Moussa Dembele again put in a standout performance for Spurs as they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
The resounding feeling around the club may have been one of disappointment, as Spurs travelled to Anfield knowing they needed three points to stay within touching distance of league leaders Leicester City.
Praise for Dembele
However, aside from Harry Kane’s impressive strike that levelled the scores, Moussa Dembele was also a major talking point.
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The Belgian lynchpin has been a rock in the midfield this season. Even more than Eric Dier or Dele Alli, Dembele holds the midfield together and makes the most noticeable difference.
While Christian Eriksen eventually found his way into the game, setting up Kane’s equaliser, he looked out of sorts at times in the opening 45 minutes, and so it was down to Dembele to keep Spurs’ midfield alive.
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Uncompromising on the ball
Against Liverpool, it was his strength on the ball that was so important in the midfield battle. As well as staying on his feet throughout a prolonged foul by Emre Can, he also made a number of key tackles, and his ball recovery was outstanding.
Amidst a congested midfield, Spurs could have been accused of over-passing in the first half. It was up to Dembele to break up Liverpool’s play, and he was extremely effective with his interceptions. With Spurs initially struggling to create anything worthwhile, his passing accuracy was vital in getting them back into the game.
Mauricio Pochettino held some concerns that Dembele might not have been fit for the all-important trip, but his return made all the difference. As technically gifted as the midfielder is, he also epitomises Tottenham’s fighting spirit, refusing to give up the ball, and never shying away from tackles.
That kind of mentality is going to be especially important going into the final games of the season, as Leicester look to have edged Spurs out of the title race with yet another 1-0 win against Southampton.
In the past, the main criticism aimed at Dembele was his lack of confidence in going forward, often opting to play the safe pass sideways. Now, he is far more comfortable in the opposition’s half, and was unlucky not to score the winner, his shot tipped behind by Simon Mignolet as Spurs piled on the pressure.
The Lilywhites’ resurgence this season has won the entire team plaudits, but Dembele, in particular, is finally stepping out of his shadow as one of the most underrated midfielders in the Premier League.
Is Dembele Tottenham's best midfielder? Have your say in the comments!