It was the only silver lining on a poor day for Spurs that they weren’t so bad and outplayed in the first game at the new stadium.
Spurs second straight defeat in the league, after three straight victories, was a strange game. They could have been really thumped and at the same time if the officials had done their job they would have had a spot kick right at the end to get out of it with a point.
They probably deserved the former, certainly not the latter.
Thank god this wasn’t the opening of the new White Hart Lane, but then maybe that situation would have brought a better side to the team than this sloppy display. Straight from the off, there was only seconds on the clock when Liverpool had the ball in the net, luckily correctly chalked off as Mane was offside when he went for the ball. Even though he didn’t touch the ball, he was interfering with play so the correct decision, which of course confused the bindipper fans.
Saying that, I don’t know if Vorm is getting that ball even if Mane isn’t there to distract him, especially when you look at the rest of this game.
You’d think the comments by Pochettino since the United game and especially those after the Watford defeat would have had an effect on the players. Well, it did, but not a positive one. They were even worse in this game. The whole concept of ball retention and passing to your own team seemed lost on all of them. At the end of the first half every pass Rose made was a fifty-fifty chance.
And it wasn’t just giving the ball away it was gifting chances with every giveaway. Dier’s awful back pass to no one, except Salah, Vorm saved this one, he saved a few but mainly shots that were straight at him, shots he should save.
What followed shortly after was the dictionary definition of omnishambles. From Toby’s ball being blocked, nobody stopping the Liverpool run into the box, until Jan kicks it away, only for Eriksen to nod it back, ending in a corner. If only it ended there but from the corner, Vorm flaps the ball goes back and Dier nods it back into the mix for Wijnaldum to head it in, Trippier’s jump in front of Vorm as the keeper finally gets two hands on the ball over the line.
Whatever was said at half time, well they either ignored it and carried on playing as they did in the first half or they were told to carry on being this rubbish. Dembele stumbling over the ball under no real pressure gifting another chance that was hit straight at Vorm. Spurs were getting away with it.
The visiting goalkeeper had nothing to do, even when Spurs had a chance. Moura, the only Spurs player that didn’t stink, running through the Liverpool defence, only to hit the outside of the post with his shot. He tried to lift the crowd, it didn’t lift his team-mates. Ten minutes after the break and the lead was doubled. A ball over Trippier saw a cross cut out by Jan in the middle of the goal, his block came back off the post, through the floundering Vorm’s hands for the unmarked Firmino to bang it in from a couple of inches out.
It was only Liverpool’s own omnishambles in attack, dithering and shooting straight at Vorm, that stopped this being and embarrassing scoreline, making it interesting when Lamela halved the deficit, three minutes into added time. He’d already gone close, just shooting past the post, maybe if he’d gone with his right for once. The Argentinian sub, put a good cross over the box for Rose and his attempt was blocked for a corner. From that set-piece the ball made its way to the back post where Lamela chested it up and put away the falling volley. Some finish from that angle.
Then in the dying seconds one of the other subs, the returning Son, was just about to take a shot when his standing foot was taken away from him by Liverpool’s Mane. It’s a foul, it’s a penalty but of course it wasn’t given. It would have given Kane his only real good chance all afternoon.
What has gone wrong?
Well how many other sides chop and change formation game to game? Liverpool have played every game so far 4-3-3. Spurs have alternated from four at the back to three at the back, with changes to midfield numbers and where their placed up front.
The fullbacks were used to being up the park with a back three but in a four they have to hedge their bets and defend more but time and again they’re found up the park with space behind them.
The personnel yes has to change with likes of Dele’s injury but why is Dier playing on the right of a midfield three? He’s the stopper in the middle. What has happened to him? He used to be so steady not it’s hit and miss. Dembele looks shot. If Dembele can’t keep the ball, what is the point of Dembele? You felt it was good to get Winks back and I know he’ll be rusty but he needs to stand up more if he doesn’t want to go the way of Tom Carroll, nice but ineffectual sideways pass merchant.
The trouble with Harry. Will Harry only score in August this season? Yes, I think he’s tired. Alana Shearer bangs on about getting straight back at it after Euro ’96 but then how many summers did he have off before that, it’s not like he featured heavily in any tournament previously. Things were hampered by none signings and Son heading off on more international duty. If the Korean had been available couldn’t they have rested Kane for the early games against Newcastle and Fulham, use him in an emergency.
With the addition of Moura up front alongside him it’s unfortunately looking like the England setup. And we’ve seen that isn’t helping harry in one bit. Nobody plays him the ball in good areas, so he drops deeper and ends up as provider instead of scorer. I’m certainly not blaming Moura, or saying he should be dropped, he’s been one of the real bright spots of the season so far. There’s just no connection between Kane and the creative players. Harry as the focal point, Moura more of a winger, with either Son or Lamela on the other side.
But whatever the players, pick one formation and start every game with that formation. Change if and when needed during the game as happened against Fulham. Pochettino started off the season making changes during games, changes that helped them win those games, positive changes, he seems to have fallen back on the waiting and waiting in these last two games. It wasn’t working at half time, why wait? Picking a formation for the opposition shows a weakness, we have to change because we’re cared of them, rather than we’ll play our way and impose our game on them.
If Kane is fatigued we’ll find out shortly, there’s a number of games coming in a short space of time, starting with the first Champions League outing of the season against Inter on Tuesday. A nice time to get things back on track, hopefully the size of the game will give ’em the kick up the backside required, though you’d think the visit of the unbeaten Liverpool would have done that…