Moving on

I did think we'd suffer a lull and after the high octane 2-1 win over our bitter rivals Arsenal at the Lane. We lost an entertaining contest against Liverpool thanks mainly to a lethargic performance littered with clumsy passing and fatigued movement.

I'm not going to dissect this game and over-analyse it. Tired minds, tired legs. We didn't look sharp from the off, persistently assisting the home side in attack setting up the game to be an uncomfortable watch.

All the goals we conceded were soft and cheap. The ball looked to skip upwards and over Hugo Lloris for their first but he might have done better to stop it. It happens. The penalty was a gift, a completely unnecessary Danny Rose challenge. Their late winner another poorly defended move that saw a cameo from Tottenham's on field charity association donating the maligned Mario Balotelli an easy finish.

In-between all the sloop (and countless Phil Dowd yellow cards), we equalised from the feet of Harry Kane. Erik Lamela with a delicious reverse pass to set it up. Our second equaliser was off the chest of Mousa Dembele (first goal in 14 months) after Christian Eriksen saw his free-kick saved and the ball pinged to Kane to cross it in.

In-between all our goals, we suffered mostly from a hangover, struggling to match the tenacity of Saturday afternoon. Not that we would have reached such hedonistic heights at an Anfield that came alive just twice during the game. Firstly from the tannoy before kick off and then in the 85th minute. Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason (running low on fuel) failed to take a hold of the midfield. The midfield and defence had no disciplined transition to their play leaving Liverpool to expose us time and time again - be it down the flanks or through the middle. It was disjointed. They had more success pressing.

First half we looked fairly decent going forward and had moments of endeavour in the second. Both sides arguably looking to recover lost (seasonal) momentum, both looking to improve. Just think had this game been played on the weekend it would have been a different beast.

Would rotation have helped? Perhaps we should have. Maybe Mauricio Pochettino felt there was still enough left in the tank to get us through this and then rest up for nine days.

I'm going to retain a philosophical perspective. Compared to our 3-0 tonking from Brendan Rodgers side earlier in the season, we've come a long way. I'd love to say we deserved a point yet I can't complain too much about not getting a single one thanks to those not so tidy moments on the back foot.

Positives? Our players have heart. The substitutions and the starting eleven (if you wish to spend the next nine days analysing) might point towards that extra bit of quality in depth that we'll need to tighten up our options. The fixture list doesn't care, meaning that we have to be prepared for similar unforgiving scenarios in the future.

For now, onwards. Europa League. League Cup final. Push for top four.

 

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