Tottenham: Kane 13’, Son 74’
Liverpool: Jota 35’, Robertson 69’
Due to illness (non-COVID and COVID-19 alike), the Reds starting midfield was something of the unexpected: youngster Tyler Morton was handed his first stard in the absence of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, and Fabinho (with the skipper out with a non-COVID illness). While these three changes are perhaps surprising with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might have expected to continue his vein of good form, Jürgen Klopp chose to prefer balance over rhythm.
Morton has impressed in the minutes he’s been given so far, but make no mistake: this is a risky choice from Klopp, and he’ll be frustrated to be missing so many players.
While the Reds were lucky not to be about four down with properly poor defending on the break, Tottenham were lucky to have 11 men after a questionable Harry Kane tackle on Andy Robertson, and Diogo Jota was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty.
In general, the midfield three were losing their battle, but were not helped at their task with some poor decision making on the edge of the Tottenham area — time and again, Liverpool decision-making led to Tottenham breaks, when the Reds are usually careful with their risk-taking.
Andy Robertson was brilliant for the Liverpool goal, and Jota was on one of them where you had no idea what he was doing until he popped up with a goal (and should have won a penalty). Liverpool did have their chances, even if Tottenham had more clear-cut ones; nonetheless, it was evident that Liverpool were missing so many first choice midfielders.
Some of the errors were minimized at the start of the second half, but a misplaced pass in the same problematic area led to a comical set of Kane misses. Liverpool’s openness in midfield let to a risky sub by Klopp: Morton was taken off for Bobby Firmino, and while Firmino does love a goal against Tottenham, the unbalanced midfield was to become all the more unbalanced.
In keeping with the rest of the match, the second half had its own set of officiating talking points, with Spurs denied two penalty claims (one stronger than the other). While there was a hint of a Mohamed Salah having committed a handball offense, but based on how the rules are written the goal should have stood (and did). Unfortunately, Son went down the other side and equalized, and then Robertson was inexplicably sent off for what was somehow deemed to be serious foul play (reminder: Kane’s horrible tackle wasn’t even reviewed).
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Once again, officiating was the headline, but based on chances alone Liverpool didn’t deserve anything from that match — though if Robertson’s was a red, Kane’s certainly was, and it’s an entirely different match if Tottenham are on 10 men early.
Regardless, a frustrating watch where the illness-hit Reds failed to impress, and I’m left with absolutely no clue what the rules are anymore.
Robertson would have been in for a shout at Man of the Match had he not been carded off. As it stands, it’s hard to choose. It’s definitely not Paul Tierney.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs Tottenham?
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