On a night that saw many of Tottenham's heroes from the weekend's North London Derby suffer a dip in form, severe or minor, a couple players managed to equal or surpass their derby performances. Erik Lamela was one of those players, and he is my man of the match.
This selection, if it were really worth anything, could be seen as an oversight of Mousa Dembele's influence on the game. It is not. Dembele was as excellent as he was dynamic. If he keeps up this run of form, and as long as we do not run Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason into the ground, our midfield will boss most opponents. Since his reintegration, there has been a major shift in performance for him and the club. Long may it continue.
But it still goes to Lamela.
His energy levels and willingness to get on the ball despite Liverpool's pressing made a difference. He obviously had the assist on Harry Kane's goal, a brilliant piece of vision that; but perhaps the play of the match, aside from the winner of course, was Simon Mignolet's fingertip save of our Argentinean winger's rising, twenty yard strike.
Was he perfect? No. He made mistakes. Mental and physical.
Was he the match winner? No, unfortunately he was not.
He was damn good, though.
There was an article today that revealed Erik Lamela ran the furthest and tackled the most of any player on the pitch yesterday, all while creating three chances and gathering that assist. That is as amazing as it was crucial to our foothold in the match.
I have seen it argued that Ryan Mason is the embodiment of Mauricio Pochettino's pressing system. I take this to mean dogged, minute to minute effort and commitment is placed at a premium. I also take it to mean that only players with this commitment level will play, forget player pedigrees or transfer fees. Mason's emergence out of the reserves does show this. He is to be applauded and cheered. I would like to argue that Lamela embodies this, too.
Eighteen months on from being Tottenham's record signing Lamela is still not blowing the doors off of opponents week in, week out. He still holds the ball too long at times. He tries to force it. Check "yes" to all those critiques. He never stops working, though. In Lamela's willingness to put in a shift through rough patches of individual play, as technically gifted as he is, we see that it is not as much about the celebration of individuals at Tottenham as it may have been the last few years, but it is about the club having an ethos again.
Yesterday, Erik Lamela once again showed commitment to that ethos, along with a lethal final ball, and a desire to get in the goals. To reiterate, he was not perfect; but on a day when so few were, it is for those reasons that he is my man of the match.