It wasn’t long ago that there was talk of Tottenham Hotspur making it a three-horse race for the title.
But after losing 2-1 to Liverpool yesterday, Spurs now face a battle just to finish in the top four.
They had been the better side for most of the second half at Anfield. But a Hugo Lloris howler handed the game to Liverpool.
It’s not the first time the club captain has cost his side points this season. Lloris has been a great player for Spurs, but is he becoming a liability?
Too many errors
The 32-year-old captained France to their World Cup triumph only last summer. But since August 2016, he’s made eight errors leading to goals in the Premier League. Jordan Pickford (9) is the only player with more during that period.
Lloris even embarrassed himself on biggest stage in football when he gifted a goal to Mario Mandzukic in the World Cup Final. His bizarre decision to dribble around Mario Mandzukic backfired, giving Croatia hope that they could mount a comeback.
And after losing their opening Champions League game against Inter Milan, Spurs needed a big display at home to Barcelona. Instead, they went 1-0 down inside two minutes. Lloris opted to charge towards a ball he was never going to reach, leaving Philippe Coutinho with an unguarded goal.
Spurs were then left with a mountain to climb after Lloris was sent off against PSV. He raced off his line and brought down Hirving Lozano, even though there were two Spurs defenders there to deal with the situation.
Still a superb shot-stopper
Lloris’ decision-making may be suspect, but he’s still capable of making sensational saves.
The North London side came under huge pressure in the first-half of their Champions League last-16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund. But Lloris stood tall to keep them at bay.
As good as he can be as a shot-stopper, is that enough for a side chasing trophies?
He got a hand to Mohamed Salah’s tame header yesterday, but his failure to hold on to the ball could be very costly.
His kicking put his side under real pressure at Anfield too, either giving possession away or inviting Liverpool to come onto them.
Go for Gazzaniga?
Spurs are 4/9 to beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday. But should Lloris start that game? It would be a huge call from Pochettino to drop the captain for the first match in the club’s new stadium.
Number two Paulo Gazzaniga has rarely put a foot wrong when he’s been called upon this season.
He’s kept clean sheets against Arsenal and Chelsea in Carabao Cup action. The Argentine is much more comfortable passing the ball out too.
Whether or not Gazzaniga has what it takes to be the club’s number one going forward is up for debate. But he may be the safer pair of hands in the remainder of this campaign.
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