Tottenham Hotspur was unfortunate not to take three points at Anfield, as Spurs and Liverpool drew in a game Antonio Conte got spot-on.
During the pre-match presser this past week, Conte was asked how Tottenham Hotspur would approach Liverpool. Conte smiled, complimented the question, and said he would show us on Saturday. In a match with everything on the line, Conte’s well-drilled team played the Italian’s plan to near perfection, using tactics, patience, and persistence to take one point from the current League leaders.
Tottenham tight defensively
Whereas Spurs’ preference under Conte has been a 3-4-3, it was no surprise to see Tottenham in defensive-minded 5-4-1 when Liverpool was in possession. What was unique about the formation from a Tottenham perspective was how compact the team was.
Rather than parking the bus deep, Spurs held a line above the penalty box for much of the match, leaving Liverpool with little space behind the Tottenham defense. Only about eight yards in front of that five-man defense was the midfield, which supported Kane, who at times was less than 20 yards in front of Eric Dier.
Essentially, Tottenham was willing to let Liverpool pass around midfield while making it hard to find space over the top or between the Tottenham lines. Spurs could have played this approach to a full three points if not for an unlucky bounce. Instead, an unfortunate deflection led to an equalizer, and Spurs left Merseyside with a single point.
Although Spurs conceded the equalizer and drew the Reds, patience and persistence put Liverpool on the ropes and the Lilywhites in the lead.