I’ve seen quite a few people say it was a fair result……..I don’t agree. I don’t think Mignolet made any saves that I wouldn’t expect from any Premier League standard goalkeeper and I don’t think Spurs missed many chances. We, on the other hand, had twice as many shots inside the penalty area, Sturridge’s one-on-one and his header were two guilt edged chances you have to score at this level. Missed chances have cost us in these last two games, at 2-0 against Southampton Allen should be putting the game out of reach and in this game Sturridge’s misses were costly.
Coutinho was pretty poor first half, misplacing simple passes, free-kicks that missed every player and went straight to the keeper, lofted corners etc etc but still managed to produce a couple of moments of magic, the through ball to Sturridge being one of them. Second half he was fantastic and the link up play between our forwards was great to watch at times. The goal was fantastic movement and passing from the front three, Coutinho has the ball in the inside left position and Sturridge drops into space between two players to receive a pass. Alderweireld has to push up to mark Sturridge and Lallana moves into the space vacated by Alderweireld which forces Wimmer to leave his position of LCB and follow Lallana, this gives space for Coutinho to run into and receive the ball from Sturridge to side foot home. It was delicious movement and looked like something that might have come off the training ground.
Sturridge continues to worry. The Sturridge of two years ago would have destroyed a team coming to Anfield playing such a high line but this version looks uncomfortable in his body. He didn’t seem willing to run the channels and get behind the Spurs defence, the one time he tried, he was one on one with Lloris and missed the chance. I still think he’s trying to get confidence in his body back but watching him constantly refusing to sprint or chase balls is becoming a worry. If one of our players had played the same pass to him that Erikson chased down and crossed for their equaliser, I think he would have let it go out for a goal kick.
Defensively we looked shaky at times without looking too likely to concede. Sakho seemed to be playing a different game first half and was often bailed out by either Lovren or Can. It looked to me as if Spurs targeted both Sakho and Clyne when in possession for a lot of the game, both were guilty of losing the ball when pressed. Sakho is the most comfortable on the ball of all our defenders but I’m not sure he likes being pressed or when he hasn’t got time. I thought Lovren was superb first half, covering the entire back four and even making a tackle in the left back position at one point. One thing worth looking at is how he lets the player he’s marking receive a pass and then hit them with a tackle as soon as they’ve received the ball. It’s a high risk strategy that I think ultimately cost as a goal as I think he wants to challenge Kane as soon as he receives the ball but Kane makes a very clever turn. I agree Lovren shouldn’t be letting him turn like that in the area but for me that goal is 70% due to Kane’s brilliance.
Midfield continues to look one paced with the Can, Henderson and Milner trio. All three players need too many touches to control and then distribute the ball and against a Spurs team who press so aggressively you just don’t have that time and space. Spurs were on top in this area of the pitch all game and it’s an area I expect us to improve next season.