Both Liverpool and Tottenham enjoyed fine results in Champions League action in midweek, but it was the hosts who emerged victorious as a stunning start gave the Reds a mountain not to climb.
Two defensive errors from Dejan Lovren allowed Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son to give the Lilywhites a two goal lead in just 12 minutes. Mohamed Salah’s mishit effort pulled one back as Liverpool grew into the game, but Dele Alli’s strike on the stroke of half-time proved decisive.
Harry Kane’s second of the afternoon put the tie to bed early in the second half and Liverpool could not find another way through a stubborn Tottenham defence. Here are five talking points from the tie…
Far too late, Jurgen Klopp has realised that Dejan Lovren is a liability
In a humiliating moment, Dejan Lovren was dragged off in the first half in a tactical substitution. It could have been embarrassing for Lovren, but he’d already produced two far more humiliating moments to gift Tottenham a two goal lead inside the first quarter of an hour.
Joel Matip hardly covered himself in glory with a poor clearance which up Dele Alli and Simon Mignolet dropped yet another clanger to effectively seal a defeat when Harry Kane scored the fourth not long after the break. Klopp’s decisions not to sign a central defender in the summer looks more inexplicable with every game.
Tottenham are serious title contenders
Tottenham have well and truly put an end to the so called Wembley curse as they produced a superb display to follow up on being the better team against reigning Champions League winners Real Madrid in midweek.
With one of the world’s best shotstoppers in goal, a solid and reliable defensive unit, a midfield packed with creativity and the Premier League’s best striker, Manchester City should be looking over their shoulder in fear.
Liverpool lack any kind of Plan B
With the Reds struggling to find space between Tottenham’s three central defenders, they found life difficult. When Tottenham extended their lead in the final moments before half-time, it allowed them to sit back deep and the visitors looked even more hopeless.
Consistently reverting to playing the ball wide and looking to cross into the box, the deliveries were poor and Roberto Firmino barely won a header all afternoon. The only other option was to hope that Philippe Coutinho could notch from distance, which he almost did until Hugo Lloris intervened.
Dele Alli can play in a deeper role
With Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama out, Alli sat in a deeper midfield role as opposed to his usual advanced role just behind Harry Kane. However, the England midfielder excelled alongside Harry Winks.
Tracking back when required, he provided protection when Serge Aurier and Kieran Trippier were caught out by a rapid counter-attack and added solidity and experience beyond his years. With a well taken goal to add, it was arguably Alli’s best display this season.
It is all about consistency
Having failed to record back to back victories since August, Liverpool continue to lack any kind of rhythm which is what’s required to ensure a top four finish. Whilst they have previously excelled against their rivals at the top end of the table, they collapsed at Wembley.
Tottenham on the other hand, built on the positives from their midweek draw in Madrid and looked like the more confident of the two sides despite Liverpool’s thrashing of Maribor. That makes it 11 unbeaten in all competitions for Pochettino and co.