Spurs defence looked assured against West Ham, yet against Liverpool there seemed more of an all hands to the pump effort at times about the defence. Was this because of the choice of both William Gallas and Michael Dawson at centre-back? To date, one or other [predominantly Gallas] has been selected but alongside a younger partner. These partnerships might not always have worked but did the match against Liverpool highlight the limitations of Dawson and Gallas as a pairing?
In the first 30 minutes the high defensive line held. The concentration of play into the Liverpool half allowed Spurs to control possession and attack with a fluidity and purpose. Spurs scored two goals and looked comfortable. However as Liverpool came back into the match, the trio of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Jose Enrique looked more threatening. The high defensive line disappeared and Spurs became increasingly nervous.
Dawson’s average position was one of the deepest of any centre-back for Spurs this season. Gallas’ was only marginally higher. The reason appeared to be about pace – the lack of it in both centre-backs against that of Liverpool’s attackers. The effect was tangible. Spurs’ shape changed, with spaces appearing between defence and midfield, midfield and attack. This space meant it was more difficult to retain possession with Liverpool exploiting the gaps. The centre-backs found it difficult to pass to Sandro or Moussa Demebel