Spurs started slowly, almost giving up a goal in the opening minutes. After an opening spell, they seemed to find their legs and recovered the ball. Both teams had a couple of chances before Liverpool finally capitalized on sloppy Spurs play, trying to exit their third. Toby attempted a long ball into a defender, Eriksen followed by heading the ball BACK INTO his defensive box, forcing emergency defending from Toby. Liverpool headed themselves into a 1-0 lead after another missed clearance. Vorm reached into his net and slapped it out… but too late.
The second half started decently for Spurs as Moura took on the entire Red defense, beating multiple, but hitting the outside of the post. The Anfielders then doubled their lead after Mane lit Trippier up like a Christmas tree, breaking down the left and rounding into the six. Firmino finished after a Jan clearance went off of the post and through Vorm’s hands. Unfortunate, sloppy, but also well-done from Liverpool. After that, Spurs had to push forward, but never seriously threatened. Liverpool had a few counters, as well, but never looked lethal. Liverpool seemed content to let Spurs make the mistakes and see the game out. Lamela did draw one back in stoppage time.
- Lineup. Poch started with a 4-4-2 diamond midfield. Dier sat below Dembele and Winks. I thought this was a mistake. Obviously, someone had to play for Dele, but playing Winks and Dembele together was blah. They probably needed someone like Lamela who tracks back and ventures forward just as well. Also, he looked menacing after coming on for Dembele, scoring late. Giving Winks his first start in forever against Liverpool is not something I was excited about.
- Gaffes. Liverpool looked solid. Spurs looked sloppy. Dier had his signature backward throughball to Salah, again, but Vorm bailed Eric out. Dembele just dropped the ball, leading to a chance. Toby had an attempted pass hit the player directly in front of him and Eriksen compounded that by heading the ball back into his defensive end after it had finally been cleared. That led to a goal. Liverpool had sloppy moments as well, but this was a game-filling trend for Spurs.
- Moura. Best attacking player for Tottenham all season and today was no exception. He’s just so quick and played with so much energy (part of why I can’t shake the fact that everyone else looks slow). He almost rescued a goal after beating all of the Red defense. He stole the ball away and was just about in alone. Lucas is the perfect compliment to Kane. When Harry drops deep, Lucas has the speed to stretch the defense. He also has shown he can finish. It’s hard to see him not starting, regardless of who else is available.
- Vorm. Meh. Everyone is going to blame him for a few things and rightly so. He also made a number of great saves after his teammates hung him out to dry. This is Michel Vorm. He is not Hugo Lloris. He’s generally competent, with a tinge of sloppiness. He’s also a backup keeper who is not 25 anymore. He gaffed the punch before the first goal and he couldn’t corral the loose ball before the second. Ideally, those are dealt with, but the defense and midfield put him in a number of awkward spots that he calmly shepherded clear, as well. While he definitely contributed to the less than stellar performance, he kept it from being 4-1.
- CBs. Aside from Toby’s one mistake, I thought he and Jan were great. I still say its hard to find a better EPL defensive duo. Firmino and Salah never seemed to overwhelm. Those are two of the top scorers in the league and neither were very super scary. This will probably be overlooked, but it should not be. Pairing these two every week, again, is huge for Spurs. The more I see Toby play, the more they just need to pay the man. Jan was Jan, the perfect compliment.
- FBs. Well, uh. Hmmm. Not so much with these two. I do love me some Tripps, but he’s never checking Mane. Ever. Tripps is best as a wingback in a back 3/5. In a back 4, he’ll get exposed and he did, today. It will happen again. He’s just not fast enough or technically sound enough. He does go forward and cross well, but he’s rarely going to look great when he’s that deep. Rose was acceptable from what I saw. I don’t have much more to comment on that. I didn’t see anything glaring defensively, and he did provide a bit going forward. He’s not the 15-16 Rose, though.
- Spurs. I’m not sure. They’re fine. Good? Yes. Great? Um… We’ll see. Can they win the league? Doubt it. Can they finish Top 4? I think so. I hate #narratives, but, man, its so hard for me not to look at the long World Cup run for basically everyone and just not think the whole organization is gassed. What do you do with that? Hopefully, they… get rested? I don’t know. There’s plenty there, but is there 90 minutes week after week? We will see. Dembele is a 60 minute guy. Kane has yet to look dominant. Eriksen is also not quite right. Lucas and the CBs look elite. My hottaek is now done.
- Liverpool. Marc can/will correct me if need be, but I wanted to share my thoughts after watching them. They look acceptable. Not in a bad way, though. I don’t think they’ve hit their heights of last season, but they’ve won multiple games regardless. Not City-dominant, yet, but played to take the points from their opponents. And that’s big -something Spurs have not done in the last 2 games. You’re never going to have 30+ elite games, so when you win games because you make fewer mistakes and capitalize on what you’re given, you’re a very good team. I think they can win the league. They’ve shored up their defense. They don’t concede and not because of fortune, either. The attacking prowess and goals will come. There’s too much evidence in favor of it. Regardless, watching them win multiple ways is revealing maturing growth that should be the envy of the league.