defence ill-equipped to implement it, particularly towards such an brisk and effervescent group. It requires absolute unbroken focus and excellent decision-making for 90 minutes towards an elite, if out-of-form, assault. That actually isn’t a sensible expectation, and definitely not of this defence.
To proceed to look at particular person errors and bemoan mentioned particular person errors as the only motive on your undoing as an alternative of devising a system and plan that reduces the probability of them being made is baffling. Don’t blame the trousers when you preserve shitting your self.
12) It is going to have pained him most that Liverpool’s essential targets got here in first-half stoppage time and little over a minute after the second half started. The one Premier League targets Tottenham had conceded from the forty first minute to the fiftieth since Mourinho’s appointment had been penalties from Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy, and a pivotal Marcos Alonso strike in a 2-1 win for Chelsea final February.
That’s the interval when gamers are maybe most inclined to slips in focus: simply earlier than half-time and instantly after the break. Liverpool shouldn’t be having 5 unanswered photographs and three quarters of the possession away throughout 4 minutes of stoppage time and two minutes of the restart. That could be a failure on virtually each stage, from enjoying to teaching.
13) Let’s not do the handball factor. It’s boring and shit and interminable. What we must always do, very like with the flowing transfer for Tottenham’s disallowed purpose, is admire the excellence that was misplaced within the fumes of McManaman and Peter Walton’s palpable sexual pressure.
Firmino did phenomenally nicely to carry the ball up. Henderson had launched it into the ether and Dier was manfully occupying the midway line however might do nothing to wrestle the ball off the Brazilian. Thiago, Mane and Salah quickly turned ostensible defence into breathtaking assault however it actually was all about Liverpool’s centre-forward doing what he does finest.
14) Whisper it, however that might be mentioned for Liverpool’s total assault. Firmino had three photographs and three key passes. Mane had seven photographs and one key cross. Salah, the grasping, egocentric fella up high, had one shot and two key passes.
However the important distinction was in Alexander-Arnold’s efficiency. His help was a little bit fortuitous maybe however that’s the type of supply that has been missing lately, the type that creates panic in defenders who do not know the way to deal with it. It helps to play towards this Matt Doherty, besides. The match-winning right-back might need returned with sometimes excellent timing.
Aim. Win. Good night time. pic.twitter.com/m9BfiGKSg1
— Trent Alexander-Arnold (@TrentAA) January 28, 2021
15) Hojbjerg’s purpose was a delight. Credit score to Bergwijn for bothering to run with the ball at Liverpool’s defence within the build-up, as that change of method appeared to catch them utterly off-guard. It may be value revisiting that sooner or later.
He and Ndombele had been the one Tottenham gamers to emerge with their reputations unscathed. Each had some actually wonderful moments despite what was round them. That could be a midfield partnership that deserves extra nurturing.
16) Sorry however the “particular person errors” factor is value a second go to. Liverpool ended the sport with Henderson and Nat Phillips at centre-half but the newest shot Tottenham had was Hojbjerg’s Forty eighth-minute purpose. They may have misplaced due to “particular person errors” however they didn’t win due to one particular person’s mistake in setting them up so counter-intuitively. Tottenham had been solely on this match for so long as Kane was. Liverpool absorbed one more mid-game damage of their very own and improved. Two locations and 4 factors separate these two groups however they might not be additional aside of their response to adversity.