After the physical and emotional stress of Saturday’s derby demolition of Arsenal, this was always going to be a tough ask. Some belated thoughts on Spurs 3-2 loss at Anfield –
- It was a shame we had another game so soon after the derby. Rather than having a week to savour the victory we had to make the tricky trip up north just three days later. After the emotion of vanquishing our closest rivals, this felt like an anticlimax.
- Mauricio Pochettino normally rotates heavily for midweek matches but given the importance of this tie and the momentum gained at the weekend he had to name the same team. The unfortunate side effect was that Tottenham looked tired and a little off the pace from the start.
- It’s fair to say that Liverpool have a good record against Spurs, having beaten us 5-0, 4-0 and 3-0 in our last three meetings. Each one of those was with a different manager – all three tried to outwit Brendan Rodgers and all three failed miserably. This felt different, Tottenham were much more competitive.
- Some of the early play was very sloppy, especially the passing in midfield. This was partly down to tiredness but also partly because of Liverpool’s great pressing, cutting off passing lanes, stopping our attacks at their root – Nabil Bentaleb.
- Brendan Rodgers seems to have the Kryptonite for Tottenham’s defence – his players and tactics match up well with Spurs’ weaknesses. His team ruthlessly exposed our high defensive line and our habit of losing runners. At the weekend Liverpool had looked toothless against an Everton side content to sit back. It is to our credit that we took the game to our opponents, especially as the away side, but it did play into their hands.
- Harry Kane scored yet again. He is running incredibly hot at the moment – his goals to shot ratio in this season’s Premier League is 21%, higher than anyone else apart from Chelsea’s Diego Costa (28%). Surely he can’t continue at this rate?
- Erik Lamela was the one player who didn’t play well against Arsenal. He put in a lot of useful work but didn’t do a lot with the ball. In this game he was a lot better, setting up Kane’s goal with a nice pass and testing Mignolet with a fantastic hit in the second half. His threat in both attack and defence was evident in the statistics as he came equal top in the Spurs squad for key passes (3) and top for tackles (5).
- Our fullbacks were the unsung heroes of the derby victory. Here they were poor, constantly exposed by Liverpool’s pacey, mobile players and quick passing. With plenty of cover, Rose didn’t need to dive in and give away the penalty.
- With no FA Cup game we now have a welcome break to take stock but it’s going to hurt watching the fifth round from the sidelines.
What did you make of this performance? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.