The glow from Tottenham Hotspur's win over Arsenal on the weekend faded in 90 minutes at Anfield, where Spurs slumped to a 3-2 loss against Liverpool. Spurs came from behind twice in the match, but a late Mario Balotelli goal proved to be the difference as Spurs fell to sixth in the table.
Tottenham lost the match in the midfield, where Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason both struggled. Maybe it was a matter of fatigue, as Mauricio Pochettino made no changes to his team from the weekend, or maybe it was just inexperience, but the pairing were horrid and Spurs never got a hold of the match.
Liverpool went in front after 15 minutes on a long ball as Jan Vertonghen's tackle put the ball right on the Reds' foot and let them attack goal. Eventually Lazar Markovic got free and hit a low shot that Hugo Lloris would normally stop, but it scooted by him for a soft opener.
Spurs answered 11 minutes later through none other than Harry Kane. Erik Lamela's terrific pass put him in on goal and he buried his shot, bringing the match level.
While Tottenham were level, they were hardly good. Luckily, neither were Liverpool so the match went to halftime level.
The home side grabbed the lead back just after halftime with ahelping hand from Danny Rose. The Spurs left back went in on a stupid tackle and was whistled for a clear penalty. Steven Gerrard had no problem converting from the spot and the Reds were back on top.
It looked like Spurs were beginning to get some momentum later in the half and when Mousa Dembele scored in the 63rd minute, Tottenham had a chance to take all three points. They were playing a bit better and Liverpool were tiring, but then Spurs began to tire too.
Seven minutes from time, the Spurs defense broke down once more as nobody tracked Adam Lallana's run, allowing him to gather the ball on the right, then cross to Balotelli in front. The Italian tapped the ball into the open net and Liverpool had all three points.
With the loss, combined with a win by Arsenal dropped Spurs to sixth in the table. Southampton are only two points clear in third, with Arsenal level on points and Manchester United one point ahead. The Saints and Red Devils each have a match in hand.
The good news for Spurs is that they now get a nine-day break before the next match. They were visibly tiring as the cups have put a strain on them, but the time off should allow them to get refreshed.