Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool shared the spoils at the White Hart Lane on Saturday with goals from Danny Rose and James Milner.
Liverpool looked the more threatening of two sides from the outset, but Tottenham grew into the game and began creating opportunities for themselves. Michel Vorm made a number of stellar saves in the Spurs goal but could do very little to stop James Milner’s penalty.
It looked like Liverpool would hold on for a precious away victory, but Spurs left-back decided to spoil Jurgen Klopp’s party as he galloped forward to score a precious equaliser for his side. There weren’t to be any more goals as the side’s settled for a point apiece.
Here are TheHardTackle’s takeaways from the contest:
Mane showed Liverpool what they have been missing
Liverpool completed the signing of Sadio Mane from Southampton this summer for an audacious fee of £35 million. At the time, it seemed that Jurgen Klopp had overpaid for his man as he wasn’t expected to reap any high rewards.
But with only two Premier League appearances under his belt for the Reds, the Senegalese already is looking like the real deal. His immense pace coupled with his ability to dribble has made him on the first players on Klopp’s team sheet.
Last season Liverpool players were often given slack for wanting the ball at their feet and not making too many forward runs in order to receive the pass. But with Mane, they finally have got the player who is willing to play his heart on his sleeve for the entire course of the game.
Even on Saturday against Spurs, it was another breathless performance from the 24-year-old. Danny Rose – one of the better full backs in the country – failed to deal with Mane throughout the game. The Liverpool winger constantly kept moving forward and even found the back of the net, but it was controversially ruled out for offside.
James Milner is more than happy to deputise as a left-back
Due to Alberto Moreno’s abysmal performances at left-back last season, many expected Klopp to find a replacement for him in the transfer market. But, the German opted not to bring in a full-back and decided to deputise James Milner as a left-back.
It was another sublime performance from the Englishman on Saturday who constantly dealt with the threat of Erik Lamela down the right. Not only was he resolute defensively, he also made a number of forward runs and worked in tandem with Coutinho and Lallana down Liverpool’s left.
The multi-dimensional player also found the back of the net as he calmly slotted home a penalty to give his side the lead on the stroke of half-time. In the post-match interview, he suggested that he is more than happy to play where the manager needs him to.
Harry Kane continues to fire blanks in front of goal
After ending last season as the leading goal scorer in the league, Tottenham striker Harry Kane went into the European Championships with his head held high. However, he failed to replicate his performances for his nation and ended the tournament without opening his account.
Unfortunately for him, his performances this season too, have been identical to what they were in France. Kane is failing to find space inside the box, is struggling to hold on to the ball, and is undoubtedly looking like a shadow of his former self.
Against Liverpool, he was constantly kept in check by Dejan Lovren and he rarely managed to get the better of the Serbian. Vincent Jannsen who was playing off Kane, failed to create an understanding with the English striker, which led to Spurs’ undoing. Luckily, they managed to come out with a point, but Kane really has to step up his act if Tottenham are to challenge for the title.
Michel Vorm steps up to the party
With Hugo Lloris out with a hamstring injury, the onus was on second-choice keeper Michel Vorm to put in a stellar performance, and that is exactly what he did. The Dutch stopper was on his toes throughout the game and kept coming off his line to make crucial clearances.
He also pulled off two miraculous saves from the shots of Coutinho, and was arguably the best player on the field for Tottenham. He executed the role of a sweeper keeper to perfection and marshaled his back line with prowess. Solid game from the second-choice goalkeeper.
Philippe Coutinho has a game to forget
After getting off to a flyer on the opening weekend against Arsenal, Coutinho did not impress against Spurs. Known to be a creative workhorse down the left for Liverpool, the Brazilian did virtually nothing to set up chances for his teammates.
In the first half, Coutinho found himself at point-blank range after Firmino squared the ball perfectly into his stride. But the 24-year-old did not seem to have his shooting boots on as he scuffed the shot in the hands of Michel Vorm. It was one of his worst performances yet in a Liverpool shirt.