Richarlison schadenfreude and Klopp hamstring was perfect end to Liverpool v Spurs chaos
Liverpool and Spurs are not serious clubs whatsoever currently and so those entirely nonsensical 90 minutes at Anfield actually made the possible sense.
It always felt like a dangerous precedent to set. But after a quarter of an hour of their trip to Anfield, the Spurs squad must have been contemplating setting up some sort of payment plan for their officially beleaguered travelling supporters.
They were certainly playing as though something else was on their mind. Going 3-0 down to Liverpool within 15 minutes was an improvement on the debacle at St James’ Park, albeit on an entirely technical level. But it was fundamentally the same thing: a laughable, risible, regrettable homecoming for those roosting, roasted chickens.
Curtis Jones, completely unmarked at the back post and subsequently picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold after 167 seconds.
Luis Diaz, unfathomably untracked at the near post and winding Daniel Levy up yet again little over two minutes later.
Mo Salah, finally managing to score a penalty again after Cristian Romero decided that what this absolute dumpster fire needed was more petrol poured on it.
Funny if Spurs sack the caretaker to the caretaker.
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It all contributed to an opening salvo simultaneously quite ludicrous yet in keeping with the respective seasons of these two sides: hapless as Liverpool can often look, they have still obliterated many a defence; Spurs have conceded three fewer first-half goals in April of 2023 than Chelsea did in the entire 2004/05 season.
Graeme Souness must have incurred chronic neck pain through the sheer amount of purposeful nodding he would have embarked on watching Tottenham’s latest capitulation. The Sky Sports pundit had bizarrely laid into Harry Kane before the game for the sin of being “media-trained”, stating more than once that the striker had let his family down.
How ashamed they must have felt when he drew level with Wayne Rooney for Premier League goals, converting from Ivan Perisic’s cross after the Croatian left the slipping Virgil van Dijk in a heap of limbs.
Liverpool of seasons old would have scoffed at that consolation, brushing it off to assert control of proceedings while surgically removing any potential sting. This version is wracked with nerves and cowed by pressure. They were not the away team. They were not the team which had played three days prior in a draining match against an imposing side. They were not the team under its second caretaker manager of the season. Yet they gave Tottenham a leg up, never mind a foothold back into this.
Dejan Kulusevski mugged Andy Robertson and forced a fine save from Alisson. Van Dijk blocked excellently from Heung-min Son, who hit the post in either half at 3-1. Romero had an effort rebound off the woodwork, too. And Gary Neville blamed Trent Alexander-Arnold for all of it in a pretty weird forcing of narratives.
The growing pains of his role certainly played a part in a flirtation with disaster which soon blossomed into a full-blown affair, but Liverpool’s mental fragility was as much an issue as anything structural. Tottenham should have been out of sight; the hosts somehow kept them in view.
Ibrahima Konate was certainly more at fault for ball-watching as Romero, under absolutely no pressure as he approached the halfway line, clipped a delightful pass into Son’s path for the forward to score. Jurgen Klopp sent out the BatSignal for James Milner but it was to no avail as the tide had inexorably turned and Liverpool were swept away on the back of Richarlison’s first Premier League goal for Tottenham, a stoppage-time equaliser he greeted by removing his shirt.
Those who thought the goalless escapades of the £60m forward were finally over had quite the shock when Diogo Jota proceeded to capitalise on a Lucas Moura mistake – on as a right wing-back in the closing stages for his first appearance since getting sent off after six minutes as a substitute in the draw with Everton in March because even Ryan Mason has to do the interim manager shtick of bringing players in from the cold – to slide the ball past Fraser Forster and tempt Klopp into tweaking his hamstring on the touchline.
Jota, of course, perhaps shouldn’t have still been on the pitch after using Oliver Skipp’s head to channel peak Shawn Michaels, but no bother. A game this ludicrous will surely be stricken from record immediately anyway.
There will be no refunds for this absolute nonsense. It was the height of light entertainment played out between two entirely unserious teams: the ultimate game of shambolic one-upmanship.
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