Opinion: Five things we learned from Tottenham’s 4-2 defeat to Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur followed defeats against Newcastle, Arsenal and Chelsea with yet another loss away at Anfield this evening, conceding another four goals in the process.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned from the match:

Yves Bissouma
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Holidays Are Booked

I don’t know what’s going on at the moment, but Tottenham have clearly got a nice group discount on summer holidays because the player’s have well and truly clocked out and left the building. At the very least, you want to know your starting XI is going to fight and die for the badge, even when they’re in some bad form, but Spurs were so lackadaisical and devoid of emotion today. I hope Postecoglou is learning a thing or two about who to keep and who to move on. Emerson Royal’s marking was so poor today that if Mo Salah booked a holiday to Mexico, the defender would end up in Marbella.

Number 9 With Next-Day Delivery

If ever there was a game that highlighted how much Spurs miss and need a proper number nine, it was today. Heung-min Son couldn’t hold the ball up or bring others into play at all and he doesn’t seem to thrive with his back to goal in this system. Fast-forward to the final 30 minutes and he was electric out wide with some space to work with. Tottenham need to go early into the transfer market for a striker who is going to get the best out of this system.

Watch Out For Newcastle

Newcastle are now just four points behind Tottenham, having played the same number of games. With a match against Manchester City still to come, Spurs really do need to be careful they don’t let fifth place slip come the final day of the season. Wins over Burnley and Sheffield United will be enough to secure a top-five finish, but Spurs fans won’t exactly be filled with confidence even in those kinds of fixtures at the moment.

Richarlison Turns Into Prime R9

Why can’t we have that kind of performance every week?! Richarlison came off the bench, grabbed a goal and an assist and dragged Tottenham back into the match kicking and screaming. Even beyond those two moments, his hold-up play was exceptional, his passes between the lines were dangerous, and he looked a real threat with his runs off the shoulder. If Spurs saw that kind of performance on a regular basis, they wouldn’t need to be shopping around for a new number nine this summer.

The Wingers Need To Do Winger Things

It was pointed out on commentary that Liverpool and other teams have worked out a formula to beat Spurs – crowd the centre of the pitch and prevent them from building up attacks down the middle. What that does leave is a lot of space for people like Brennan Johnson and Dejan Kulusevski to operate in out wide. It’s pretty damning that opposition teams are happy to just let that happen, because Spurs really struggle to turn wide space into goalscoring opportunities. Johnson should have been taking Trent on for fun this evening and the Kulusevski of old would have created chance after chance. Spurs need more direct goalscoring quality from those wide positions.

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