Liverpool continued their unbeaten start to the new Premier League campaign with a 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley.
Spurs were sloppy from the off and invited pressure from Jurgen Klopp’s chargers to which they paid the price for on either side of the break after goals from Gini Wijnaldum – his first away league goal in 58 appearances – and Roberto Firmino.
Erik Lamela secured a late consolation for Tottenham but the damage had already been done as Mauricio Pochettino’s side fell to their second successive defeat.
And as usual a number of talking points emerged from the clash, so here are five things we learned from the early Saturday kick off…
5. James Milner Is Turning Back the Clock
James Milner has been one of Liverpool‘s standout players so far this season and that was no different at Wembley, where he showed few signs of running out of steam despite working tirelessly across seemingly every blade of grass.
The 32-year-old was everywhere for Liverpool having made three key passes, five tackles and eight ball recoveries whilst also chipping in for two clearances as he covered just the casual 12.9km – ageing like a fine wine.
His versatility stands him apart from his fellow teammates in the middle of the park and Jurgen Klopp will find it hard to justify leaving him out of his starting eleven moving forward.
4. Eric Dier Continues to Raise More Questions Than Answers
The England international has struggled to put together a performance which would justify his selection this season, and with Spurs deploying their full backs further up the field against Liverpool, Dier’s weaknesses were once again exposed.
He made no significant impact in disrupting play or moving Tottenham further up the field and instead almost gifted Mohamed Salah a goal after misplacing a pass straight into the winger’s path – and he was fortunate that his goalkeeper saved his blushes.
With Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama returning to the fold alongside Mousa Dembele, Dier’s place in the side should be in serious jeopardy.
3. Liverpool’s Front 3 Still to Get Out of Second Gear
Liverpool’s front three are brimming with quality, desire and have both the attacking and defensive discipline to match – enough to have the opposition quaking in their boots, but even more alarmingly for their rivals is that they are yet to truly click in front of goal.
While each have opened their accounts this season, their remains a lack of ruthlessness and ability to make the right decision of when to lay it off to a teammate or keep hold of it themselves.
When the wastefulness departs Liverpool will be as frightening as ever, and games like the one against Spurs will be wrapped up with a comfortable buffer and time to spare.
2. Tottenham’s Defence in Disarray
Alarm bells won’t be ringing just yet for Tottenham, but it’s now successive defeats in which the defence has struggled to balance attacking impetus with defensive responsibility.
The full-backs featured predominantly as wingers and with the midfield lacking control, it invited Liverpool to take advantage of their flaws and the space left in behind, where the continuous shift in systems by the manager did little to restore solidity.
Moreover, Spurs were lucky that their individual errors were not punished, but a more disciplined performance is a must next time out against Brighton to restore confidence.
1. Liverpool Arrest Poor Form Against Top Six Rivals
The victory at Wembley was the first for Liverpool on the road against a top six rival since Klopp’s first full season at the helm, and it was the first real statement of intent for what the Reds hope to achieve this campaign.
The scoreline ultimately flattered Tottenham as Liverpool failed to add further misery and capitalise on their ability to cause chaos in behind their defence, but with tests against Chelsea and Manchester City to come over the course of the next few weeks it was a timely confidence boost for Klopp’s men.