It was almost a game too far. After the highs of beating bitter London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, Tottenham could not continue their fine run of results against England’s top teams as Mauricio Pochettino’s side ended up on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Both teams looked better going forward as possession was given up too readily on so many occasions. Tottenham’s midfield was guilty of making slack passes straight to a red shirt, and the three goals they conceded could all have been avoided.
To score twice at Anfield is an accomplishment but even so, too often attacking moments were ended by a poor pass or poor choice, and Pochettino will know there is still more to come from the Lilywhites.
Hugo Lloris - 6.5
Made some very good saves, and came so close to saving Steven Gerard’s penalty, but no matter how much the Frenchman might blame the pitch he knows he should have done but for Lazar Markovic’s opener.
Kyle Walker - 6.5
Tottenham’s defence was exposed by Liverpool’s open, fluid attack, but Walker did pretty well to cope with Alberto Moreno and Phillip Coutinho whenever they attacked his flank. Struggled to offer too much going forward in a game that was stretched to the extreme.
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Danny Rose - 5.5
Was set to have a tough night against youngster Jordan Ibe, and lost more than he won against the Liverpool winger. Like Walker, could not get forward as much as might be planned, and he was sucked into fouling Daniel Sturridge for the penalty when he should have known better.
Eric Dier - 7.0
Showed why he has been made first choice in the Spurs back line. Good in the air, comfortable on the ball, and no slouch in a foot race either. On three occasions he kept up and thwarted Sturridge, but should have closed down Markovic a lot more for the opener.
Jan Vertonghen - 6.5
Not bad, but at times he is not as commanding as he can or should be. Had to help cover Rose on occasion, and terrible passing from the midfield often put him and his defensive colleagues into trouble.
Nabil Bentaleb - 6.0
Some very poor passing as the Algerian looked to be suffering from fatigue after the North London derby and the African Cup of Nations. Not as imposing as he was on Saturday as Spurs struggled to deal with Liverpool’s fluid front three and wingbacks.
Ryan Mason - 5.5
Another who looked shattered, in the mind if not in the legs. Put his team mates in trouble on several occasions with passes straight to Liverpool players, and half a yard off his usual tempo which resulted in him picking up a booking for fouling Ibe. Thankfully Spurs have a little break and Mason can recharge his batteries.
Erik Lamela - 6.0
The Argentine record signing is getting more into games as Tottenham find their feet under Pochettino, and picked up an assist in the nice move for the first equaliser. However, his decision making is still inconsistent and he is pushed off the ball too easily. There is talent but it is still developing in the Premier League.
Mousa Dembele - 7.5
Finding his form again in a more advanced position. Shielded the ball brilliantly, brought the ball up the pitch gaining much needed territory, and although it was not pleasing on the eye he did score the second equaliser.
Christian Eriksen - 7.0
Had to do a lot more defensive work than Pochettino might have wanted, and struggled in the second half to show his usual quality before he was substituted. That said, it was a surprise that he was removed because he has shown he can effect games late on, and ultimately it might have been the wrong decision.
Harry Kane - 7.0
Scored, again, with a nice turn and finish, and picked up an assist for the second. Did not quite have the battling, all round display of the weekend, but still put in a good shift and did what was expected of him.
Paulinho (for Mason, 69) - 6.5
Replaced Mason but does not impress on the game as much as the Englishman and looked nothing other than average in a normal/deep central midfield role. A good player he may be, but the Brazilian is also a sign of the problems Pochettino has with the players outside his first choice XI.
Nacer Chadli (for Eriksen, 81) - 5.5
Guilty of not tracking Adam Lallana in the build up for the winner, and did not have that spark that had ignited his early season form.
Roberto Soldado (for Dembele, 85) - N/A
Gave away a foul, and little else.
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