Tottenham Hotspur 4 Liverpool 1: Match Review

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 22, 2017: Dejected James Milner (L) gets the ball from the back of the net after the fourth Spurs goal during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

THEIR manager has had our manager’s kecks down there.

I am going to talk about this for a while so brace yourselves.

Their manager has absolutely had our manager’s kecks off.

And that’s OK from the point of view of criticising our manager. That happens to everyone. In that, last season, in February, our manager had their manager’s kecks down. Absolutely made a show of him. We are here today with those roles reversed.

We don’t need — as they tend not to — to make this unbelievably macho. We don’t. The language around kecks being had down does admittedly suggest we do but we don’t. We just need to shrug a shoulder. Acknowledge it happens. Because it does.

The language aside, up and down the country every week managers have each other off. It doesn’t mean that x or y is better than one another much of the time. The reality is, as these men who work in the industry know, they all have good and bad days. Being able to acknowledge that is important.

All Liverpool managers have found themselves shown up from time to time. It’s why we shouldn’t get too carried away when it happens in our favour as much as we shouldn’t get too indignant when it happens against us. This is sport.

And so what worries me much more is two things. One, that our players are so very short of what is required. Two, my endless worry about this campaign, my articulated worry around this season — that every top six side and manager is psyched for Liverpool home and away. The game you need to work hardest, the game you need to be smartest. The game. The one to watch.

All that to one side to deal with one. Dejan Lovren was fucking shite, wasn’t he.? Absolutely shite. A teensy bit better than fucking shite — Emre Can. A teensy bit better than a teensy bit better than fucking shite — Joel Matip. And by Christ do I need the Liverpool goalkeeper to give me something.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 22, 2017: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool manager), Simon Mignolet (L), James Milner (L), Joe Gomez (L) walk off at the end of the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

In fact, the finest review of this game right now is the fact that I would start Danny Ward, Trent Alexander-Arnold and therefore Joe Gomez at centre half next weekend. I would just, right now, in this moment burn everything the fuck down.

And my kecks haven’t even been pulled down.

Philippe Coutinho was an absolute mess for Liverpool today. A state. He was so very poor. But he gets that one, it is allowed; every player has a poor game here and there. That was his. He can have that one to a certain extent but the sheer lack of grabbing the game does knock on.

The rest can have a little look. Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah both probably get a shrug, not least that they hook up for that goal. But that goal is as infuriating as anything. Henderson plays a fantastic ball for the goal because that is what you have to do to score for Liverpool.

To score against Liverpool you just have to wait for your gifts. Gifts can come in abundance. For the first Simon Mignolet, Lovren and Matip make it easy. For the second, Lovren makes an absolute show of himself. For the third Can is at 6s, 7s and 8s. All over the place. Then a terrible header. The fourth had Mignolet coming for no reason anyone can understand followed by Harry Kane just turning it in. Tottenham are a good side but, bar one neat Kane ball and tidy Heung-Min Son finish, what do they have to do well to get their goals?

I wish there was an easy story, an easy line. There was a neat bit of wrapping up. There isn’t. Liverpool need to now pull themselves together. Two big games come and they need six points. But they also need a plan, a thought process. They need to know what their A to B is. In short there aren’t many positives other than our gaffer now finds himself under no illusions. That’s the end of “one”.

“Two” is deeper. If you mark yourself out as the side who takes the most points from the top six battle by a distance; an absolute distance, then watch out. Watch out that what happens is that you are in every manager’s top three opponents they want results from. Watch out what happens when you are everyone’s toughest game. We are everyone’s toughest game before a ball is kicked.

That’s a problem because this is a league full of clever coaches and clever men and players with pride. Liverpool are the scalp you want. Why? Because you never got them last year. Because every puzzle has a solution.

The next two league games are enormous now and must win. Liverpool need all three points. In this thing of ours we know it can slip away and today it did. Today it had our kecks down. It can’t happen again any time soon.

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  1. Having faith with players that are nowhere near good enough for Liverpool football club is negligence at the highest order it was totally avoidable and pretty much straight forward get rid of bad players and replace them with good players

  2. nothing to say

  3. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for the writeup, painful as it was to write/read.

    Some bad performers today, not least Lovren, Matip and Mignolet.
    For those that argue that VVD won’t help due to our open system – well,
    today refutes that. These were individual errors, not systemic.

    However(1), I do feel that we need 3 new top quality centrehalves and maybe
    a top level keeper (unless Ward/Karius step up).

    However(2), I certainly think it would help if the ‘6’ was more of an orthodox
    holding ‘6’, and that only one attacking fullback is selected per game ie Klein(when fit)
    and Moreno or Milner/TAA. Denfensive FB slots in to a 3-at-the-back and offensive
    one provides the width.

    We desperately need 6 pts over the next two games. Or we’ll have to win the CL/EL to re-qualify!


    ps: you just know that when we think we’ve turned a corner (ie players and manager giving it large
    to the Press ….after beating a pub team), we’ll come crashing down.

    • Well said. However, we can’t get the 3 CB’s now….Klopp just has to work with what he has. It’s time for him to embrace orthodoxy and solidity, instead of fixing square pegs in round holes. Shore up the midfield to protect the defense better by using a double pivot; get Coutinho or Firmino to play no. ’10’ with Salah and Mane wide. Utilise Sturridge as the CF; permanently get rid of Lovren and Mignolet from the starting 11. PERMANENTLY!!

  4. Strange angle to take. The manager took his own kecks down in the summer. What has happened since is so very, very predictable. Dele Ali, Alderwatsit, Eriksen, all players we could have picked up before that too.

    Not blaming Matip for the second. It wasn’t a great header, sure, but where the fuck were the other 9 players? It is not like we had time to break before the whistle went.

    Salah’s decent though, isn’t he?

  5. Last week it was Klopp moaning about the parked bus. This week an expansive, open Spurs team who have much more quality than Maribor, carved us open with the same type of approach.

    Today’s game to me indicates that maybe it isn’t the team, defense or attack, but maybe Klopp needs to adapt to the team for once. The game has exposed the following for me:

    1. Lovren playing through a cocktail of pain killers as he said in his interview, but nobody is fucking listening, including Klopp, I think does have side effects on your judgement at work.

    2. Klopp seems convinced we don’t need a proper striker. Firmino is not Aubameyang and forget Dortmund now. Those were diamonds in the rough against a one horse race league, and Bayern blinked in between.

    3. Players out of position again and we are not a balanced team. Henderson is not a DM. He never will be at the levels Klopp needs him to be and lead the team at the same time under high pressured situations. Hendo is spurning his chance to develop up front which is where he thrived in the past. I feel bad for him and the Ox as I still have no idea what he is doing at Liverpool.

    4. The team as a whole could have done the job, but tactics needs to change to adapt to the team’s level. They are not the level of Barca or RM. Running fast does not qualify either as Moreno and Joe Gomez also run fast like Salah and Mane.

    If Jurgen wants this to happen like he succeeded with Dortmund in the EPL you have to buy the finished article for the spine and then some, but also have to adapt your approach to some degree. You cannot convert every player into a superstar. Imagine how good Coutinho would become in the company of Messi and Suarez who would immediately raise his game?

    5. Arsenal and Maribor results flattered to deceive at best. Problem lies with Klopp thinking too highly of this team, and must dial down his expectations and approach.

    6. Mane, Adam Lallana and Clyne are missed but so were Spurs other important players, so I don’t think them being in it would have a massive difference if everyone was fit on both sides. Spurs and Poch are miles ahead of Klopp and LFC now. They are showing it on the pitch.

    7. Lastly I would fire John Atcherburg. That guy’s garbage on the evidence of all our goalkeepers since he has come in. I am still waiting for anyone, including TAW, who can tell me what exactly he has done for Liverpool goalkeepers?

    Next up the mighty Huddersfield who beat United’s parked bus. There wasn’t much of a response since City beating us, and now another top 6’er has done us in.

    I’m not expecting too much now, just damage control until January to maybe get a proper striker more than that all-saving defender like VVD, because we are top-heavy and might as well go for it.

  6. He’s got January to sort it out. If he doesn’t and we don’t make too 4…….Time to be ruthless, Jurgen.

  7. A few points to make after a very dispiriting (non) display:
    1. No point moaning now about what we should have done in the summer. Yes, I feel the exact same way but it can’t be changed now.
    2. Lovren is getting savaged and with some justification but if he’s on half a gallon of painkillers every match, I’d have some sympathy for him. The real issue is why he’s being put through that if he’s knacked.
    3. Even allowing for all these issues, it’s utterly demoralising knowing that if we ship the first goal – particularly an early one – to decent opposition, we’re basically screwed. I love the attacking football philosophy and JK must be true to himself, but he’s proven in some matches that he can go tight and cagey. I just think too often individual errors are undermining any game plan that is in place. What’s worse is that heads then fall off.
    4. The manager needs to stay put and anyone calling for him to go has probably overdosed on Lovren’s meds. He’s made mistakes, he’s making quite a few at this moment in time, but if he shagged off, who, exactly, are we going to get in? I’d love to see Xabi looking stylish on the touchline, mint, ace, etc but let’s give it a few years, right? Top managers aren’t a dime a dozen, and Klopp is very much a top manager.
    5. The next window needs some serious, un-LFC-like, unKlopplike mega splurging. We need to tighten the fuck up, change the formation, give Robertson and Trent and Marko a go, something, anything, to reignite the season and keep the show on the road until we can get some reinforcements in, and if we have to overspend, then maybe we should. As if we don’t, and the season plunges down the plughole, it’ll be harder again to get the best in the summer.

    • 2. Because his back up is Klavan (see 1.)
      4. Still can’t believe people are seriously talking about this, even given the poor results. Pull yourselves together people.

  8. Starts with a keeper who can command and make sensible decisions. Because he is so erratic in his decision making the centre halves are nervous .

    Why did he come out for the first? Madness all or nothing keeping. The 3rd he oush s the team too far up and then stays on his line,

    For the 4th he says nothing to his players and flaps unchallenged. Happening too often for me and he is always involved negatively.

    Lovren has been hooked twice because his head goes. This should not be ignored anymore.

    Problem is that we now have get on with what we have got until January. No good demanding change as the personnel are not available

  9. Not sure why we expect him to change much in January. He’s had plenty of chances to sign decent defenders or a decent keeper up to this point but hasn’t bothered his bollox.

    The difference between last February game and today’s is that Spurs went on to finish 2nd. Currently, I’m struggling to see this Liverpool team finish top 4.

    • I think he signed, or got recommended, players he thought were better than they have turned out to be.

      He has pretty much bought a new defence since he’s been here – Klavan, Karius, Matip, Robertson and obviously wanted Van Dijk.

      The problem is the 4 we got in cost about the same in total as Oxlade-Chamberlain’s right leg….and that is criminal for me. You can maybe get 1 bargain, to try and cheat the system with 4 is madness. And that Is Michael Edwards.

      • Those 4 cost approx £17mil.
        Only one of them is a regular starter.
        2 of them were on the bench and yet not one of them came off it despite the shambolic defending we were being forced to watch.
        So the defenders that start aren’t good enough and the ones he’s bought himself on the bench don’t have his trust.
        Neither did TAA.

  10. If I’d offered you at the start, nine games in, Liverpool ninth, behind Watford, Burnley and Newcastle … would you’ve ripped my hand off? So much for the unique attacking menace posed by LFC, with 14 goals: City have fired in 32 down to Watford on 15; and Rafa is showing what you can do to a defence with clear thinking and (probably) a shit load of oppo-targeted drills … eight conceded, with nine for Dyche, compared to the three-ring circus on 16. I thought Phil was okay, Neil, he ran his legs off and had to drop deep too often.

  11. I would make changes for next week’s game. Ward as goalie. Gomez at centre half. Drop Can and sell him in January. He comes across as a player who thinks he can play when he likes. He was so disappointing in the lead up to the third goal. Move Hendo forward and bring in Grujic as a holding midfield player.

  12. If anyone seriously thinks that Klopps going to go out in January and spend 150m on a striker and CB then their diluded. This issue isn’t something new, it’s been like this for years now and he’s not done anything about it. I love Klopp but my god he’s trying my patience at the moment

  13. The reason van Dijk would help is simply because he commands and is positionally sound. He wins everything in the air and would never ever ever ever make the errors Lovren made today.

    I’m also of the opinion that next week I’d play Ward, Trent and Gomez. Who gives a fuck? Do it. Gomez is of course a centre-back by trade. Just play him there. If bullshit like today goes unpunished it becomes the norm. You could argue it already has.

    • I’d agree Dan. How the fuck could it be worse? Mad isn’t it that Albie gets a free pass? How the fuck can a player who was bombed out be our most solid defender?
      Klopp HAS to accept responsibility for being too faithful, too loyal to utter dogshit in defence. Carra nailed it when he said 4 of Rogers back 5 are still playing. The VVD fuckup is not the be all and end all of our problems. Ward is the only keeper to not fuck up royally. Give him a chance to remove the doubts either way. Jo Go is supposed to be a CB let him have a go. Trent is either ready or not. I’d say he is. And I don’t care if Robertson plays ahead of Moreno or not. And yes I’d give Matip the benefit of the doubt as painful as that is to say. Personally I think Gini’s unsung bit and pieces play was badly missed today. Çan was lacking hugely. I don’t know if it’s this Juve shite but if that’s it. Then fuck off son. I don’t want primadonna shite thanks. That’s also painful to say as I think, thought, his potential is huge. The others? How the fuck do you keep your head on your shoulders when that’s happening behind you? I’m prepared to cut them slack. Christ, I even see the irony in that. I’m berating Klopp for misplaced loyalty but am prepared to offer it to our front five. I don’t know, my head is kettled. A real fear is emerging again that if this goes south then where the fuck do we go next? Who’s better equipped than Klopp to sort out our dysfunctionality ? This result coming when it does, leaves us questioning our very identity again when we should be embracing the positives of our attacking brio. I’m articulating my real fear that we are teetering on the edge of the last chance saloon here. It’s high stakes stuff. We are not shite. But we have shitehawks playing for us. How to sort it? I don’t know. I’m just a fan. I have faith in Klopp’s intelligence. I hope he can now be absolutely fucking ruthless in dragging us back to an acceptable level.
      Up the poxy, infuriating,shite-at-the-back Reds.

      • Albie didn’t put a foot wrong today and was one of our best outlets in attack. One of the only (very slight) positives along with Salah and Chamberlain.

        • I agree with you Tom C. Albie is simply being thrown under the bus because us fans are emotionally charged to scalp someone for today’s game.

          Everyone off the pitch IMO are the ones responsible for this and need to fix this before things really get out of hand.

          Today was just an eye-opener for all fans, and hopefully Klopp for his sake and the club’s sake.

      • I share many of the same fears. I do believe Klopp can do this but he’s got to sort the wheat from the chaff as soon as possible and be ruthless like you say.

        That’s got to be it for Lovren. I bear the guy no ill-will whatsoever, but he’s just not of the standard we need and cannot realistically get there.

        I worry for our attackers. As the ratings article mentioned, imagine playing in front of those defenders and knowing that, no matter what you do, they’ll contrive to undo it.

  14. Spot on about Ward and TAA getting a game …. in his assessment today, Neville said if you consistently make errors for a top team you get dropped but not seemingly at Liverpool.

  15. Klopp is deluded, he has showed that with his belief that he can make some of the players better. Lovren, mignolet, karius, ox, Henderson, none of them will be good enough to play against top teams like man city, and Tottenham. He either has an enormous ego or he has weird ideas. I have just read that if we sell courtinho deulofeu is top of his list to replace him. I simply cannot believe that and I despair. What is wrong with the man. Nobody wanted ox but we got him. He,s a decent player just not an improvement on anyone we already had. I watched deulofeu at Everton until he was dropped. He is bone idle, and did little or nothing to improve anyone’s chances. He is at Barcelona because Everton did not want to buy him. Okay, he is at the moment doing well for them but at Liverpool he would be as complacent as he was at Everton. If I was courtinho I would be insulted. Having said that, he won,t be such a loss now because I do n,t think he cares about Liverpool any more. We won,t buy a striker in January because Klopp won,t admit that we need one. Firming is good but how many off days does he have. Chan is pathetic and the only people who are consistently good are Lallana, mane and salau. I think we should buy southhamptons scout and cut out the middle man!

  16. At the very least, we need to change shape. Back to a 4-2-3-1 or a diamond. Something needs to change because the chemistry is not what it should be. Can’t really think rationally. Normally, I’m the one who is arguing with the ones who go on a fume far too easily, but this is all too deserving of a proper fume. If we lose or draw against Huddersfield, it will get well and truly ugly because this was car crash that could be seen miles ahead, but nothing was done.

    And I thank the stars for your writing, Neil, but you could work on your oxford commas. But at a time like this, who gives a fuck?

  17. well put again Neil!! surely enough is enough now, i am sick to the belly of watching us gift wrap goals for the opposition! i mean Kane is good but Sky Sports today made him out to be the worlds greatest player!! As bad as Matip was today i truly believe we have a player there, i feel for the him as he must be looking around every week thinking how the f**K does he get a game next to me??!! and to make matters worse he looks over his shoulder and sees coco the clown!! I still believe in Klopp but i am losing my patience, to not have brought in reinforcements defensively is bordering on negligent… and while i love Klopp he has to take the criticism for that! I just hope today is our nadir, if he can get players in, in January then all may not be lost!!

  18. John Stefan

    Sorry, Hendo is rubbish. Today he provided no shielding of defence and his thru ball was a deflection. Get rid

    • I watch the guy week in week out and yes he offers the odd decent pass as he did today for Salah, and yes he runs around and tries to be effective, but he is just a squad player at a top club or a regular at a mid table club. How he is our captain is beyond me as he neither leads by example or by personality, he is average and meek not what we should have to put up with. Would any top side want him as their captain and certain starter – no.

      • @Frankie @John Stefan Hendo has not developed his game in the position where he was doing well before which is attacking mid. I think he could have improved above being just a squad player.

        His attitude might be to do his job and the manager rewards him with the captain’s armband. This might be the right thing in the short term, but you need to know your limits and strong points as well can call it for your own career.

        In addition, the demands for the type of game Klopp plays doesn’t match Henderson’s ability in that position and to lead the team. It’s a big ask at this point. Hendo’s not great by any means and yes he might not get into Barcelona or City first eleven, but I think if he had developed his game in the right position, he could be a squad player there. That’s me being generous.

        Klopp is trying this Dortmund position conversion on every player and I don’t think it is working with Henderson, add to it the pressure of being a captain, and he may be thinking I have to live up to Stevie G’s rep now.

        I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, in team talks, meetings, etc, but if I was Henderson I would just say “Klopp my man, I’m not cut out for the DM position and I would like to play up front with the attack where I am probably more useful, as I want to develop into a world class player and captain too.”

        Too often a football manager’s ambition outweighs that of his players, when the manager has gained success. I hope Klopp realizes this and tries Hendo in the right position.

    • Did you actually watch the game? It was dire and their is plenty of blame to go around but I don’t get it being pointed at Henderson. Two set piece goals and two fuck-ups by Lovren. Spurs offered very little in attack (because they didn’t have to), peak Mascherano would have made absolutely no difference to the result.

      • *there

      • Tom, there would always be those who have a vendetta against Henderson, finding ways to blame him for bad results even when he hadn’t done much wrong. Sad to see.

        • John Stefan

          As there will always be those fans who ignore any of hendos failings. Equally sad . Judge him on current form – extremely poor… not even average.

          • Henderson isn’t world class, yes. He has his poor moments but this season he has had more good games and more impact than Gini (no goal, no assist), and he has been as good as Can (whose form is currently as bad as Gini’s)

            Henderson is by no means the worst of our midfielders. He also plays much deeper than the others so I don’t understand how people expect a holding midfielder to always rescue us a game. None of the goals conceded yesterday was his fault. And the only goal we scored was as a result of his superb through ball. But yeah, keep slagging away with agenda driven bias.

  19. The narrative that we are the team to beat for all the top six teams is masking the point. We were simply useless today, it’s hard to tell how good they were when we were so bad

    • I didn’t think Spurs were THAT good. I didn’t think we were generally THAT bad. But the defending – Jesus Christ.

  20. It’s a pre- requisite for players in any sport to have some kind of awareness of what’s going on around them.
    The Spurs players seemed to be invisible to Lovren, Matip and Mignolet.And that’s quite a serious problem! And it’s not one you can rectify with a blackboard and chalk.

  21. PoorScouserTomo

    Klopp is too blame for an awful lot of this shite.FSG deffo gave him that surprise early lifr changing new deal to “shush” the fact that the owners are gonna spend fuck all on this team!

    Hes playing a player every week who is off to Juve by looks of it.Playing A lad who came to play in Cans position out wide were he did at Arsenal.A slow CM too who was actually better at left back and the entire Forward line dont trust the defence.

    Were in a right fucking mess!!!!

  22. Worst thing is that even if we spend all our budget on defenders and a goalie in the summer, can is off on a free, Phil is probably off to Barca and mane,Salah and Keita are off to afcon!!! January 2019 could be fucking miserable

    • January 2019 is still far off buddy. And the Afcon is no longer in January during the season. It has now being rescheduled for the summer of 2019 after the season and would be so for subsequent editions.

    • You’re looking a little bit far ahead there, mate.
      We may not even have Klopp as manager by January 2019…

  23. My word Davison Sanchez would have been a great buy for LFC over the summer …

  24. Let’s be honest, it always felt like a house of cards that could crumble down at any moment. And boy has it crumbled.

    Let’s say we need to raise funds tomorrow, so have a quick fire sale. All our players up to the highest bidder. Who goes where?

    Couts goes to Barca, Salah gets a decent move, Mane defo does, Lallana…maybe. Can goes to Juve because he’s cheap. Does any other senior player move up a level?

    Our back 5 don’t get into any other top 6 side. Not one of them.

    This is where we are? The neutral knows. If we constantly have to highlight what Hendo does to justify his captaincy, then – quite simply – he isn’t doing enough. He needs to do more, more consistently.

    It’s worrying but we need quality, 3 in Jan, a few more in the summer.

    Until Jan, just solidify at the back, change the system and try and grind out results.

  25. I love Liverpool and always will.

    I love TAW too. Listening to the podcast last night was raw emotion. Looking forward to the next 2-3 podcasts on this game.

    The simple fact that we can’t get away from is how many of our players would get into other top six teams?

    We used to have Reina, Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso and Torres.

    Clemence, Hansen, Souness, Dalglish and Rush.

    Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy.

    We have been playing without a striker for two years. Probably a left back who might not get into most Championship squads.

    I love Klopp too and I am a believer. I can see it coming. Oh – I can almost touch it.

    Remember last year when we had to win so many games and keep so many clean sheets towards the end?

    So, we can do it and we can do better.

    But I ask again, how many of our players could get into the top six teams?

  26. Maybe our problem is that we are wanting a Messiah when what we need is a Herod…

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