Spurs made 10 changes to the side that drew at Bournemouth for the EFL Cup trip to Anfield. Pochettino was clearly taking the opportunity to rest a few key players and give a couple of younger players a chance. Eric Dier (earning his first start as captain) remained the only player in the starting line up from the last match, as Spurs encountered an equally disrupted Liverpool side.
Despite a reasonably bright start, where we had back-to-back corners, Nkoudou looked to take on Liverpool débuted Trent Alexander-Arnold a couple of times, and Winks, Onomah and Carroll enjoyed some nice early touches, Spurs found themselves behind when an Nkoudou slip allowed Grujic to fire a shot goalwards which was somewhat fortunately deflected into the path of Sturridge who finished smartly over a stumbling Vorm. Sturridge then forced Vorm into a save just minutes later when he attempted to curl one from just inside the area.
Liverpool continued to threaten when Origi somehow broke through five Spurs players on the edge of the area before the ball got squeezed through to Sturridge once more, who scuffed his right footed shot straight at Vorm. Spurs then produced their first real chance in the 21st minute, when Trippier’s wide-right free kick found Janssen at the far post, but the Dutchman couldn’t keep his header down.
Trippier then caused a few more problems, winning another foul in a good position off of Moreno, and minutes later producing crosses for both Janssen and Nkoudou, who both saw their promising efforts blocked. However, Liverpool could have doubled their lead when Grujic found some space in Spurs’ area, but dragged his shot wide.
At half time, Liverpool had been the better team, but this was more down to individual errors by Spurs, who were gifting chances away with sloppy positioning and loose balls. In attack, Janssen was working hard and winning battles, but was struggling to get goalscoring chances. A recurring theme for him so far. Carroll was having little effect on the match and Spurs hadn’t been able to get Nkoudou or Onomah into the match.
Trippier threatened early in the second half as his effort from range dipped just over the bar, following some great hold up play by Janssen. Minutes later Origi stretched Spurs’ defence and put a dangerous ball across goal which Sturridge would have converted had he not completely missed his kick. Vorm was then called into action to deny Sturridge with his feet, then brilliantly tip Origi’s 25 yard drive over the bar.
Liverpool’s second came just after Ben Davies wildly overhit his cross in a promising position, as Liverpool quickly broke and Sturridge beat the offside trap to calmly slot home for his brace. The introduction of Lamela and Wanyama helped slightly, but Liverpool still threatened with a couple of free kicks from just outside the area, the second of which Vorm had to parry away as a result of Wijnaldum’s attempt on goal.
Spurs were then handed a lifeline on 75 minutes when Lucas took a couple of kicks at Lamela’s ankles in the area, and John Moss pointed to the spot. Vincent Janssen stepped up and confidently struck the ball home, and Spurs were now back in the match. Just a few moments later and Lamela was once again brought down in the box, this time by Moreno. Despite the Spaniard seemingly obstructing and bringing down Lamela with his arm, Moss said no foul.
Sturridge then came close to a hat trick when Cameron Carter-Vickers deflected the striker’s prodded shot onto the bar, before Wanyama came close at the other end, beating his man and forcing Mignolet into a low save, which he could easily have spilled to the feet of Janssen.
Spurs were pushing for an equaliser, and they almost found it when Lamela’s superb ball found young striker Shayon Harrison in plenty of space with only Mignolet to beat, but the 19 year old’s first touch let him down and Mignolet collected. Spurs were left open as they pushed for an equaliser, and Danny Ings, who was making his first appearance in over a year, nearly capitalised when he latched on to a ball over the top, but his strike is saved magnificently by Vorm who had kept Spurs in the match in the second half.
There was an uneventful four minutes of added time, and the ref finally brought the match to a close to confirm Spurs’ exit from the EFL cup. Although the performance was lacking, it did offer match experience to a promising set of young players and allowed Spurs to rest players following their busy schedule of late.
Between the sticks –
Michel Vorm: 8/10.
Made plenty of great saves to keep Spurs in it, but could possibly have done better with both of the conceded goals.
Kieran Trippier: 7/10.
Created a lot going forward at times, and was never really caught out in defence.
Cameron Carter-Vickers: 5/10.
A massive test for the 18 year old, and this showed as he couldn’t cope with Sturridge at all.
Kevin Wimmer: 6/10.
Played some nice passes but was ultimately beaten by the likes of Origi and Sturridge far too often.
Ben Davies: 5/10
Not his best performance. Offered nothing offensively, and struggled to deal with Origi.
Eric Dier: 6/10.
Made some nice interceptions and kept things moving on the ball.
Harry Winks: 8/10.
Did very well in the centre of the park, composed on the ball and punches above his weight.
Joshua Onomah: 6/10.
Showed flashes but didn’t impact the game enough. Looked out of position wide right.
Tom Carroll: 5/10.
Was unable to impact the game in his advanced role, and still looks far too weak.
Georges Kevin-N’koudou: 6/10.
Worked hard and attempted to threaten, but never really got the better of his full back.
Vincent Janssen: 8/10.
As strong and hard working as ever, and took his penalty confidently.
Erik Lamela: 8/10.
Won our penalty, could have won another and set up Harrison for our best chance to equalise.
Victor Wanyama: 8/10.
His strength gave away a couple of fouls but he really does look a class act all round.
Shayon Harrison: 5/10.
A massive occasion for him, but didn’t get into the match and fluffed his only chance.
Man of The Match:
Vincent Janssen was the best performer on the night. Received a lot of criticism but barely put a foot wrong, gave his all and scored his penalty. Vorm also a contender, but could have done more, especially for the first goal.
Leicester City at home in the Premier League. Saturday 29th October. Kick off at 15:00.