There are similarities between the Tottenham of last season (2012-13) and the Liverpool of this current season (2013-14) but it appears that the outcome will be different.
Last season both Tottenham and Liverpool were under new managers, Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers, respectively. Last year Spurs, with Gareth Bale in full flight, had a much better season under AVB while Rodgers set about bringing some order to the Anfield club.
Last season, while Tottenham lost Luka Modric to Real Madrid they retained the services of Gareth Bale. After a slow start to the season under AVB, Spurs built up a momentum and with Gareth Bale in his best and most consistent form, providing outstanding goals and performances which turned many games in Spurs’ favour, Tottenham had a real chance to achieve a top-4 finish. They took it to the final day of the season, but came up short, unable to achieve their goal, in spite of having acquired a record number of points in the league.Tottenham in 2012-13 were dependent on Gareth Bale. In his absence, Spurs struggled to score or get results consistently. Tottenham fans hated references to Spurs being a ‘one-man team’ but in reality, that was the case. If Bale didn’t score, in many games, neither did Spurs and on many occasions it look a last gasp effort by Bale to snatch all three points with a wonder strike – as happened at West Ham and in the final home games against Southampton and Sunderland.
This put incredible pressure on the shoulders of one player and since joining Real Madrid, Bale has admitted he felt the constant pressure to produce of his best while at White Hart Lane. In an interview in The Telegraph, he said,
At Tottenham I was always trying to get onto the ball and make everything tick, whereas here everybody’s doing that, there are world-class players all around the pitch…and you’re able to concentrate just on your game rather than bringing the whole team forward, and I’m enjoying that.
At the start of this season Liverpool ensured that they kept Luis Suarez by fair means or foul, as The Guardian reported, they later admitted that they had refused Arsenal permission to speak to Suarez even though the London club had triggered his £40m release clause, albeit by only £1.
Suarez has taken on the inspirational role in the Liverpool side but the big difference is that the other Liverpool players have also stepped up their game – Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. With this support from the whole team, there is less pressure on Suarez and the team has benefited with a run of performances which is set to take them into the Champions League and could even bring the ultimate success of winning the Premier League title.
Last season the opportunity of a top-4 finish presented itself to Tottenham but they were unable to grasp it and in failing to do so, opened the door for their ‘talisman’ to leave of the grounds of wanting to play in the Champions League. Liverpool, this year, with Suarez’ superb form, have achieved their goal and it will presumably allow them to retain the services of Suarez and build for the future rather than ‘Return to Go’ as Spurs have had to do after spending all the money from the Bale transfer.
Jan Vertonghen’ Wrong on Tottenham, Liverpool and Luis Suarez – Read more