Premier League: Rating the Tottenham Hotspur Players Against Liverpool
Having deservedly come back from a goal down, Tottenham took their foot off the gas and allowed an ineffectual looking Reds side back into the game with a series of errors. The situation was not helped by Andre Villas-Boas' baffling failure to make changes when his team desperately needed it.
The performance bore a worrying resemblance to Spurs' capitulation to Arsenal just over a year ago. Villas-Boas and his men will be desperate not to replicate the capitulation that followed that loss. How they respond to this first league defeat since December could come to define their top four challenge. Before we get to that, here is how the Spurs players rated at Anfield on Sunday.
Goalkeeper and Defense
Hugo Lloris (6.5)
Lloris was put in a dreadful situation by Kyle Walker for Liverpool's second goal, and he was unlucky not to get to the ball before Stewart Downing. Prior to that point he had mopped up well for Tottenham and will be more frustrated than most at the failure of his teammates to keep things quiet for him.
Kyle Walker (6)
The backpass that led to Downing's goal marred what had been an otherwise good performance from Walker. Though Philippe Coutinho had given him some problems early on, the right-back soon rendered him ineffective and made some good runs forward. Walker's error showed poor judgement at a point when Spurs needed calmer heads, and proved very costly.
Michael Dawson (7)
Like his team, Dawson grew into the game and played his part in denying Liverpool leeway for a large part of the game. Some of his passing was iffy prior to and after this spell, though that was as much to do with the lack of options in front.
Jan Vertonghen (8)
Vertonghen was once again superb and deserved more for his individual efforts than his teammates gave him. The defender showed great positioning for his two goals, and alongside Dawson snuffed out much of Liverpool's forward play.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (5.5)
The left-back was a little unlucky with the penalty he gave away. He made minimal contact with Luis Suarez, but perhaps should know better than to give the Uruguayan any hint of an opportunity to fall over. Overall Assou-Ekotto was largely quiet. Though not severely tested, he did not contribute much for Spurs and some of his distribution was poor.
Mousa Dembele (7.75)
Dembele was bordering on excellent for the first hour. After Spurs' slow start he helped drive his team forward, skipping between Liverpool challenges with a determined gracefulness. Most of his team's best moves came through the Belgian as he ran the game from his position out right. Soon after Spurs went ahead Dembele's influence waned as he grew tired and Liverpool began to dominate the midfield.
Jake Livermore (5.5)
A big chance for the young midfielder did not start well when he let Suarez get away from him for Liverpool's opener. Livermore improved after, was steady in possession and quick to close down the opposition. As Tottenham fell away so did he, his laxness on the ball not boding well for future opportunities in midfield.
Scott Parker (6.75)
A good effort from Parker for a large part of the game, his energy and positive use of the ball played its part in a period Spurs began to dominate. As did too his instincts in quickly robbing Liverpool as they looked to advance. The central midfielder grew sloppier in possession in the last 30 minutes though, and looked increasingly tired as the Reds took hold of the match.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (6.5)
Sigurdsson will be cursing his effort that hit the post with Tottenham 2-1 up, had it gone in they may have had the game won. Quiet to begin with, the midfielder involved himself as the game went on and linked up nicely in some good moves. After a while though his flank was in need of a semblance of pace and penetration he could not provide.
Tottenham were crying out for Carroll's movement and quick-passing even before Liverpool equalized. The momentum that had been gaining went they went into the lead soon dissipated, and Carroll would have been most useful in helping them keep hold of the ball. That Villas-Boas failed to bring him on until the 90th minute will count as a failure on the Portuguese's part.
Holtby saw little of the ball in his short time on the pitch. Like Carroll, he should have been brought on much sooner when Spurs were still in the game. The vitality of the German could have proved crucial in maintaining his team's energy on the pitch.
Gareth Bale (7.25)
Two great assists from Bale for Vertonghen continued his contribution to Tottenham goals. Liverpool had ably closed him down early on, but the Welshman began to find more space and his lively involvement played its part in Spurs' comeback. Arguably Villas-Boas might have been better served playing him out wide in Aaron Lennon's absence, especially late on when he saw increasingly little of the ball. When it did come away he was overly flash when consideration was needed in his team's desperate search for a foothold back into the game.
Jermain Defoe (5.25)
A little patience should be exhibited given Defoe is feeling his way back in from injury, but Spurs could do with Defoe finding his early form again soon. It was difficult for him with little service for long periods of time. Some of his control was poor though, and it cost his team in the build-up to Liverpool's penalty and third goal, when the ball got away from him.