Tottenham made a good account of themselves in the second half against this season’s presumptive Premier League champions.
Liverpool, had they been more clinical in the first half, might have been out of sight at the interval. But Tottenham got their act together in the second stanza and showed the guile, energy, craft and desire we expect from the lads.
Here are four promising signs from Tottenham’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool.
1. Japhet Tanganga’s superb debut
Jose Mourinho was crafty in his decision to offer Tanganga his Premier League debut against the runaway top flight leaders. The youngster showcased precisely the skill set he’s been touted for. Electrifying pace is his number one asset, which he proved by staying step for step with Sadio Mane, one of the world’s quickest.
He also bossed Mane physically and showed the tenacity, fearlessness and athleticism that, other than Davinson Sanchez, has been missing from Tottenham’s rearguard. He was undone once by a magical bit of skill from Roberto Firmino, but even the most seasoned centre backs in the world have experienced being skinned by the crafty Brazilian. Tanganga looks the part and will partner Sanchez well at the heart of defence.
2. Giovani Lo Celso showing his true colours
It’s fair to say that the teething problems for Giovani Lo Celso have come to an end. After struggling, for various reasons, to adapt to the Premier League, Lo Celso has found his feet in England. After being introduced in the last two games, Lo Celso has arguably been Spurs best player. He wants the ball and gains confidence with every touch. He is now willing to drive at defenders and pick out the incisive passes we all knew were in his locker. Even more excitingly, Lo Celso is starting to get into goal-scoring positions, almost equalizing against Liverpool in the dying embers yesterday. Really he should have scored but the skill wasn’t as easy to pull off as it looked.
3. Erik Lamela in fine form
Erik Lamela, like his midfield compatriot, is finding his top form. He is playing better more consistently, and looks threatening every time he receives the ball. Unafraid to have a crack from long range, it’s only a matter of time before the Argentinian strikes a wonder goal. His match fitness is still a concern but that will come with time.
4. Davinson Sanchez dominates the world’s best attackers
The Colombian enjoyed a masterful performance against Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. While it’s almost impossible to quell and silent completely the world’s most dangerous trifecta, Sanchez performed admirably in difficult circumstances. Playing alongside a 20-year-old Premier League debutant, Sanchez, with Toby’s help, marshalled the back line wonderfully, particularly in the second half. He cut out the erratic mistakes we’ve been accustomed to and looked every bit the part of a world class centre half. Give him time and he will grow into that exact mold.