Liverpool took the match to Spurs today and looked every part the title contenders they appear to be. Spurs looked really bad for about 65 minutes, as they lined up in a 4-3-3/4-4-2ish diamond. Spurs lost as Trippier got beat repeatedly, and the Liverpool press caused a lot of mistakes from the whole team. In the last 30 minutes of the match, Spurs looked much better, as they moved back to Harry Kane as the lone striker and moved Lucas out wide.
It started really poorly, with a terrifying moment in first minute with the ball going in as Mane attempted to play the ball (and doesn’t), who was ruled off side. Firmino may have scored it himself, and that would have been allowed, but fortunately the flag went up. Just a minute later, Liverpool got a chance on a ball in behind in just the same spot but it goes wide.
Spurs were then put in tough positions by bad passing. Dier, Eriksen, and Toby all had give aways. Dembele again started at the base of midfield, with mixed results. Spurs grew into the match from there but didn’t get much going forward.
Dier tried to repeat last year’s give away at Anfield but Toby, who was incredible in the first half, stops the chance. Again, Toby playing brilliantly, saved a chance from coming off on a beautiful ball from Salah to Firmino in the 23rd minute.
Finally, Spurs got moving forward a bit, with a great ball from Trippier to Eriksen in 26th in behind, but it was cleared for corner. The corner lead to free kick right to the right off th side of the D. A solid shot but by Eriksen from the free kick but it went right at the keeper.
Jan won the ball back beautifully in midfield in the 36th, and Spurs looked set to break, but decided to shoot from 50. NBC never showed what he saw, because he was clearly seeing Allison way off the line. Alas.
Then in the 39th, it went to crap. A bad header from Eriksen led to a turnover and a chance, and eventually a corner. Then, the let down came. A bad punch from Vorm on the corner, led to a Wjinaldum header that went over Trips’ head and over the line, which Vorm tried to punch away, but the goal line technology awarded the goal to Liverpool.
Totally well-deserved for Liverpool, who Infogol have leading .7xG to .1 at the half. Spurs just couldn’t create on the counter.
In the second-half things looked a bit better to start.
Spurs had the first semi-chance, with Lucas taking the ball from Gomez and looking nearly clear on goal but getting tackled on the last moment.
But not long after, a bad give away led to a Liverpool chance. That was really the story of the match in many ways.
In the 50th minute, Lucas got the ball out wide, and took on two men and created a great shot but he dragged it wide.
Then, in the 53rd, Liverpool more or less seemed to put the game away. Trippier got destroyed on the wing by Mane and dragged the ball across the net. Jan tried to clear it but couldn’t get it out, the ball deflected to Firmino, who burried it.
In the 58th, Trippier nearly got a nice cross into Kane, who came near post but Allison beat him to the ball. This was really the moment where Spurs started to look a bit like their old selves it seemed. Kane nearly gets a foot on a nice cross from Trippier near post in the 58th. A move that at least looked like Harry kane. Spurs better with Kane as the lone striker.
Erik Lamela came on for Moussa Dembele in the 60th and looked quite good. This seemed like a planned sub as Dembele probably shouldn’t go 90 anymore. Lamela looked quite lively even before his goal, getting in behind on the wings. Spurs were in the 4-2-3-1 at this point and playing well, at least going forward, with Kane where he was supposed to be.
New signing Naby Keita had a great chance in the 63rd for Liverpool, who broke Spurs’ midfield on a 3v2. The play almost looked like a training pitch drill, but Spurs defended well and Vorm was able to get the save.
In the 70th minute or so, Jan “inadvertently” scratches Firmino in the eye. Minutes later, a Liverpool handball just outside the box led to Lamela taking a free kick, which he proceeded to smash into the wall.
Heung-Min Son came on (welcome back Sonny!) for Winks and Spurs seemed to drop Eriksen into midfield. The midfield did not work at this point. Victor Wanyama came on for Eric Dier in the 82nd. Dier looked bad for a lot of the match and Wanyama looked not in match shape when he came on. The game looked dead at that point.
Then in the 84th minute, Lamela got a nice shot off from some individual effort. Then Kane had a floating header in the 85th but couldn’t get enough power on it.
In stopage time, Spurs got one back with an amazing volley and shot from Lamela off a corner. He really looked great.
Finally, at the end of the match, Spurs almost had a repeat of last year’s stunner against Liverpool with Sonny dribbling in the box and taking a knee right to the back of the leg from Mane. No penalty was called and the match ended.
The expected goals ended 3.4-.9 Liverpool so this definitely could have been worse to be honest and it’s hard to feel slighted even by that lack of a call.
- Harry Kane watch continues. I thought he looked good once he was the tip of the spear in the 4-2-3-1 again. He was in the right spots, the team was looking for him correctly. Lucas playing out wide looked like a pacy, dribbly winger and Lamela looked bright when coming on.
- We missed Dele obviously, especially for his defensive work. We also missed Hugo Lloris, who would have been much better at defending crosses coming in, but Vorm was also pretty solid as a shot stopper.
- Danny seemed ok, given who he had to deal with in Mohamed Salah. Kieran Trippier, on the other hand, was bad bad bad. Might be time to press our luck with Serge Aurier again, who at least has the athleticism to hang with top wingers.
On to Inter in the mid week...