Tottenham Hotspur earned a point against Liverpool on Saturday in a scoreless draw at White Hart Lane. The match was Jurgen Klopp's debut as the new Liverpool manager, and all eyes were on the German skipper, but Spurs were up to the challenge and even on balance were the better side.
The biggest news of the day, aside from, y'know, Klopp, was that Daniel Sturridge did not make the match day squad for Liverpool, which meant that Divock Origi started as the lone striker for Liverpool. Otherwise, it was very similar to the lineup we predicted. For Spurs, Dembele came in for Eric Dier in the pivot, and Danny Rose was preferred to Ben Davies at left back.
The first half was... well, weird. Liverpool came out pressing high from the opening whistle, and successfully kept Spurs on their back heels for much of the first part of the half. Klopp's gameplan seemed to be to try and overwhelm Spurs early and nick an early goal, but despite some seriously shaky moments in defense, Spurs were able to weather the storm.
Spurs were forced into an early substitution as Nacer Chadli went down with what looked like an ankle injury, and Clinton N'Jie came in on the left side of midfield.
The match settled down late, and Spurs worked their way back into contention and even started dominating possession late as Liverpool appeared gassed and backed off on the high press.
Each side had a big chance to score: Liverpool had a shot go off the crossbar in a scrum in front of goal, and midway through the first half Harry Kane found himself clear on goal but fired his shot straight at Simon Mignolet. The first half ended scoreless.
The second half started with no changes from either side. Liverpool backed off the frenetic high press, and neither team did a whole lot in the way of creating chances. That said, Spurs looked to have the upper hand against Liverpool for the majority of the second half and looked to be the better team.
Spurs thought they had an advantage midway through the half after James Milner clattered Danny Rose in midfield. Milner was already on the yellow, but referee Craig Pawson let play go on, and Divock Origi had a shot saved by Hugo Lloris on the counterattack.
Late in the match Spurs brought on Andros Townsend for Erik Lamela in an attempt to punch a goal in, but Liverpool were able to persevere and the match ended in a scoreless draw.
- Football is dumb sometimes. This was another match where Spurs, on the whole, were better than their opponents but weren't able to come up with the win. The difference came down to Spurs' finishing, which is still in somewhat of a slump, and the goalkeeping of Simon Mignolet, who had a very nice match for Liverpool.
- Mousa Dembele was absolutely outstanding today. Admit it, we were all worried about him playing in Dier's position, but he was strong on the ball, put in some amazing tackles and was trucking dudes all match. Clear Man of the Match for me, and it wasn't even close.
- Spurs' defense was excellent overall today. Liverpool had one big chance off of a set piece, and other than that had only a few half chances that didn't really test Hugo all that much.
- The first part of the first half was awful to watch. It was almost as though Spurs didn't expect Liverpool to press so energetically right away, and they looked rattled, settling for clearances instead of trying to play out of the back. They settled down midway through the half, and then looked the better team from then out.
- Clinton N'Jie looked scary bad when he came in, but conquered what looked like a serious case of the nerves to have a pretty decent performance overall. He's young and raw, and he'll get better.
- Harry Kane looked, again, about as good as a striker who can't score for the life of him can look. Keep repeating this to yourself: the goals will come. The goals will come. The goals will come.
- A bad day for Craig Pawson and his officiating team. James Milner was a goon the entire match and could/should have been sent off numerous times over the course of the game. That no-call on his clattering of Rose might have been the difference in the match. I don't really blame officials for lack of results, but that was an egregious no-call.
- Still undefeated since week 1, and we didn't lose to Klopp. Suck it, #narrative.