Liverpool’s defense played poorly, and Virgil Van Dijk’s absence was felt.
Today, Liverpool FC traveled to play in a hostile away environment, and it rattled the team’s already short-handed defense. Tottenham Hotspur dominated the time of possession for the first twenty minutes of play and created enough chances to lead the Reds early. Consequently, the Virgil Van Dijk-less backline conceded a goal to opposing forward Harry Kane, who conjured his home goal of the season.
As you can see above, the Spurs also had a few too many 1v1 opportunities against LFC’s keeper Allison Becker in the first half, in part to complete defensive breakdowns, which more than likely do not occur in Van Dijk’s presence. So while the defense played shakily, one could also say that of the officials.
Referees have a hard job, but it will be hard for Liverpool fans to sympathize with them today.
The life of a football referee is no easy task. One man has to account for most decisions between twenty-two players on the field and countless more team components on the sidelines. That said, official Paul Tierney handed out eight total bookings, including this red card of Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson. This decision was so egregious that manager Jürgen Klopp held no criticism back of Tierney once time expired. Some may focus on that booking, but the most eviscerating decision was a no-call on Diogo Jota. This would’ve resulted in a penalty that could have well decided that match in hindsight. Regardless, the Reds still played admirably in a contest where the odds quickly stacked against them.
Liverpool’s mentality until the final whistle was outstandingly positive.
Despite Liverpool missing key players today and playing relatively sloppy, the club still generated some electrifying offensive attacks. At one point, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino were all on the pitch for the Reds – a terrifying sight for any opposing defense. However, the Spurs were occupied with that fearsome foursome, and fullbacks Andrew Robertson and Trent-Alexander Arnold created when the team needed a spark.
Despite playing with just ten men moments later, LFC still attacked and earned a point in a game where most other teams would not. Of course, no one likes a draw, but given the circumstances of today’s match, Liverpool should gladly accept it, considering how the game almost wholly unraveled early.