Liverpool and Tottenham engaged in a goalless draw at White Hart Lane in a game where the entire focus was on Jürgen Klopp. While neither side could register a goal, there were some encouraging signs for both.
Liverpool missed a lot of players in Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez. Tottenham could say the same with Eric Dier, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Heung-min Son all missing out. Nacer Chadli suffered an early injury and missed almost the entire game.
Philippe Coutinho’s slump in form
Coutinho was Liverpool’s main outlet for creativity on paper, but the Brazilian was extremely underwhelming and had no contribution of note. In fact, Coutinho has not done much for a while now and this must be a worrying sign for the club and new boss. Under a new manager, the player can’t take his starting spot for granted. Unsurprisingly, he was subbed off for Jordon Ibe and many would argue if the substitution happened too late given he had not been a weapon for the Reds.
Liverpool’s other attackers didn’t do anything emphatic either, although Adam Lallana was better than the rest. However, his personal performance faded along with the team’s.
Tottenham were the better team
As expected, Liverpool came out pressing high from the opening whistle and were extremely dominant in the opening 15 minutes. Spurs were also given an early let-off as Divock Origi’s headed effort rattled off the crossbar. But Spurs were able to weather the early storm and dominated for the remainder of the match. While no team did anything extraordinary in the second half, Spurs looked to have the upper hand in the majority of the second half.
Harry Kane’s worrisome form
If Liverpool have Philippe Coutinho to worry about, Harry Kane’s form will be a major issue for Pochettino. The Englishman is having a bad time sustaining the success of an emphatic previous season. He only has 1 goal in 14 games for the Lilywhites and his confidence seems to be low as well. Kane could have given the home side a lead but his shot in the first half was well saved by Simon Mignolet, who was exceptional for Liverpool. Kane needs to start firing again, as he currently doesn’t look like a first choice striker for a side aspiring to finish in the top 4 of the league. Spurs’ second choice striker Clinton N’Jie had to come on pretty early on due to Chadli’s injury. He looked a bag of nerves initially, giving the ball away on multiple occasions but did well as the game progressed. His emphatic effort on goal was brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet, who looked unbeatable in the game.
Spurs won the midfield battle
While Emre Can worked tirelessly throughout the game and Lucas was crisp in his passing, Liverpool lost the crucial midfield battle as Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele were absolutely brilliant for Spurs. Eric Dier’s absence must have worried the fans but Dembele did very well and made sure Dier was not missed. In fact, Dembele has made a case for himself and Pochettino might have a bit of a selection headache in the coming week. Alli tracked back well and made some crucial interceptions and could have scored but for Sakho’s crucial block.
Overall, Tottenham might have felt they should’ve won, but their finishing was not clinical and Mignolet had a terrific day in front of goal. Pochettino would be happy, however, as his side remains unbeaten since the opening day. With all the focus around Klopp, Tottenham did extremely well to ensure they don’t give the media another reason to go on and on about him.