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5 talking points from Tottenham Hotspur’s thrilling draw with Liverpool

Over the weekend, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool clashed in North London, and it resulted in one of the most exciting games we’ve seen all season.

Harry Kane gave the hosts the lead in the 13th minute, finishing from Tanguy Ndombele’s through ball for his first home league goal of the season.

But just moments later, the forward found himself lucky to stay on the pitch after a heavy challenge on Andy Robertson.

Liverpool grabbed an equaliser before half time, with Robertson’s cross being converted by Diogo Jota. And after the break, Robertson was involved again, nodding in from close range from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s drilled cross.

But this lead lasted just five minutes. Alisson messed up a clearance, allowing Heung-min Son to tap into an empty net.

While there were no more goals, there was still plenty of action left to come – and Robertson was at the heart of it once again. The Scotsman took a swipe at Emerson Royal and was given his marching orders after a VAR check.

The draw leaves the Reds in second place, three points behind leaders Manchester City. Meanwhile, Spurs are six points off the top four with three games in hand.

Here are five talking points from the game.


It’s never nice to talk about referees after the match, but in this game it is simply unavoidable. Paul Tierney and the VAR team had an absolute shocker.

There were six big decisions throughout the game, with many of them causing quite a stir on social media.

1) Kane’s tackle on Robertson – Kane goes in high on Robertson at speed. His studs are up and he’s out of control. Had the full-back’s leg been planted, he could have ended up seriously injured. (Our verdict: incorrect decision, should have been a red card).

2) Jota’s penalty appeal – Jota steadies himself to shoot in the box and is bundled over by Emerson. The Brazilian’s challenge is clumsy and he doesn’t get the ball. (Our verdict: incorrect decision, should have been a penalty).

3) Harry Winks’ penalty appeal – Bizarrely, this incident hasn’t received much attention. Joel Matip makes a careless challenge on Winks, barging into his back and bringing him down. It’s a clear foul, but it may have been just outside the box. (Our verdict: incorrect decision, should have been a penalty).

4) Dele Alli’s penalty appeal – Alli goes clean through on goal and then goes down under pressure from Alexander-Arnold. There is minimal contact and the midfielder makes the most of it. (Our verdict: correct decision, no penalty).

5) Liverpool’s second goal – In the build-up to Robertson’s goal, the ball strikes Mohamed Salah on the arm. It’s accidental, but the Egyptian perhaps could have prevented it. (Our verdict: 50-50 decision, could have gone either way).

6) Robertson’s red card – After losing the ball, Robertson takes a swipe at Emerson. He is initially given a yellow card, but Paul Tierney upgrades it to a red after a VAR review.

It’s frankly idiotic from the 27-year-old, who really should know better. He can have no complaints with the red card. (Our verdict: correct decision, red card).

However, it raised more questions over Kane’s challenge in the first half, which was not reviewed by VAR. Too early in the game? Reputation? England captain’s privilege? Many people have had their theories.

Harry Kane’s performance

It’s a shame that Kane put in that tackle because it has overshadowed what was his best league performance of the season.

The Englishman produced a fine finish for the goal, could have had a couple more, linked up well with Son, and caused plenty of problems for Liverpool’s backline.

This is the level of performance we’ve come to expect from him over the years, but haven’t seen much of this term.

It wasn’t a perfect game from the striker. He still missed a few good chances – most notably a close-range header in the second half. And yes, he should have been sent off early on.

But a goal against one of Europe’s top sides should do a lot for his confidence. This could be the game that gets him back to his best.

Virgil van Dijk’s absence

Amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the Premier League, Liverpool have had a few key players absent. The most notable of these is Virgil van Dijk.

Aside from the Dutchman, Jurgen Klopp had his full defence available to choose from. But without him, they looked much worse at the back. They conceded twice, and it could have easily been five or six.

Obviously, losing your best defender is going to have an impact. But with Liverpool, the drop is so sharp.

We saw how much they struggled without Van Dijk last season. They will have to hope that he stays fit for the entire campaign.

Liverpool’s starting XI is as good as anyone else’s in the league. However, their lack of depth compared to Manchester City could cost them in the title race.

Dele Alli – one last chance?

It feels like we’ve said this a million times before, but could Dele Alli revive his career at Tottenham?

Whenever a new manager walks in the door at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, we’re always asking about the midfielder. He was sensational as a teenager but has been well below-par during the last few seasons.

On Sunday, the England international showed some signs of improvement. He looked up for it, linked up well, and got himself into good areas. Sure, he squandered two glorious chances, but his display will be encouraging to Antonio Conte.

Alli is 25 now, and this is his seventh season at the Lilywhites. He’s had these short bursts of potential several times over the last few years but hasn’t managed to keep it up.

This may well be his last chance at Spurs, especially with the January transfer window just around the corner.

Antonio Conte’s impact

A few weeks ago, Tottenham probably would have lost that game. Nuno Espirito Santo had this set of players producing consistently dire displays, resulting in numerous poor results.

Since Conte’s appointment at the start of November, Spurs have accumulated 2.2 points per game in the Premier League – the only two sides who can top this figure are Manchester City and Liverpool. If they keep up this form, they will finish inside the top four.

It’s still early days, but the job that the Italian has done in north London has been marvellous so far. They’ll be one to watch this season.

Read also: Marcelo Bielsa’s stubbornness will cost him and Leeds United.

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