The mistakes which had been evident in the side’s play for a number of years all came together during this catalogue of errors at Tottenham’s temporary home, and one player in particular was made an example of.
Dejan Lovren hasn’t had the best of times at Liverpool, and his good performances have been few and far between.
He was praised for his display against Manchester United in the Premier League game prior to the Spurs loss, but in truth he had little to do against a José Mourinho side which offered very little in the way of an attacking threat.
He looked uncomfortable from the outset on the big stage in London, and he was caught under the ball for the first two goals his side conceded before his manager, Jürgen Klopp took the drastic step of substituting him before half time.
It was a big move from the manager, and is the type of thing not normally seen from him.
The German has a tendency to back his players through difficult periods in order to help maintain good morale in the camp, but the persistence with poor players — Lovren is not alone in this — seems to have backfired, as does the club’s failure to sign Virgil van Dijk, or secure an alternative when they had the chance.
There have been suggestions that in order to regain confidence, the 28-year-old should be thrown straight back into the side for the visit of Huddersfield in the next league game.
“Lovren needs to play against Huddersfield Town in order to replenish his confidence. Keeping him out is not the answer,” said the Times’ Paul Joyce.
But the risk of another error strewn game against the intense, physical, newly-promoted side could be the last thing he and the club need at this moment in time.
Things haven’t been easy for the player off the field during his time at Liverpool, and to make matters worse the stories which have broken regarding his personal life have often done so via a newspaper which is not welcome on Merseyside.
Klopp stopped talking to said newspaper after they planned to publish a story about Lovren’s personal life.
“I don’t talk with [that newspaper] anymore,” Klopp said in the press conference following a pre-season win against Barcelona in August 2016.
“You can listen. It’s because of a few things that will happen in the next few days. I think that in life – no matter how much of a public figure the person is – there are things which should remain private.”
Lovren has also had to deal with a story regarding a burglary at his apartment in Croatia, which happened while he and his children were in the building.
Tony Barrett, Liverpool’s Head of Club and Supporter Liaison, picked up on the story which was claimed as an exclusive by the same newspaper Klopp had stopped speaking to, and revealed the original source in Croatia, rubbishing claims that the defender had spoken to the paper.
Dejan Lovren hasn't given any interviews to any English newspapers about an incident that happened in Croatia.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarrett) September 24, 2017
“They robbed me, this is a terribly difficult time in my life and I'm afraid they'll kidnap my children,” Lovren told the Croatian outlet.
“I've spent a lot of money to remove all their pictures from the internet, and today we have a little birthday party and all this is happening.”
As if things couldn’t get any worse, Lovren was in Croatia at this time to testify in a trial involving former Dinamo Zagreb director and football administrator Zdravko Mamic.
The trail has also seen testimonies from Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, and regardless of its ins and outs, doesn’t seem like an easy situation for anyone involved.
With all this going on away from the football field it might not be a surprise that Lovren’s day-to-day work has been affected, but if a player is underperforming for whatever reason, taking him out of the limelight might have been the best thing to do.
On the other hand, his work at Liverpool may have been the only thing keeping his mind off the distractions and problems away from football, but even so, a period away from the first team squad may have been the better solution while all this passes.
Liverpool supporters who are aware of what’s going on in Lovren’s life are torn between the sympathy they feel for their player, and their desire to see their team do well. Some aren’t torn of course, and have made their minds up in no uncertain terms as to what they would like to see happen.
This is one of the situations where the supporters have to have faith in Klopp. He was closer to all this, knew more of the details, and knows his player better than most outsiders or social commentators.
Two things are certain though. Firstly, the player doesn’t deserve the personal abuse he gets via the social media channels, many of which he’s now been forced to disable; but secondly, in his current state he’s not ready to play in the centre of defence for the Liverpool first team.
Klopp is reported to have held a frank meeting involving all of this players to go through the Spurs game bit by bit, before giving them the next day off. You can imagine that the players and manager faced a similar conundrum to the more level-headed fans. They will have wanted to support their team-mate, but at the same time his errors will have been there for all to see on the video they watched.
Lovren may not expect special treatment, and in a football sense he’s now unlikely to get it. The manager will freshen up his team for the visit of the side managed by one of his best friends, David Wagner, and it’s about time he did so, for the sanity of all involved.