After the momentous victory over Arsenal at the weekend, Tottenham slumped to defeat at Anfield, as Liverpool battled to a 3-2 home victory. Spurs dropped to sixth in the table as a result of the game, with lethargic performances and sloppy mistakes contributing to this disappointing evening.
Spurs did however begin the game brightly. Mousa Dembeélé made the first of many exciting runs into the Liverpool half, with his quick turn of pace giving Spurs some real hope going forward. The Belgian midfielder has turned a new leaf in recent weeks, with his new attacking role behind the striker allowing him to move with the freedom he initially showed under Andre Villas-Boas.
With some intelligent build-up play, Pochettino’s side continued to enjoy a vast amount of first-half possession. A Danny Rose effort sailing wide came as a flawed conclusion to Erik Lamela’s well-fought pass, with Harry Kane battling hard to provide his side with the lead.
Despite some early saves, Hugo Lloris was to play the biggest part in the Liverpool opener. Ryan Mason was unlucky at the other end not to find the net, but on the counter-attack, Liverpool found the lead. Lazar Marković scored his first goal at Anfield, giving Liverpool a perhaps unfair advantage over Spurs. Hugo Lloris was left looking at the ground in despair, as an apparent bobble caused the keeper’s weak save to have the undesired affect it was intended to.
With a minor set-back, Tottenham continued to battle hard. Eric Dier showed maturity in making some strong and confident challenges on Daniel Sturridge inside the Spurs box, acting as a stark contrast to his immature performance against the Reds at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, in which he gave away a poor penalty.
Tottenham soon found themselves back in the game, with yet more hard-work from Erik Lamela. Harry Kane scored his 23rd goal of the season, as the striker hit a composed shot past Simon Mignolet, despite the keeper doing his best to block the effort. The sides drew 1-1 at the break.
The second half looked much brighter for Spurs, however they were their worst enemies once again in allowing Liverpool the chance to regain the lead. Danny Rose committed a poor foul inside his own area, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard stepping up to score the penalty.
Facing yet another uphill task, Spurs were back in the game through arguably the man of the match. Christian Eriksen saw his free-kick parried by Mignolet, with Kane’s attempted shot finding its way into the path of Mousa Dembélé, who stabbed home the loose ball. With the sides level once again, Tottenham needed to add pressure to see the game out.
Tiredness crept in as the game progressed, and sloppy mistakes ultimately contributed to Tottenham’s downfall. With bookings being shown all over the pitch, it was clear that Pochettino’s men were becoming increasingly lethargic, with the North London Derby battle commencing just a few days ago. The appearance of Mario Balotelli was to be the crucial blow for Spurs, as the former Manchester City striker poked home the winner for Liverpool. Full time, Liverpool 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2.