Tottenham Hotspurs hosted Liverpool in the English Premier League as we cross the half-way point of the season. Jose Mourinho and Tottenham sat at the top of the table at one point earlier in the season but after this loss to Liverpool, they look like they are out of the running for the title. The hope for a trophy has not diminished though as they are still in other cup competitions but it looks like the English Premier League is out of their reach for now.
Apart from the defeat, Jose Mourinho will be without Harry Kane who hurt his ankles in the first half of the game. Kane was withdrawn at half-time and Tottenham have trips to Brighton and Chelsea next. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have been the catalysts behind Tottenham’s push on the table. They are the most effective duo in world football right now. However, both men played subdued parts as they lost 1-3 to the reds.
Liverpool were winless in 4 and had failed to score in those games causing some alarm over at Merseyside. The front 3 have not been in the most glamorous of form but they put aside their struggles to put Manchester United to the sword. Another individual who put aside terrible form to give a resounding performance is Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back has battled Covid-19 and injuries, looking off the boil since his return. But against Manchester United, he scored a goal and looked better overall. Jurgen Klopp has been screaming for a new central defender but he must have been worried about his attack in recent weeks. This performance will quell his nerves though. We analyze 3 observations from the game.
TOTTENHAM NEED A THIRD ACT
Just before half-time, Harry Kane suffered an injury trying to challenge Jordan Henderson for the ball. He would not come out for the second half. Defeat felt not far away for Spurs from that point. Son and Kane are spearheading Tottenham’s push this season but the 2 forwards are not enough. Tanguy Ndombele has stepped up his game but it is in the forward department that they need another protagonist.
Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn do not have the end-product. Erik Lamela is well Lamela and Gareth Bale is finished. Mourinho also showed that he is not ready to trust Carlos Vinicius yet. The 25-year-old former Benfica man is yet to start a game in the league.
There were links in early January to Stuttgart attacker Nicolas Gonzalez (6 goals and 2 assists in 8 league starts) but there is no deal. Spurs need someone who can contribute when their star forwards are not contributing. And they need him down the right-wing since Son occupies the left and Kane the middle. They need their own Mo Salah if you will. Someone who can give defenders a tough time coming in from the right. Bergwijn is no threat at the moment, they need an upgrade on him first and foremost. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho gives Vinicius some EPL game time now that Harry Kane is out. What is clear is that they need someone more dangerous on their right side.
KLOPP NEEDS THAT NEW DEFENDER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Injuries are part of this game but sometimes, some injury issues can leave one befuddled. Liverpool has Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Fabinho, and Joel Matip out at the moment. Matip returned in time for the game against Spurs but could not even make it to the second half. He was substituted for Nathaniel Phillips. Liverpool travel to high-flying West Ham next with no available central defenders. They had not scored in 4 games but Jurgen Klopp maintained that a defender is his priority in the transfer market. They have broken their duck and Klopp is more adamant about what he needs. A defender. Whether Fenway Sports Group (FSG) decides to back Klopp up in the transfer market is another question as they are notoriously tight-fisted.
When Klopp first arrived, Liverpool’s defensive structure was its weak link but the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker plugged important gaps. In the absence of Van Dijk, they have still managed to keep things tight at the back but with more and more injuries, it is obvious that Liverpool need an extra defender. Rhy Williams’ performance against Manchester United in the FA Cup shows that he is not ready for this level. Nat Phillips came on for Joel Matip and within 5 minutes he had received a yellow card. He is not ready either. Liverpool need a defender or 2 even.
ALWAYS BACK LIVERPOOL FRONT 3
These guys did not play their best games yesterday. They have not been in good form but against another contender, they showed their class. The form table staring them down, the 3 showed what English Premier League champions are made of. Sadio Mane has not reached his lofty levels of last season but supplied the first goal for Roberto Firmino before capitalizing on a mistake by the otherwise fantastic Joe Rondon to score his second. Firmino has not been potent in front of goal since last season, it is no more news. Worse of all is that his linkup play which is the main reason for his continuous starts seems to not be as smooth as it was before. However, against Tottenham Si Senor came alive in the extra minutes of the first half to tap home Mane’s cross.
Salah looked a threat throughout the game even though he did not get a goal of his own. They showed true mental resilience to overcome Jose’s side.
Liverpool have struggled this season with injuries to key players and disruptions on different levels. Salah and Mane have suffered from bouts with Covid-19 which affects professional athletes more than they have been willing to admit. But Liverpool continue soldiering in their quest to keep up the pace at the top. The performance against Tottenham was not their greatest but they fought for their win and got their result. Their front 3 will be a major reason for wherever they end up on the table. They will be more decisive than their non-existent central defense.