Last season we lead the Premier League in conceding goals where defensive errors lead directly to an opposition goal. Yesterday we once again contributed in full measure to our defeat.
Poor marking, bad decision making and one atrocious piece of control gifted them three goals. They – or should that be Balotelli – should have had at least three more while we ourselves had three very decent chances so a 6-3 scoreline (like the one played out at Goodison 24 hours earlier) could have been possible.
Dier went from hero to zero in next to no time. Having scored wonder goals in his first two outings for us he instantly realised that the Premier League is not the same as the Portuguese top division as he came up against a rampant Liverpool frontline – far more effective and efficient than what he has faced so far.
Outpaced and outthought at the back post he lost Sterling and after eight minutes we were one nil down. Barely into the second half and as Allen waltzed past him a wayward arm was outstretched and made the slightest of connections. The Liverpool man went down under no pressure and the penalty was dispatched. Yes it was soft – but it was a penalty.
And then moments after Townsend had been introduced into proceedings he (Townsend that is) was caught in possession, easily dispossessed and with Dier somehow well out of position Moreno had a clear path on goal from the half way line and majestically strode forward – almost Bale-esque like – to despatch the ultimate coup de grace.
We were well beaten by a better side. But at least it was a better scoreline than last season – and that is about as good as it gets.
Against QPR last week our eleven players came up against a very poor team and we showed what we are capable of. Against better opponents that same eleven came up wanting.
While last week we had composure and we had movement, we had an instinctive feel and a sureness of touch, this week we looked out of place and in a different zone, with no confidence and no control.
Was it simply because we were playing Liverpool and they did us twice – so seriously – last time? Was that really playing on everyone´s minds?
Was it – as some have suggested – that we played in the Europa this week and they had a week off?
Absolute bullshit! Only one of our outfield players – Kaboul – played in both our games and he did quite well in both. There was no travelling involved so jetlag cannot be a contributory factor – in fact Liverpool had more travelling to do getting down the M6 and M1 – than we had to do for our last three games.
I think Pochettino was correct in his after match comments that we started too slowly – but why was that? Surely his last comments before sending his men into action were to get at them from the start, impose our will on them, don´t let them get on the ball and don´t give them time.
So did the selected eleven simply ignore the instructions – did they forget?
It would be great for Pochettino to have a few days to get the players onto the training pitch and sort this little problem out, but unfortunately the vast majority will be heading to various parts of Europe, the globe even, in search of international glory. Pochettino will be left at home with a week or more to ponder – as will we.