Match: Sunday 31st August 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
Result: Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool.
Liverpool GoalScorers: Sterling 8′, Gerrard (pen) 49′ & Moreno 60′.
Not what we wanted, at all. If we were going to lose, we wanted it to be with dignity, to show fight, ambition against a brilliant footballing side who have incredible fire-power, but we didn’t, we seemed off the pace, we didn’t show anywhere near the sort of fluidity and pace as we did against QPR. Pushing, pressing and creating chances is exactly what we wanted from the team but it seemed the mere sight of a top team forced the players to drop deeper, make stupid irrational decisions and play with fear instead of freedom. I don’t think we can blame Pochettino for that; I’m sure he set the team out to push forward and take the initiative, but the players didn’t do it as they seem set in their ways to always act as the underdogs instead of taking momentum into the game and playing good football. It’s very disappointing and being serious, the players might need psychological help to get over what seems to be a mental block of playing with freedom against big teams. Very early days for Pochettino and his staff, but a lot of work to be done. I believe we will improve and I believe Pochettino will be a massive success at Tottenham, but he needs time and he needs support, from Daniel Levy, the players, and the fans. Mauricio has already labeled it a project – and we are only at the start, so keep faith and let’s hope for a better result next time out.
The goals conceded were sloppy, individual mistakes, which is something we are used to from last season. The penalty simply wasn’t a penalty – and should have been a booking for diving for Joe Allen, who funnily enough would have then been sent off for his second bookable offence, but it wasn’t Tottenham’s day and we have to move on, not dwell on what is a very disappointing result that seems to take everyone straight back down to earth. Liverpool played very well – what we saw from them was the result of a project paying off – giving time to a very talented and tactically astute manager and after a full season in charge, a phenomenal second and then what could be an even better third season if they continue to play like they did against us. Their front 3/4 was untouchable, Sturridge, Balotelli and Sterling moved, and ran all over our back 4, they played with fluidity and an understanding, which is what our front 4 lacked, but I’m sure will improve as the season goes on. Liverpool are at a stage that we have to strive for – players playing as one, fighting as one and winning as one. Despite how poor we were, Liverpool were delightful (absolutely sickeningly so) to watch.
The players didn’t perform in this game, there was no stand out player and certainly no Tottenham man of the match. Every single player has to improve from this display and that starts against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light after the international break. It’s also a big deadline day, where I’m sure we’ll see a few outs, and hopefully 1 or 2 players come in. Younes Kaboul captained the side, and he did not lead by example, which is what you want from a captain. He may bark orders but when you’re making so many mistakes and forcing so many groans out of the fans’ and possibly his team-mate’s mouths, something isn’t right. He’s not been the same since a massive injury and it breaks my heart that that is the case, but the sooner Federico Fazio comes in to replace him alongside Jan Vertonghen the better, as Jan is seemingly trying to second guess the liability that is now Kaboul. It is harsh for me to single out Kaboul, as he certainly wasn’t the only one – Danny Rose didn’t have a good game, neither did Christian Eriksen or Andros Townsend. There is a lot of room for improvement and we’ve got time on the training pitch with the international break to put right some wrongs.
It is hard to take, but we have to move on from it. A difficult game against a superior opposition, as much as it pains me to say it, it is the truth. Now we have a break, before returning to action against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday 13th September. Let’s hope we can get a win. Follow my twitter for all the updates throughout deadline day and the international break here: @AddictedToSpurs. Up the Spurs! COYS!
My player ratings for the team that faced Liverpool at the Lane:
Lloris – 6
Dier – 7.5
Kaboul – 3.5
Vertonghen – 5
Rose – 4
Bentaleb – 6
Capoue – 5.5
Lamela – 6
Eriksen – 5
Chadli – 6
Adebayor – 6.
Townsend – 2
Dembele – 5
Davies – 6.
Pochettino’s post match interview: