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Football News: Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 


I am not going to waste my time on ratings for players and going through criticising their performances as this was not a game to judge anyone on. The heat was bad enough to affect badly two teams that like to play a high tempo game, but the biggest issue was the 3 week gap from the end of the season until the game took place. The scheduling of the season is a bit of a mess, with just a 3 day gap from the game until the Nations League games start.

UEFA and the domestic leagues really need to put their heads together and organise themselves properly. Well, to be fair to UEFA, the main issue is the Premier League that is completely out of sync with everyone else, in many, many ways. They need to all start working together for the good of the game, so we do not have to suffer through any more games as bad as that one when the issue is so easily solved.

The game itself was dull, neither team had the intensity in their play to make it a truly exciting clash. The heat affected it, as did the lack of match practice, but it was made worse by the early goal, which meant that Liverpool did not have to go for it and could sit back and look to hit Spurs on the break. Spurs, as has become more and more of a problem as the season went on, looked jaded and a number of their players were clearly not fully fit.

Kane, Trippier, Sissoko, Rose and a couple of others all struggled to cope and so the performance of Spurs was lacklustre. All season Spurs have been struggling to break down teams that are well organised, with Eriksen only shining when given time and space to operate, something he never really got against Liverpool. The few occasions Spurs did manage to muster up a threat, they found Alisson ready and waiting and always well positioned to deal with the shots.

Alisson was particularly outstanding and very nearly created a goal with a glorious pass to Salah. Overall it is difficult to criticise either team for their performances in the heat, if it was not for the fact that Spurs were playing like this anyway. Pochettino seems unable to motivate the team, in fact it seems like he is lacking motivation himself, other than the obvious wanting to win a trophy. The end of the season saw Spurs play a few games like this, were they looked fatigued and out of legs.

For me it just looks like a team that are not so much tired, but instead working under a manager who is no longer fully invested in the team. They played like the manager has already decided he wants to go, even if money is invested in the summer. Though I doubt Levy will be keen to let Pochettino go, he has certainly been fending off Juventus interest this summer, it feels like Pochettino might just have decided it is time he went.

Certainly he did not pick the team like a man who was looking to the long term future or one that was strong (brave?) enough to pick the right team over the team he was being almost bullied into fielding. Certainly Harry Kane made sure to put pressure on Poch by making sure everyone knew he was fit publicly and Pochettino included him even though he was clearly not fit enough to start.

For a manager who usually sets so much store upon physical fitness and the ability to run hard it was a surprise how many of the team were physically struggling, almost from kick off. They were struggling to get up and down the pitch, let alone create anything and that severely hampered their efforts. They found themselves constantly caught out by a ball over the top and never figured out how to deal with the simple tactic of a quick counter.

Spurs made it very easy for Liverpool to just sit back and play out time at a canter. That was the most disappointing thing of all for me, is that they never made a real game of it. For someone like me, who is usually incredibly nervous to the point of sickness during games and can never relax, to not feel like there was any danger of losing says a lot about how little Spurs offered. It felt like their only way back in was a mistake and it never felt like a mistake was coming.

Liverpool were clearly playing within themselves and pacing themselves to ensure they had the energy to have a real go at Spurs if they did concede. The full backs were not charging forward and it was very much a case of limiting the number of bodies that countered. Where there are usually five or six racing to be involved when a break is on, there were usually just the front three and maybe one midfielder.

It made for a dull game with little to excite the neutral watching as Liverpool were controlled and playing within themselves, while Spurs were just not at the races and struggled to mount a meaningful attack. The big question from a Spurs perspective is whether or not that was it, their one chance of getting the big cup, like the year Leicester won the league seems to be their one shot at the Premier League.

From a Liverpool perspective could this be the catalyst for more success, or will it be the peak like in 2005? A young side with potential to grow, with a manager who is a key part of their success. The first job is to build on the success and ensure it is not the end but merely the beginning of a new era.

Written by Tris Burke June 03 2019 20:07:19

 

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