They shuffled out of Anfield muttering. “That’s five points we dropped against Bournemouth,” one said. “Bloody sh*te,” said another. This is the Liverpool that fans had hoped they wouldn’t see but still probably half expected. Add those five lost points to Liverpool’s season total and they’d be level on points with Tottenham who are in second. But this is a Liverpool side living down to expectations. There are fewer hypotheticals to the Spurs season.
Earlier, there had been a sense of dread despite the positive – albeit precarious score lines. The Reds were winning 2-1 but retreating. At the Liberty Stadium, Tottenham were 1-0 down against Swansea but advancing.
Liverpool’s problem is that they just cannot keep out the more modest teams in the Premier League whereas Spurs have relentless momentum; they are not in the habit of dropping points against teams they shouldn’t be dropping points against. There is too much defiance in this Tottenham team – imagine, Tottenham defiant – and too much brittleness in Liverpool. And so it proved.
Goals flew in left, right and centre and order was restored. Josh King pegged Liverpool back – playing on their same old defensive failings – and Klopp wanted to vomit.
Eighty-nine minutes had elapsed in south Wales before Spurs first levelled and subsequently overtook Swansea in injury time. It was a night when Spurs stretched the distance between themselves and third-place Liverpool by two points and fourth-place Manchester City by three.
“To create that winning mentality it is about that type of win,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino after. “It’s about belief and character. I think we are in a good way and it is important to show that we learn from last season.
“Today is a good thing because maybe last season it is a game we maybe would have lost. It wasn’t a physical problem, but a mental problem. Today we got the three points because we believed. I’ll always try, I’ll never give up.”