16 Conclusions on Salah, Ange, Elliott and the brilliant fun of Liverpool 4 Tottenham 2

We’re going to miss Jurgen Klopp for the batsh*t brilliance Liverpool produce under him, while Spurs can still rescue this season.


1) Rarely has a Big Six clash had so little consequence for either side; Liverpool were safe in third and no longer in the Premier League title race whatever Sky Sports would like you to believe with their RUN-IN graphics. It’s more of a WALK-IN, fellas. And the truth is that Liverpool barely had to break into a jog to destroy a Spurs side that somehow looks far worse for a whole season of Ange Postecoglou.

Spurs can be very thankful they play an almost-relegated Burnley and already-down Sheffield United either side of a likely Manchester City d***ing in their own STUMBLE-IN, which should be just about enough to hold off Chelsea if not Newcastle. They are clinging on to a Europa League spot but Saturday’s home game v the Clarets has just become the biggest game of their bizarre season.

Can they emerge from their own astonishing sh*tness to beat two of the worst Premier League sides in history? Should Postecoglou survive if the answer is ‘no, mate’?

READ: Angeball frightens both Spurs and Liverpool as pathetic 70 mins transpire into Anfield chaos


2) A little giddy from the sunshine, perhaps, Gary Neville told us so many times in the opening 10 minutes that Tottenham had started brilliantly that we began to doubt our own eyes and brains.

The bar had seemingly been set so low by inept defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea that anything other than not bicycle-kicking the ball into their own net counted as a massive improvement.

This brilliant, electrifying start produced one blaze over the bar from Yves Bissouma. And it would be their only shot of a first half that ended 2-0 with Tottenham very, very lucky – as the old joke goes – to get nil.


3) What an absolute shuddering shock that there was no unbreachable chasm between Mo Salah and Jurgen Klopp that has come to define the end of the manager’s Liverpool empire. It was always trumped-up nonsense – of course Salah was annoyed at being side-lined and of course Klopp was annoyed by his annoyance – and that was shown within a few minutes of the opening whistle when Salah realised he was up against the out-of-position Emerson Royal and turned that frown upside down.

He has already hit the crossbar with an outside-of-the-foot cross and forced a save from Guglielmo Vicario when he opened the scoring after 16 minutes, losing Royal with embarrassing (for the Brazilian) ease before an ultimately simple headed finish.


4) The truth – which does not lend itself to end-of-days narratives – is that this is still a pretty good Liverpool team capable of playing some very lovely football; there were some wonderful exchanges between Harvey Elliott and Alexis Mac Allister, while Cody Gakpo showed glimpses of being more than an ultimately forgettable footnote in the post-title era.

But this Liverpool side should never have been title contenders. They ‘got away with it’ on too many occasions to ever truly be considered the equals of Manchester City and Arsenal. Their mistake was picking up enough points to create a ludicrous sense of inevitability about Klopp’s final season being a great season.

In reality, this has been a very good season when judged in the context of the last. Liverpool went from fifth to third and picked up a trophy in the campaign after a total rebuild of their midfield. History should not remember a faltering title challenge but a very solid recovery in difficult circumstances.


5) There was definitely a breeziness about Liverpool that has been missing in recent weeks, like a collective sigh of relief had been breathed that they were now in the final straight, could forget about silly things like points, and just enjoy the final few games.

There was also a sigh of relief that the visitors were Tottenham, who last won at Anfield in 2011. This 2024 version – worse than even Manchester United since the turn of the year – were never likely to reverse that trend.

‘On the beach’ is usually used in a derogatory fashion but this was Liverpool truly in holiday mode, with sand between their toes and joy in their hearts. It helps when you are playing a gloriously inept football team, but this looked more fun than running to stand still in a gate-crashed title race.

There was no need to make it that much fun in the final 20 minutes, mind.


6) The second goal – from Andy Robertson – came just before the break and it felt long overdue. It’s hard to say what is wrong with Tottenham other than ‘a lot’. They are flat, badly organised (which surely has to come down to the manager) and seemingly incapable of even the most basic elements of football.

There were so many poor touches, so many missed tackles, so many lost balls, so many failed presses, so many moments of rank sh*tness, that you wonder how much can really be attributed to the manager. The first 70 minutes were not so much a failure of system but a failure of footballers.


7) We plead for context when it comes to Liverpool so we have to offer the same when it comes to Tottenham. They have already matched last season’s points total and if they beat Burnley and Sheffield United as expected then this will be their second-best season in five years. They would have undoubtedly taken a fifth-place finish back in August if not in late October.

If you had said in August that Tottenham would be in fifth in early May and the manager would come under pressure, you would have raged against unrealistic expectations, so we should apply some of the same logic now. This season has moved from the sublime to the ridiculous but the end result is likely still better than initially expected, particularly considering the exit of their greatest-ever Premier League player and his lack of replacement.

A post-Kane Tottenham will ultimately do better than Kane’s Tottenham and there needs to be some credit given there, even if that is a tricky argument to make after 13 goals conceded in four damaging defeats.

👉 16 Conclusions on Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: Harrowingly bad from Spurs, good enough from Chelsea
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👉 16 Conclusions from Newcastle 4-0 Spurs: Van de Ven, Gordon, Isak, and some very silly numbers


8) ‘Torrid’ seems too weak a word to describe Royal’s afternoon. There is some mitigation in that he was playing out of position and was facing a combination of Salah, Elliott and Trent Alexander-Arnold but if you could forgive him for losing Salah for the first goal, losing the ball to Elliott for the third was indefensible.

Elliott robbed him and delivered the ball into exactly the right area for Gakpo, who was very happy to claim his seventh Premier League goal of the season. He brings none of the chaos of Darwin Nunez and very little of the magic but he is edging towards doing a passable impression of Roberto Firmino when used up front. Now he just needs to stop looking in the direction of the goal when he scores.


9) Elliott though. What a player. In only his fifth Premier League start of the season in central midfield he was magnificent, showcasing energy, verve, vision and movement. The fact he has played less in central midfield than Ryan Gravenberch and Curtis Jones feels like a rare misstep from Jurgen Klopp. Elliott is far better than both as well as the weak version of Dominik Szoboszlai that has strolled through the second half of the season.

The assist – one of five chances he created – was followed by the sumptuous goal and he more than deserved the man-of-the-match award. It’s worth noting that he played only a bit part in defeats to Crystal Palace and Everton. In a season when Klopp was forced into a revamp of his midfield, Elliott playing considerably less than last season feels like a mistake.


10) The feeling that Liverpool were playing some kind of testimonial was exacerbated by the double substitution seemingly designed to give Stefan Bajcetic his first football of the season and Joe Gomez a little run-out as Klopp continues his campaign to convince Gareth Southgate to pick a player he does not actually want to pick himself.

You cannot blame Klopp for thinking that the game was won at 4-0 but it might have been sensible to ride out the fresh impetus from Tottenham’s triple substitution before weakening a side that had absolutely dominated for over an hour. Liverpool immediately ceded some control in that midfield without Wataru Endo, with James Maddison revelling in rather more space than he expected.


11) In order to address the impact made by Richarlison for Spurs, we have to acknowledge the initially flimsy nature of that Tottenham front three. Brennan Johnson simply does not look or play like a grown-up – he is demonstrably not good enough (yet?) for a club hoping to return to the Champions League – while Son’s race is surely run, and Dejan Kulusevski is lacking the requisite pace for this style of football.

Liverpool knew if they narrowed the pitch then Tottenham would be pushed out wide, where they had…basically nothing. When Postecoglou talks about lacking the right players for his style, he is surely looking first at those front three positions.

He said as much in his post-match press conference: “I thought our football was good today. Under pressure they are a really good pressing team and we played some good stuff to get through them and then we get to the front third and nothing would happen.”


12) To be fair, he is also probably looking at that central midfield. On paper they look combative and dynamic but in reality, they were sloppy and were cut through like butter. Pape Sarr did not make a single tackle, Rodrigo Bentancur went only one better, and Bissouma completed a triptych of tip-toeing around which created literally zero chances.


13) “We were more like ourselves today in terms of our football,” is a quote for the ages from Postecoglou, who has clearly decided that if he simply ignores the first 70 minutes of the game then they did not happen. Nothing to see here.

Barring a very unlikely a pretty short-lived flurry of activity undoubtedly helped by Liverpool playing in flip-flops, Tottenham were awful. Rotten. Pathetic. Disastrous. To watch that performance and think “yep, we were more like ourselves” reveals Postecoglou to be either a fantasist or a committed salesman.

And if he really did think that the performance was much better from Spurs, why did he make a triple substitution after just over an hour? Why did he not just let his chosen Tottenham XI carry on playing as excellently as they obviously were?


14) Richarlison has to start next week. A solution needs to be bought in the summer but for now he is the best of Tottenham’s selection of left-sided forwards who ‘can do a job up front’. His movement and willingness to break through the Liverpool defence caused the kind of problems that Son could not prompt in the previous hour of huffing, puffing and little else.

Maddison should also start. Is he the player he was before his injury? Absolutely not. But should this version of Maddison be enough to beat Burnley? Hell yes. This could yet be a passable season from Spurs. But finishing above the banter clubs of Chelsea and Manchester United is essential.


15) Two more games left for Liverpool and you back them to win both, against an exhausted Aston Villa side deservedly beaten by Brighton and a Wolves team that will be more like lambs to the slaughter in Klopp’s final game. Expect very, very loud renditions of famous songs, a few tears and a lot of fun in the sunshine. Expect Salah to reach 20 Premier League goals, Darwin Nunez to miss a few sitters and the whole Liverpool team to have occasional collective brain-farts. Would Klopp have it any other way?


16) We’re gonna miss you, Jurgen. You have provided brilliant, batsh*t football and such great, great content xx