22 October 2017

Liverpool 1-4 Tottenham

Kane 4' 56'
Son 12'
Salah 24'
Dele 45+3'

The most Liverpool week ever is Liverpool at its most potent, scoring the most goals they've ever scored under Jürgen Klopp, immediately followed by Liverpool at its most defensively hilarious, conceding four goals solely because of things that Liverpool did wrong. And they did so against a direct rivals, on a ground where those rivals had scored just three league goals through four matches, to make it extra fun.

Once again, it's one step forward followed by two backwards.

What can you even say.

Liverpool conceded from a collective defensive mistake, an individual defensive mistake, a second phase set play, and a goalkeeper error. We're reached a new Peak Liverpool.

Liverpool conceded twice within 12 minutes, almost completely ruining any chance of getting something from this game. A game that Liverpool desperately needed to get something from.

We'll give Tottenham a bit of credit. All those swarming attacking midfielders and two very, very fast wing-backs made it impossible for Liverpool to get the ball forward. For Liverpool to play on the front foot. For Liverpool to press. For Liverpool to play their game. Tottenham started from a stronger foundation to win this match.

That's obviously concerning. But you still cannot legislate for defensive mistakes.

First, Liverpool are all idiots from an attacking throw-in. No one presses the ball, allowing Trippier to place a chip over the top for Kane. Lovren watches it go over his head without even trying to jump for a header or retreat. Matip throws his arm up for offside and stands still for two seconds. It's not offside, because Gomez is a couple of feet behind Kane even though he's on the opposite side of the pitch with no Tottenham player remotely nearby and he's staring down the line. Mignolet comes out but doesn't get the ball, Matip slows down because he thinks Mignolet might get the ball instead of clearing everything and everyone out, and Kane keeps his balance to score. Just hilarity all over.

Eight minutes later – after a spell where Liverpool have had all the possession without threatening – Hugo Lloris throws the ball long after claiming Milner's cross. Lloris is good at throwing the ball out. Kane's always a threat on quick counters. But Dejan Lovren's got this. Dejan Lovren's gonna head this away and Liverpool will resume trying to get at Tottenham.

Dejan Lovren completely misses his header – hilariously so, as if he's wearing someone else's glasses and has no depth-perception – and Harry Kane's in. So, so in. Kane and Son versus poor Joël Matip, and Kane's cross is excellent and the ball's in the net.

Four minutes later, it should have been three: a quick free kick, Liverpool asleep, Lovren in a different universe, Son in behind, Son off the crossbar.

But then, hope. Hope? Really? Coutinho wins possession, Henderson blasts a remarkable long through-ball to Salah between center-backs, and the winger converts. Converted with his right foot, converted awkwardly and in off the post, but converted nonetheless. Converted for his fifth league goal, and his eighth goal in 11 starts. 1-2. Actually a game.

And still a game even after Lovren allows Son in behind again, with Mignolet making the save, as Liverpool scrambled to get Oxlade-Chamberlain in for Lovren. I don't know what happened today. Was it just Lovren at his worst? Was it just Lovren has had to take painkillers to play for two months now and this is what happens when that has to happen? Don't know. It's easy to say in retrospect that he probably shouldn't have played. But this was the same side that's kept clean sheets in its last two matches, even if against very, very different opponents. We laugh and joke and cry about Lovren's calamities but this was something different. This was a player completely out of his depth, as if something's very, very wrong.

So Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on, and Liverpool shuffle within the same formation. And it's okay? We're seeing Liverpool pressure, even if we're not seeing Liverpool chances. Tottenham's back three becomes a back five. Tottenham are compressed into their own half, with only Kane and Son forward, and Gomez and Matip are doing a better job controlling that then Matip and Lovren. We're seeing crosses and set plays, and they're not coming that close – Tottenham are quite good at the defense, after all – but all it takes is one moment, one opening, one fortunate bounce.

But Liverpool are on the front four. But Liverpool are going to go into halftime just a goal down. Maybe halftime's coming at a bad time? It feels like it's at a bad time. This is all Liverpool, even if chances are few and far between.

Nope. Emre Can loses possession. Emre Can concedes a foul – yes, he gets ball, but he also gets man, and he's coming from behind, and referees are calling that four times out of five. But it's a deep free kick. But Tottenham are just trying to get into the changing room, only throwing a couple of bodies forward.

Nope. Matip heads the ball directly to Dele Alli rather than the five Liverpool players nearby, and Alli restores Tottenham's two-goal lead.

Goodnight, nurse.

I'm going to slow down and say it again. Tottenham. Were. Not. Even. Trying. To. Score. Kane was the only player attacking the free kick and Matip somehow headed it directly to the only Spurs player following it up. It's actually amazing.

So the second half's now a formality. Spurs just have to keep a demoralized Liverpool at arm's length. Spurs almost score on a free kick, with Kane's awkward header wide, then Spurs score from a free kick as Mignolet charges out but misses the cross – as Mignolet's prone to do – and Kane scored the rebound after Firmino cleared the first effort off the line.


I'll be honest. I barely watched after that. I think Lloris denied a nice Coutinho strike from range? Liverpool made a couple of substitutions. Tottenham made some too, giving Son, Eriksen, and Kane time for rounds of applause, and thankfully stopped trying to score. And Liverpool thankfully stopped giving them goals to score.

Great work, guys. Way to prevent another rival from scoring five on you.

This was a boot, stamping on Liverpool's face – forever. Just like at Manchester City – two utterly humiliating losses against Top-6 rivals in the space of five weeks, a season after going unbeaten against all of Liverpool's Top-6 rivals. And this time, Liverpool don't even have the excuse of a red card dismissal.

This time, it was Liverpool's own boot doing the stamping.


Georger said...

Klopp, the owners, and all but maybe four players need to go.

Anonymous said...

Time to drop the under performers, and give youth a chance, cant be worse? can it?

TAA - Gomez - Matip - Moreno
Salah - Milner - Coutinho - AOC

If they play bad, they don't start the next match, simple, and pray for Lallana and Mane to get back soon!

Mercycide said...

Nate, I enjoy your reviews and thank you for writing them.
A lot of issues currently with this team. A few big games here and there can't change the fact that there is a major, underlying issue. We need a revamp. If this was fantasy league I would have hit the wildcard option weeks ago. Mignolet not decisive/aggressive enough. great shot stopper at times but not reliable in the air or as a sweeper keep. Matip needs a reliable pairing. Moreno and Gomez are young and inexperienced. The only midfielders worth keeping are coutinho (who is gone next year - albeit for keita) and wijnaldum. I have said it before and will say it again - Henderson not good enough to be on this team. Don't give me the pass rate stats. I don't care. He can't create. Great engine, sure, but not a leader. Not captain material.
Don't know where we go from here. This season is going to see us mid table and out of CL in quarterfinals. Klopp's fault? Partially. I like him as a manager but can't defend his choices regarding players. Same as you I stopped watching this game after 60 mins. Getting disinterested and apathetic.

SunDontShine said...

We all need some uplifting. Players arent doing enough and capably so.
Yeah, the concessions are hilarious. There is no cheer of comebacks or cranking it up to speak of, perhaps in due
part to the lack of prime options.

Ox not being utilised properly? Can, henderson in the midfield with no clear objectives?
Forward attacks gives the impression of defanged vipers. With no finish to boot. Dont mention corner kicks or set plays where no head is found. Players too, not in good positions to aid the continuity of attack and defense.

We could play as a team. We could play like real madrid who whilethey appeared to be struggling in some matches at the start, have good players to turn it around either within a game or next. Some games they too face a wall of defenders.

Klopp's demeanor has taken a twist. What would he do next? Chop or persevere?

When have we won in the league. Oh yeah. Leicester game.

Hard to be excited with our standard of play.