Tottenham Hotspur – Liverpool: Klopp’s boys roll to win at Wembley with frightening ease (1-2)

In what was supposed to be an even battle between Manchester City’s two main title challengers, Liverpool looked scary good, while some structural problems for Tottenham Hotspur surfaced.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had to adjust a couple of things in his team and formation in one of the first real top fixtures of the Premier League season. His midfield looked iffy in the build-up and in transition from offense to defense in the last two road games against Manchester United (0-3 win) and Watford (2-1 loss). Also, Dele Alli was not available for this crucial early-season clash.

Pochettino tried to solve these two problems - and simultaneously attempted to control the center of the pitch against Liverpool - with a 4-4-2 diamond formation. Moussa Dembélé played as the deep-lying ‘six’, flanked by Eric Dier and Harry Winks, and Christian Eriksen as the playmaking ‘ten’ behind strikers Harry Kane and Lucas Moura.

Situation when Tottenham was building-up

Jürgen Klopp did not make rigorous changes to his side. The only change from the last league at Leicester (1-2 win) was a voluntary one: Jordan Henderson was replaced by Naby Keïta, who played as the midfielder with the most room to creatively roam, whilst Georginio Wijnaldum dropped back to the ‘six’ position - meaning that Liverpool returned to the exact starting eleven in which they comfortably won their first three league games.

Liverpool's formation in possession

Tottenham’s woes: a funky midfield mix and an invisible Kane
The first half basically served as a 45 minute long example that this specific midfield diamond does not work for Tottenham with the current squad. The ‘numerical . . .

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Sam Planting (27) writes for various Dutch media about football (VI Pro, Het Parool, Hard Gras) and does some stats stuff for television. Records ‘De Voetbalpodcast’ with his two best buds. Born and raised in Amsterdam. Former basketball player. Current aficionado of stand-up comedy and rap music. [ View all posts ]

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