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 Posted by Dan Fitch
Aug 31, 2014

Tottenham suffer reality check from Liverpool

That boys and girls, was a wake up call.

Having won four games on the spin -- albeit against poor opposition -- it was easy to forget the problems of last season.

Liverpool made sure that everyone was reminded today. Tottenham's pressing style was undone by Liverpool beating them at their own game. Spurs were swamped when in possession and were never in any sort of control of the game.

After the victory over QPR, I emphasised the positives, despite the clear weakness of the opposition. Today the negatives were made only too clear.

With the attacking midfielders providing no real width, Mauricio Pochettino's system relies on the full-backs getting forward. At Southampton, he had Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne to do just that. As comfortable as Eric Dier is on the ball, he lacks the attacking intent of a Clyne, or Kyle Walker.

In the centre of defence, if is clear that Younes Kaboul is no longer good enough. Michael Dawson may have left Tottenham, but in Kaboul his spectre remains. A once much-loved defender who is now ponderous and prone to hitting aimless long passes upfield to no one in particular.

Christian Eriksen had another quiet game, while deeper in midfield, Nabil Bentaleb and Etienne Capoue were smothered by their Liverpool counterparts.

Most worrying was the performance of Emmanuel Adebayor. He did not seem interested today, clearly finding the task of getting back onside too taxing, when Spurs attacking forays went array.

After a promising start, Tottenham were sent back to earth by Liverpool in a 3-0 rout.

It was a poor display, though the scoreline was made worse than it might have been, as Dier conceded an unnecessary penalty, before Alberto Moreno was given the freedom of the left flank to put Liverpool 3-0 up.

Indeed, Nacer Chadli had a clear cut chance to equalise Raheem Sterling's opener just before half-time, only to opt for power over a controlled finish. Tottenham were thoroughly outplayed, but on a different day the scoreline might have been kinder.

- Delaney: Three Points: Tottenham vs. Liverpool
- Usher: More to LFC than just Mario Balotelli

Perhaps this verdict is a demonstration that I'm a glass half-full type of a supporter. I was certainly surrounded by fans who were looking at their glasses, wondering where the liquid had gone.

From the off, Spurs' performance elicited groans from the Park Lane. It was as if the fact that Liverpool finished second last season, had been completely forgotten.

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The player receiving the brunt of the moans was Danny Rose, with his England call-up only adding to the abuse. He's not the most gifted player but it's not his fault that there are only four English left-backs in the Premier League and that two of them are injured. He was poor, but no worse than others, yet a football crowd must always find their scapegoat.

The level of expectation frustrates me, considering that Tottenham have a new manager, trying to turn around a side that struggled last season. Add the fact that Liverpool are a very good team and you have a disappointing result rather than a surprising one.

Only when the game was obviously out of reach did the crowd lose their irritation and start to enjoy themselves, chiefly by ignoring the action on the pitch and instead focusing on chatting amongst themselves.

In a season where Manchester United have just been thrashed by the MK Dons, some perspective is needed. Today showed that there is much to improve, but ultimately as Spurs have made a decent start. It could be worse and at other teams it is. This is a setback. Not a crisis.

Tottenham failed their first real test of the season but the good news is that there are a lot of bad teams in the Premier League, who won't provide one. There is plenty of time for Spurs to prepare for the next test and now is not the moment to judge them.

Dan Fitch

Dan Fitch is a freelance journalist and the founder of TottenhamBlog. A regular at White Hart Lane, he writes about Spurs for ESPN and football in general for the Bleacher Report. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DJFitch.

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