Talking Points: Tottenham 1 Liverpool 2

Liverpool maintained their 100% start to the season with a 2-1 victory over Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. Gini Wijnaldum’s first-half header was followed by Roberto Firmino’s goal after the break, and despite Erik Lamela pulling a late goal back for the hosts, it was Jürgen Klopp’s side who managed to hang on and make it five wins from five.

Reds begin ‘Big 6’ fixtures with a win, but must kick on…

Two seasons ago, Liverpool picked up 20 points from a possible 30 in their 10 matches against the other members of the so-called ‘Big 6′. That was a respectable return, but last season this figure dropped to 10 points and featured heavy losses away from home, which is nowhere near good enough to challenge for the title, especially when Man City picked up 24. Thus it is vital that Klopp’s side go back to picking up plenty of points when playing their rivals – ideally at least 20 – and the Reds made the ideal start with three against Spurs. As has been the trend so far this season, Liverpool weren’t at there best but still managed to emerge with the victory. Coming matches against Chelsea and Man City in the League will further test the Reds’ ability to produce positive results against the ‘Big 6’, but having banished the memories of the 4-1 defeat at Wembley last season with the win on Saturday, confidence will be high.

Midfield trio tips balance in Liverpool’s favour…

Naby Keita came into the starting line-up for Jordan Henderson as Klopp’s only change from the win at Leicester, and alongside Wijnaldum and James Milner, helped his side gain total control of the encounter against Spurs. Keita played decent, nothing more and nothing less, but it was Milner and Wijnaldum who were the real stars of the show. Wijnaldum scored his first ever Premier League goal away from home to give the visitors the lead, and has really made the No.6 role his own. While Milner was at the forefront of the ever-effective Liverpool press that gave Mauricio Pochettino’s team no time on the ball in the middle of the park and forced numerous mistakes and misplaced passes from the likes of Eric Dier. Milner was also important in helping out Trent Alexander-Arnold when Lucas Moura moved out to the left wing. Fans have been crying out for Fabinho to make an appearance, but with Keita’s quality and Milner and Wijnaldum in such good form, the Brazilian will just have to wait.

Decision making and finishing proving costly for attack…

There are three factors to attacking – getting into the final third, making the correct final pass/decision and then finishing the chance. Liverpool have had no issue with the first part this season, but the decision making and finishing has been nothing but atrocious. Firmino actually had his best game of the season and is exempt from any blame, but Sadio Mane and Mo Salah were both guilty of passing to the wrong player, shooting when they should’ve passed and not finishing chances on multiple occasions. Let’s not beat around the bush, Liverpool should’ve scored at least six goals against Spurs, and six goals would not have flattered the Reds in the slightest. The fact they still won with Mane and Salah performing so badly is testament to the defence and midfield who yet again made the difference. As we seem to be saying after every match at the moment, let’s hope next game is when we find our scoring boots. Hopefully the fact we are no longer top of the table will act as the wake-up call the attack needs.

Klopp yet to rotate but makes questionable subs again…

As mentioned Keita for Henderson was the only change, and in contrast to the start of last season, Klopp has barely made any tweaks to his team for the opening five games. But such has been made about the Reds’ upcoming tricky fixture list, and thus we will surely see rotation play an important role with the likes of Fabinho, Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri getting more game time. Klopp’s team selection against PSG on Tuesday will give some indications as to how much he will rotate in different competitions this season. However, the team that starts a match is only part of the performance, with those who come off the bench having the chance to make an equally important impact. Supporters have always said that substitutions is one of Klopp’s weaknesses, and he made a couple more questionable changes towards the end of the Spurs match. The attacking change should’ve seen Shaqiri come on, not Daniel Sturridge, and when the latter failed to close down Lamela for Spurs’ goal it only highlighted the mistake in bringing in someone not willing to press. Last season the common change saw Ragnar Klavan come on as the extra defender, and despite it never working, Klopp continues to do the same, now with Joel Matip. Instead of solidifying the defence it only draws more pressure on, and Jürgen needs to work harder on getting his subs correct.

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