Tottenham Hotspur romped to a 4-1 win over Liverpool at Wembley Stadium but what were the major talking points from the entertaining Premier League tie on Sunday?
Spurs cruised as the Reds crumbled and The Statesman has picked the five talking points that you shouldn’t miss:
Dejan Lovren’s nightmarish outing
Most Liverpool fans that were watching the game must have been cursing Dejan Lovren for his calamitous defending which directly contributed to Spurs’ first two goals.
The Croatian, who has struggled to live up to expectations since his move from Southampton in 2014, was all at sea and was put out of his misery by his manager with little over 30 minutes played.
In less than 15 minutes (Goal No.1 was scored in the fifth minute, while Goal No.2 was scored in the 12th minute) the 28-year-old had almost singlehandedly wrecked his side’s chances of picking up anything from the tie.
While the entire Liverpool defence shared blame for the opener, the second was all about Lovren’s glaring error.
The 6’2 centre-back missed a routine header and opened the door for Harry Kane to race through on goal. The striker laid it on a plate for teammate Heung Min-Son to tap-in and at 2-0, Liverpool were effectively out of the contest.
As Klopp took him off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, most think perhaps the Liverpool manager has run out of patience with the Croatian centre-back and it might just be the beginning of the end of Lovren’s career at Liverpool.
Liverpool missing Sadio Mane
Mohamed Salah cut a lonely figure as the Egyptian tried and tried to lift his team against a well-drilled Spurs side.
The in-form winger reduced the deficit via a quick break in the 26th minute but was devoid of quality support from his teammates.
With Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino all playing, who was missing?
The Senegalese winger was the best Reds player last year and despite seeing limited playing time this season due to a combination of injuries and suspension, has always looked like the most effective Liverpool player.
Effective being the key word for despite being endowed plenty of with power and pace, Mane’s finishing sets him apart from the rest of the Liverpool squad.
His directness was sorely missing and had he been playing, perhaps the result could have been much closer, if not reversed in favour of Liverpool.
Spurs’ ‘Wembley Curse’ over at long last?
Spurs had beaten Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League this season and edged Bournemouth last week at Wembley but neither of those performances were particularly convincing.
In fact, Dortmund deserved at least a draw for their efforts but Spurs rode their luck to begin their continental campaign on a positive note.
The Lilywhites needed to issue a statement of intent on Sunday and by virtue of their 4-1 scoreline against the hapless Reds, achieved their goal in style.
Yes, Liverpool contributed to their loss as much as Spurs did, but the game still needed to be won and it’s easy to get complacent when your opponents are making silly mistakes.
After a difficult start, Spurs seem to have settled in at ‘home’ and can build on Sunday’s result to mount a serious challenge to the Manchester clubs (City and United) for the Premier League title race.
Simon Mignolet and Hugo Lloris: A tale of two keepers
While Liverpool never truly looked like drawing level with Spurs, they did come mighty close to reducing the deficit in the second-half.
However, the likes of Philippe Coutinho and James Milner were stymied by the inspired Hugo Lloris.
The Frenchman, whose heroics had secured a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in mid-week, was flying and his save from Coutinho in particular, was top-drawer stuff.
In stark contrast, his opposite number, Simon Mignolet, didn’t cover himself in glory with another error-riddled performance.
Needlessly rushing out to stop Kane for the opener and failing spectacularly, the Belgian custodian actually made the Spurs striker’s job easier.
While he couldn’t do much when Son scored the second, the fourth goal which sealed the deal was entirely Mignolet’s fault.
Unable to collect a routine free-kick into the box, the keeper dropped the ball right at Jan Vertonghen’s feet. Roberto Firmino managed to block the Belgian defender’s shot but the rebound fell to Kane and the striker lapped up the gilt-edged chance to score from close range.
Like his teammate Lovren before him, the only reason Mignolet has managed to retain his place in the starting XI is the fact that Liverpool’s replacement in their positions are equally bad, if not worse.
Perhaps two positions instead of one will be on Klopp’s mind when he makes his January shopping list?
Are Spurs, not United, City’s closest competitors?
With their win, Spurs drew level with second-placed Man United in the Premier League table.
Much has been made of the Manchester clubs’ title credentials while the likes of Spurs have been dismissed.
However, the table doesn’t lie and Spurs are the form team (apart from City of course) in the English top-flight and like the leaders, are a delight to watch.
Not only are they playing a form of football that even opposing fans admire, they are damn effective and considering they seem to have overcome the ‘Wembley Curse’, things can only get better for Spurs.
United look to be stuck in a rut while Spurs have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks and it may just be a three-horse race for the league title.
Let’s not forget, Spurs have won all their away games this season without conceding a single goal.
Their upcoming fixtures, may prove to a stumbling block as they take on West Ham (EFL Cup), United, Real Madrid (Champions League), Crystal Palace and Arsenal next.
Three of those ties are at home and how the Lilywhites emerge from that crucible may just make or break their title charge this season.