Five talking points from Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool
Danny Rose cancelled out James Milner’s first-half penalty with a second-half equaliser as Spurs drew 1-1 with Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Here are five talking points.
With the transfer deadline only days away, the list of absentees was probably more interesting than the roster of players that were present at White Hart Lane.
Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, Nacer Chadli and Clinton Njie were all missing, with 20-year-old central midfielder Harry Winks and 19-year-old attacking midfielder Josh Onomah being named on the bench instead.
Most notably, 18-year-old centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers was preferred to Kevin Wimmer, despite Mauricio Pochettino confirming in Thursday’s press conference that Wimmer was available for selection.
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It would be very surprising if the Austria international was sold now, having signed a new five-year contract just last month. It may be that he is simply short of fitness after missing the pre-season programme with an injury.
The picture should become clearer in the coming days as Tottenham complete their transfer business and finalise their squad – but their bench looked short of game-changers.
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2. Dele Alli returns
Pochettino used two strikers in last weekend’s home game against Crystal Palace, deploying Harry Kane in the No10 role behind summer signing Vincent Janssen – and there were signs the pair could work well together.
However, that change was largely an enforced one because Alli had been ill during the week. The 20-year-old immediately returned to the starting line-up against Liverpool today so it seems that is still Pochettino’s preferred option, and that a strike partnership between Kane and Janssen will remain a back-up plan.
As it happened, Pochettino had to switch to Plan B after 28 minutes when Kyle Walker left the fray due to illness. With no right-back on the bench, Pochettino moved Eric Dier to right-back and Alli dropped into a deeper-lying role alongside Victor Wanyama, allowing Kane to operate as the No10 behind Janssen again. Dier ended up delivering the cross for Rose’s equaliser.
3. Michel Vorm’s heroics
Tottenham’s No2 goalkeeper hasn’t always been the most consistent and reliable deputy, but he performed admirably, making a fine save from Philippe Coutinho early on and then rushing of his line to make two important sliding tackles on Sadio Mane – although the Liverpool man was offside anyway on the second occasion.
The Dutchman could do little about Milner’s penalty and that is the only goal he has conceded since replacing Hugo Lloris at Everton on the opening day.
4. Spurs are below-par but battle for a point
Similarly to that clash against Everton – which also ended 1-1 - Tottenham were poor in the first half before waking up after the interval.
For an hour, crossfield balls were overhit, simple passes went astray and the Lilywhites’ main goal threats struggled to get into the game. Mousa Dembele continues to be missed as Spurs struggled to control possession and build pressure.
But, 15 minutes after the break, Christian Eriksen shot wide and Simon Mignolet had to flick Erik Lamela’s free kick over the bar before tipping Toby Alderweireld’s header around the post. Rose’s equaliser then followed in the 72nd minute.
Spurs did well to rouse themselves and get a result after looking second best for much of the game, but they could do with being quicker out of the blocks.
5. Refereeing decisions
Bobby Madley’s calls increasingly incensed the home crowd. Mane could have been given a second yellow card in the first half for a challenge on Rose, and when Erik Lamela clipped Roberto Firmino to concede a penalty, the contact was just outside the box.
The home fans’ ire reached a crescendo in the second half when Madley ignored a seemingly blatant push on Kane from behind before awarding a free kick to Liverpool moments later.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs