Spurs gifted two goals to Sadio Mane, both on plays that began with defensive breakdowns, and Liverpool controlled the match from the opening kick. Pochettino was unequivocal in his opinion of Spurs’ performance on the day, saying that Liverpool were clearly the better side.
“I need to be honest, like always, and we were poor.
“It’s important to realize when you compete for big things, you need to start the game not in the way we started today, we were sloppy without aggression, a little bit ‘let’s go to the pitch and play football’ but that’s not our game, it’s about competing and we didn’t compete enough against Liverpool. They were better than us and deserved the three points.”
It’s important to realise that you always need to compete in the Premier League and always give your best. For different reasons that we need to analyse the team, collectively, didn’t show. It’s not about quality, because we have quality, it’s aggression to try to win the three points.”
The Reds looked nothing like the demoralized squad that had yet to win any matches since the start of 2017: they pressed Spurs almost off the park, with Mane taking full advantage of his mismatch in speed over left back Ben Davies. Mane scored two in the first half but could have easily scored two or three more over the course of the game.
Spurs regrouped and played Liverpool more or less even after the interval, but despite a couple of half-chances over the course of the match they were never able to assert their style of play on the home side.
Despite the loss, Spurs remain in second place ahead of Sunday’s match between Manchester City at Bournemouth, but could drop to third if the Citizens win. The loss more or less handed Chelsea the Premier League title on a platter, and perhaps equally importantly put Spurs in a near deadlock with City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United who are all battling for top four.
Spurs take a breather from league action next week with a Europa League home-and-home series against Gent, and a weekend FA Cup tie against Fulham at Craven Cottage.