But for a fortuitous deflection that led to Liverpool’s equalizer, Tottenham executed Antonio Conte’s game plan perfectly in the 1-1 draw at Anfield.
The match went exactly as it was drawn up by Antonio Conte. Spurs soaked up concerted Liverpool pressure, waiting for the moment, any moment, to pounce.
Ryan Sessegnon deserves all the credit in the world, not only for having the fitness and wherewithal to join the offensive foray, but also for selflessly picking the right pass to Son Heung-min, after which there was only one outcome.
Harry Kane found some rare space to run into and picked out the perfect ball to Sessegnon, who made a beeline for Liverpool’s six-yard box.
It was a match tailor-fitted for Tottenham’s counter-attacking style. Liverpool were always going to dictate play and dominate possession. The most crucial aspect of matches against a team of Liverpool’s quality is to make sure no individual errors are committed, particularly from the rearguard.
While Cristian Romero had a few nervy moments in possession and Ben Davies failed to pick out the right ball on a couple of occasions, there were no costly, catastrophic blunders, a tell-tale sign of Conte’s work behind the scenes.
As a collective Spurs looked poised, confident and fully aware of the task at hand. Unlike previous versions of Tottenham, there was no panic, no hesitation. Everyone was on board with the perfectly developed game plan.
Yes, Liverpool levelled the match on a fortuitous deflection, a moment Tottenham certainly didn’t deserve.
Spurs otherwise executed the game plan to perfection. An effort like this takes complete buy-in from every member of the squad. It was another example of how much Conte has improved this squad since taking over in November.
He has turned numerous lemons into a sweet-as-possible batch of lemonade. There is no question Spurs need help in the summer at various positions. But what Conte has gotten out of this squad of players is nothing short of remarkable.
The improbable draw puts Spurs a point behind Arsenal with three matches to play, one of which against the Gunners at home on Thursday. Arsenal plays Leeds tomorrow at home before Thursday’s match at Spurs.
Spurs will need to win that match and get help thereafter. But at least they’re still in with a fighting chance. Arsenal still has to play at Goodison Park on the final day of the season, which, if Everton need a win to avoid relegation, will be a particularly challenging encounter in an incredibly hostile environment for Mikel Arteta’s men.
Today’s result should provide Tottenham the confidence and momentum to finish the season on a high. The draw against Liverpool makes you wonder if, after all Conte’s side have been through, it is indeed Tottenham’s time to re-enter the Champions League fold.