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22nd Oct 2017

Gary Neville sums up Liverpool’s issues after nightmare first-half against Spurs

What a half that was

Robert Redmond

Liverpool experienced a nightmare first-half against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The two teams came into the game at Wembley looking well-matched. Both had positive results in the Champions League earlier this week, both play in a similar high-pressing style and both have ambitions to be in the top four at the end of the season.

However, the Liverpool defence did their best to tip the balance in favour of Spurs during a frantic first-half in London. After just four minutes, Harry Kane opened the scoring for the home side. Kieran Trippier clipped a pass through to the England striker, Liverpool’s defence dithered, Dejan Lovren tried to play offside, Simon Mignolet rushed out and Kane found the net from 12 yards.

The goal was preventable from Liverpool’s point of view, and so was Spurs’ second after 12 minutes.

Hugo Lloris threw the ball towards Kane, Lovren gambled on reaching it first, missed the ball completely and Kane was free to run into an ocean of space. The striker set up Heung-Min Son to double Spurs’ lead.

Lovren’s nightmare afternoon was ended after 31 minutes when was substituted for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before Mohamed Salah got a goal back for Liverpool. Then, just before half-time, Dele Alli made it 3-1.

Jurgen Klopp’s side evidently have defensive issues that extend beyond any one individual. They have now conceded more goals away from home than any other team in the Premier League this season.

Gary Neville, on commentary duty for Sky Sports, summed up Liverpool’s defensive problems, saying that regardless of how good they going forward, their leaky backline will continue to cost them.

“[Klopp’s] centre-backs and his goalkeeper will always kill him. They’re not good enough,” Neville said.

“No matter how good they are going forward, they will always let you down. When I think of Lovren playing under Mauricio Pochettino (at Southampton), he was one of the best centre-backs in the league. Now I look at him, he’s completely different.”