Liverpool U23 coach Neil Critchley has admitted that the Reds could not deal with Tottenham Hotspur’s breakneck counter-attacks during their 4-0 defeat to the North London outfit on Sunday, in an interview with the club’s official website.
While Jurgen Klopp’s Champions of Europe battered Norwich City in the opening day of the 2019/20 season, Critchley’s youngsters found themselves on the wrong end of a four-goal hammering.
Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Shilow Tracey found the target alongside a double from the electric Kaziah Sterling while Brandon Austin produced an inspired performance between the sticks as Spurs enjoyed a dream start to the new Premier League 2 campaign.
And Critchley, while paying tribute to the ‘fantastic’ Austin, was left understandably frustrated as his side were left ripped apart at the back.
“We got off to the worst possible start and it was a poor goal to concede (from Sterling). We gradually got better and had a couple of decent chances,” Critchley said.
“Their goalkeeper (Austin) pulled off a fantastic save from Rhian (Brewster) and Elijah Dixon-Bonner had a really good chance with a header which he probably should have done better with.
“We were on top at 1-0 down but we couldn’t get that goal and they got it and then our ending to the game was really disappointing to be honest. The old saying goes unfortunately and goals change games.
“Tottenham have got some really good players and we know they can hurt you on the break. I think if we had scored to make it 1-1 then I honestly do think the game would have been different.”
The fact that the impenetrable Austin, a former U19 captain, was so impressive despite Spurs’ running riot on Mersyside sums up just how many chances Liverpool created throughout the 90 minutes.
The Reds, with Harvey Elliot and Brewster in the starting XI looked sharp and inventive but lacked the finishing touch. Tottenham, on the other hand, were absolutely ruthless at the other end.
As Critchley says, ‘goals change games’.
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