Tottenham suffered a major setback in the Premier League title race after a 2-0 loss against Liverpool on Saturday. It was a damaging defeat to the club, who are hoping to take advantage of Liverpool’s recent poor run of form. Coming into the game, Liverpool had not won in the league since the turn of the year. As a result, they had fallen 12 points behind table leaders Chelsea to potentially cause talk about the season already coming to a close. Spurs, though, seemed in the mix for the title, as they had the chance to close the gap to Chelsea down to six points with a win.
Yet, Spurs were left as standard with an incredible first half performance from Liverpool which saw Sadio Mane score two goals in the space of two minutes. The 16th and 18th-minute goals from the Senegalese winger not only demonstrated his importance to the club, but it also helped the Liverpool get to the campaign back on track. Even though the possibility of winning the league title from this position still looks highly doubtful, Liverpool have certainly given their top four hopes a major boost.
At the other end of the scale, Mauricio Pochettino will be deeply disappointed with his team’s inability to make any sort of an impact in the game. Tottenham had only three shots on target in the entire 90 minutes, as they surrendered meekly to the top of the rivals. The disappointment of the first half was so high that Tottenham even discussed the possibility of going down the ‘long ball’ route, according to defender Toby Alderweireld.
“At half-time we discussed how they tried to put pressure on us and maybe we needed to go a bit longer and pick up the second balls and create problems there. We did that better (in the second half) but not as well as we normally play. Alderweireld told Tottenham’s official website
“We wanted to do better and it’s better that you see this frustration and that we care but we have to put our strength and energy into the next game now.”
Tottenham needed to take something from the game considering that the Europa League distraction will affect the team from now on. The team take on Gent on Thursday followed by the FA Cup game against Fulham during the weekend. Manager Mauricio Pochettino is expected to rotate the squad in order to keep the players fresh, but his options are certainly limited due to injuries – especially in the defence. Alderweireld has already missed several games in the league this season, and he is unlikely to be rested during a busy period that sees the club play in three different competitions in the remaining two weeks of February.
The biggest disappointment for Spurs from Saturday night would be the inability to take advantage of Liverpool’s weak defence. Despite being in the top four, Liverpool have struggled to keep clean sheets. In fact, the team has conceded the most number of goals in the top seven of the Premier League.
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