I hope we can now all finally take great comfort in the fact that Brendan Rodgers has managed Liverpool to a win at one of the big Premier League teams. It has been used as a stick with which to beat the manager with in the past, perhaps a little unfairly as he shapes the team in his image.
How big a win the extremely impressive demolition of Spurs is in the context of our season will only be judged in May of course, but the result is massive for us right now as we enter a tricky period that will likely have a massive say in our league placing.
But it is important that this performance is set as a benchmark and not a one off. I’m not saying I want us to go to the Etihad and Stamford Bridge and win 5-0 because that is patently unrealistic. But I want to see us perform with the same vigour, the same ruthlessness and the same team spirit that helped to bring the fantastic result at White Hart Lane.
All too often we find ourselves dampening expectations ahead of big away games. It feels like a long time since we won them consistently. Even Benitez, whose tactical acumen on the road was usually impressive, didn’t manage to consistently win games at our biggest rivals. With six losses in a row at Spurs, it’s fair to say that North London isn’t one of our happier hunting grounds. I thought we might get a draw and maybe pinch a win. We seem to have regained our confidence after the demoralising loss against Hull City.
But now perhaps we might collectively start to have higher hopes on our travels. It’s down to the players and the manager to continue to put in performances like against Spurs. Everything was spot on. Rodgers deserves a lot of credit for actively seeking to address the mentality of the team over summer. He reportedly turned down Christian Eriksen from Ajax for a reasonable fee because he wasn’t impressed with the player’s mentality.
I think we have lacked the whole “big game mentality” for a while and whilst you could possibly argue that we have had few big tests so far this season. Only United at home and Arsenal away (one win, one loss) are the traditional tough games. But we have safely negotiated White Hart Lane, a ground where we have been luckless and pointless for a significant length of time, and done it in style.
It is the perfect way to begin a difficult period but must not be an isolated performance. We must endeavour to win more of the games against the bigger teams – because if we start to do that then we are well and truly in the middle of a title race.