Tottenham Focus - Individual mistakes cost Spurs three points
Tottenham’s three month unbeaten run came to an end at Anfield on Sunday afternoon as Spurs lost 3-2. The argument that the run had to end at some point is perhaps invalid here. Spurs unbeaten run had been built on good team play, the form of Gareth Bale and resolve. All this was on show at Anfield.
Liverpool, fast out of the blocks, caused Spurs difficulties with their pace and the trickery of Luis Suarez - the Uruguayan putting Liverpool ahead in the 21st minute. However Spurs started to keep possession and play themselves into the match. The equalizer just before half-time came via a Bale cross for Jan Vertonghen to head home.
Spurs took the lead when the Belgian claimed his second with a neat volley into the net, coming from behind to lead 2-1 in the 53rd minute, perhaps not unexpected, considering, as stated, their recent form and resolve. Spurs were now in control and if anything looked as if the might add to their lead.
However, the dynamic of the match changed in the 66th minute with the first of several mistakes. Fans may ask quite what Kyle Walker was thinking with his lazy attempted back pass from near the halfway line. The aimless ball put Hugo Lloris under pressure, having to run out in attempt to beat Stewart Downing to the ball. Perhaps if the Frenchman had tried to head the ball rather than clear with his foot he might have made it. As it was Downing put the Reds level.
Both teams had chances but in the 80th minute Spurs cleared the ball poorly from a corner. Jermain Defoe clumsily knocked the ball back into the penalty area straight to Suarez ,who was brought down by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the penalty duly put away by Steven Gerrard.
Was there also an error of judgment by the coach André Villas-Boas? Players were visibly flagging, especially after playing Thursday: the match had been quite frenetic, yet Spurs first substitution was only made in the 84th minute and this appeared to be more an attempt to chase the game than a tactical ploy.
The Portuguese, who has got so much right this season, should perhaps have made changes much earlier. The other reason supporting an earlier change was an imbalance in centre-midfield. The injured Aaron Lennon was missed. Mousa Demeblé played well on the right but the combination of Scott Parker and Jake Livermore meant there was little creative threat through the middle. There is an argument that the line-up may have worked but for the costly mistakes but these are fine lines, and bringing on Tom Carroll or Lewis Holtby earlier could have made the difference.
The loss may have been harsh, particularly on the superb Vertonghen. However, comfort should be taken that Spurs lost due to individual areas not a poor team performance. Also the last time Spurs lost in Liverpool, they went on a long unbeaten run. Fans will hope recent history repeats itself.
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