We’ve all had a day to absorb and process what happened between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Anfield yesterday. It still smarts. A draw would’ve been a fair result, and to lose in such an unlucky and unfair manner is a real punch to the gut.
But, with the benefit of hindsight, this was a really, really good match for Tottenham. Think of it this way: Spurs outplayed for most of that match what is quite possibly the second best team in the world, at their stadium where they haven’t lost a match all season. The loss stings, but that was a really excellent performance from Spurs. If they continue to play this way, we should feel very optimistic about their chances to qualify for Champions League next season. There’s no reason to hang our heads in shame.
There was another game on this weekend at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — the second test event between Tottenham Legends and Inter Forever. I watched it on Facebook and it was both fan service-y and fun and also extremely stupid — exactly what I was hoping it would be.
There were also nine goals! That makes for a pretty good theme. Here are the player ratings to the theme of goals from last weekend’s Legends match.
5 stars: Robbie Keane, 16’
I mean, it’s the obvious choice. OK, so he looked about 10 yards offside, but who cares? That was a gorgeous half-volley flick from Keano, and we got to see his trademark goal-scoring celebration. That strike made me FEEL things.
Dele Alli: No, he didn’t score. No assists, either. But this was an amazing performance from Dele regardless of the statistics. His movement, work rate, and willingness to drop deeper to create were outstanding. Dele is the reason I’m not in a panic about potentially losing Eriksen.
Toby Alderweireld: All of Spurs’ defenders played well against a formidable Liverpool attack, but Toby was absolutely imperious, snuffing out dangerous runs by Mane, Firmino, and Salah and making a couple of last-ditch tackles. His own goal was not his fault, and that unfortunate incident shouldn’t color what was a very impressive outing.
4.5 stars: Allan Nielsen, 31’
Keano’s overhead kick that was... uhhhhhhh... probably not intended to be a cross gets the bulk of the attention, but Nielsen’s awareness to meet the ball at the back post makes this a pretty special goal. Before Eriksen, he was the Danish dynamo.
Christian Eriksen: Christian worked his butt off in a Spurs side that had no midfield, was one of the only good passers in the team, and managed an assist. And he STILL got crap on Twitter. Christian was great.
4 stars: Teemu Tainio, 7’
Latched on to a deep ball from (I think) Darren Anderton and poked it home on the volley. If Maximus Tainio has half the skill of his old man, he’s gonna make it at this club.
Jan Vertonghen: Jan was clearly instructed to be more aggressive in coming out from the back to defend against Salah, and it was effective, if terrifying. But he put in a pretty stout defensive performance and managed to keep Salah off the scoresheet.
Danny Rose: Danny Rose is our best left back right now, and I don’t think it’s especially close. Mishit one pass that might have sprung Kane for a goal, but otherwise solid on both sides of the ball. He loves the big games and it shows.
3.5 stars: David Suazo #1, 11’ (video 0.48”)
David Suazo could’ve been a very, very good footballer if his career hadn’t been cut short by long-term injury. His first goal for Inter was a lovely finish from a good piece of team play from Inter Forever. Sure, the average age of the defenders was something like 42, but whatever — nice goal.
Lucas Moura: A very industrious (and good) performance from Lucas in this match, especially in the first half as he was one of the few players to stretch Liverpool’s defense with his ball progression. He’d be rated higher if he weren’t so profligate in and around the box, though his goal was well taken — he had more chances that he wasted.
Kieran Trippier: We don’t think about Trippier’s defense much (except to complain that it’s absent) but Kieran spent most of the match sitting deep and trying to contain Andy Robertson. And it was pretty effective! Trips also got the hockey assist for Lucas’ goal.
Harry Kane: A quieter afternoon than we would’ve hoped for from Kane — he had I think only one shot, though he also wasn’t getting a lot of service and was being targeted by Virgil van Dijk. Extra half star for that LOVELY cross-field pass on the fast restart that set up the goal. He really is a complete striker.
3 stars: Dimitar Berbatov, 67’
I was hoping Berba would score during this match, and he did not disappoint, putting in a good headed goal on target (if rather pedestrian by his standards). Also, what a ball from Stephen Carr! I wanted to include that play where Berba took the ball down one touch out of the air like he used to, but couldn’t find it. I just wish we had more time to see Berba play with Keane in that game.
Moussa Sissoko: Was his usual-of-late industrious self and, like Lucas, was keen to push the ball forward through midfield before trying to find Dele and Christian for open passes. But oh, OH, that one-on-one chance!
Davinson Sanchez: If there was a weak link on defense, it was probably Davinson, who had a couple of nice tackles and challenges but who often looked like his football vision was failing him. Was the right decision to bring him off in the 2nd half as Poch tried to shake up the match by changing shape. Still, he wasn’t awful.
Son Heung-Min: I don’t know for SURE that he would’ve scored if Sissoko had found him on that breakaway, but I’m just pretty sure he would’ve. Looked marginally dangerous in attack during his cameo, but didn’t do anything especially noteworthy.
2 stars: David Suazo #2, 29’ (video 1:46”)
Of all the Inter Forever players, Karagounis and Suazo were the two who were taking it way more seriously than they needed to. Suazo actually had a brace in the match, and both of them were decent, but his second ends up here because of the absolutely hilarious keeping from Erik Thorstvedt. OK, yeah, he’s 56, but was Paul Robinson really not available?
Hugo Lloris: Set aside the (emotional and honestly ridiculous) conversation about whether Hugo should be rage-benched for Paulo Gazzaniga for the rest of the season — Hugo was pretty, pretty bad against Liverpool. The first goal was started by a bad clearance (though it’s hard to pin that goal entirely on him) and the second came from what should’ve been a routine save on a weak header from Salah. Leave the discussion about whether he’s losing it for another day. We can all agree that on Sunday he had a really bad match.
1 star: Juan Sebastian Veron, 37’ (video 2:38”)
Oh Erik. Erik, Erik, Erik. Love you forever, my dude.
No Tottenham players were as bad as... whatever that was by Erik Thorstvedt.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating:
Fernando Llorente, Ben Davies