For the second time in a week eyebrows were raised at Pochettino’s team selection, after stuffing Liverpool at Wembley Spurs supporters are questioning their questioning.
The boss had hinted that his team sheet for Liverpool’s visit might contain some surprises, as it had midweek in Madrid. Well, two right-backs and no discernible holding midfielder, was a bit of a surprise.
Liverpool can attack, they have decent options in that area, even minus Mane, you’d think something a bit more Dier/Wanyama than Winks would be required in there to help out. But with a nice to a more 3-5-5 from 3-4-3 there is the cover and it’s not left to just one player.
This new line up saw Dele Alli moving back into midfield from his number 10 role. It’s a move I like and have been calling for. Shift him away from the crowd of defenders that crowd him out when he’s further up the field. Give him some space to work in. He can be box to box, he was here, though some still want to stifle him behind Harry.
He helped back as did Eriksen so Winks wasn’t left on his own when Liverpool had the ball and they had most of it… don’t you love it when a team comes to Wembley and wants to play.
Bus parkers have caused Spurs problems at their temporary home. When teams have come to play, Spurs have lived dangerously but have ended up winning comfortablely.
They are excellent at catching the opposition on the break, even without help, which they did get here.
Pochettino made Lovren a £20m buy for Liverpool. Without Pochettino, Lovren is a 30 minute sub for Liverpool. He’ll, it’s not that long ago that Soldado was mugging off the Croat.
Here it was just balls in the air and Harry Kane. First Trippier with a lovely chip over the defender, who stood still waiting for a flag as Harry chased the ball, Mignolet then rushed out, got nowhere and bar a little stumble Harry put away his first Wembley league goal, after just over three minutes.
The second wasn’t ten minutes away. This time after catching a high cross Hugo threw the ball out, far better than Hsi kicking, which Lovren was determined to get before Harry, he didn’t get anything, Harry turned and ran, Kane’s glorious cross was matched by Son’s glorious side footer to double the lead. It’s a goal you could watch again and again.
Son could have extended the lead shortly after. Trippier getting things going quickly, no Walker style dithering, from a free kick, Eriksen with the lofted ball and Son with a shot of the bar. It’s the kind of hard chance that he normally scores.
There was a wobble a little over ten minutes later when Salah got one back. He’s always caused Spurs trouble and was really their only danger. Hugo maybe could have come out quicker but then it maybe shouldn’t have got that far as while Spurs were being helped by Liverpool’s defence they weren’t by the officials. Harry running from the edge of his own box was fouled numerous times before going down and getting nothing. One through ball and one scuffed shot later and it’s 2-1.
Son again could have extended the lead but his shift shot was easily saved. Looked to be the score going in at the break, when a few minutes into added time the ref finally gave a foul for all that kicking Spurs were on the end of. With halftime coming up barely any Spurs players bothered going up for it. Just three in a line of Liverpool defenders. One of those defenders thankfully weakly headed Eriksen’s chip back to Dele for him to finally get on the score sheet.
By this time Lovren was well gone, so couldn’t take the blame.
We didn’t have to wait too long into the second half for the fourth. Kane causing all sorts of problems, again fouled. Trippier’s excellent free kick is flapped at by Mignolet and the ball falls to Vertonghen, the Belgian’s shot is stopped just before the line but Harry is there to bang in the rebound. Harry “the brace” Kane.
But poor old Jan, he’s never gonna get that goal, is he?
Liverpool had the ball but they were snuffed out by an excellent defence and superior team work, so many of their attacking threats weren’t seen. When Firmino went off you were hard pressed to remember him being on.
There was scares later as Spurs relaxed but Hugo provided a couple of cracking saves. One flying one from Coutinho and a couple with his feet. It’s funny some Spurs supporters don’t rate him, some even place him behind the likes of Mignolet who is a flapping liability.
But then some don’t rate Pochettino but after this week can we really question him? Well maybe when he picks Sissoko next. The Frenchman came on and looked like he’d never played the game before. Seen some post facts that he’s the fastest in the league but then they said that about Walcott and he never had control of the ball or knew what he was going to do.
So now with two victories in the trot at Wembley the hoodoo should be over and next up is Man It’s, will José learn from this and park the bus at his own ground…