Harry Kane struggles, but Spurs also has other concerns David Hytner | Football



Harry Kane knows the exercise. When something goes wrong, the most prominent players are in the crosshairs. It's hard to overestimate how badly Bad Saturday went wrong with Tottenham in a bloody 2-1 Premier League-defeat against Liverpool in Wembley.

Mauricio Pochettino clung to the positive points, the Spurs manager who, in fact, had fought his players to the end and almost had an unlikely chance of being saved. After the substitute Érik Lamela reduced the deficit to 93 minutes, another substitute, Son Heung-min, had to have a 95-minute penalty after being cut by Sadio Mané. The referee, Michael Oliver, was unsightly.

In reality, a postponement would have been brutally unjust, because until the 85th minute, when Tottenham eventually put some pressure on the penalty area, it had been one-way traffic. Liverpool cut through their hosts from the first whistle, their runs behind the Spurs lines a continuing threat. But for some loose end balls and a loose finish, it would have been a beating.

Kane was well aware of it, looking back from his position at the end of Spurs' formation. It was an afternoon when the striker was only a bystander. According to statistics, he touched the ball only 22 times and three of them were at the kickoff.

It was hard to remember that he did a lot in the box. He ran the first half directly to Trent Alexander-Arnold, could not make any move in the 67th minute and sent a tame header towards Alisson at 86.

And so for the research. What is wrong with Harry?

Gareth Southgate put a theory on the train this week when he said he left him from the starting XI last Tuesday for the friendly game against Switzerland because he needed some rest. After a grueling World Cup, Pochettino released Kane for three weeks, but after returning to training on Monday from the start of the season in early August, he played almost every minute of Tottenham's five games.

Neither Kane nor Pochettino give any credibility to the idea that there is a problem with regard to energy levels and it must be said that when Kane is fit, he starts. It has always been the case with Spurs under Pochettino. Kane's workload is so wonderful that he invites wonderment and frowning eyebrows. Sure, would he benefit from a few more rest days?

He has not done so badly without them until now in his career and he made an interesting point after the match in Liverpool. "We have a run coming in which we play game after game after game and that's what I like," he said. "You can get into a rhythm and come to positions where you know where you can score goals."

The question that still looks shocking is whether Kane was affected by the ankle ligament he suffered in Bournemouth in March and returned after only three weeks. The statistics have shown that since then he has made fewer shots and also fewer first-time shots. One of Kane's trademarks is to put itself in a flash and immediately unload. Has the injury affected reaction times?

Against Liverpool, Kane was treated impeccably by Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. But his anonymous performance was not only due to the central defenders of Liverpool – it had a lot to do with his teammates and you suspected he wanted to make that point more powerful than he did.

"People always look for things, especially if you are a big part of the team and someone who is there to achieve the goals," Kane said on Saturday. "As a team, we can do it all better and as a striker you will be talked about more."

Tottenham sleepwalked to beat and it was remarkable to see how negligent they were with the ball. They owned most of the property, but they looked fragile, with the latest mistake never far away. When they came, he snapped forward with a threat.

Eric Dier endured a traumatic game after he was shaken on an unknown spot on the right side of the midfield and he was guilty of a series of lapses. He was anything but the only one and Pochettino was very angry that his team was not able to build from the back – one of the touchstones of his style. This was partly the result of Liverpool's insistence, but it was terribly shocking to see Pochettino a fear factor. In short, a platform for Kane has never been built.

"We were a bit afraid to play from the back," said Pochettino. "That translates after the different lines – to the midfield and the offensive line.We got a lot of chances, there was a lack of pace and self-confidence and that surprised me, because if you play with a defensive line with a lot of experience, you would be more have confidence in your skills. "

The problems were technical – across the board – and it is difficult to ignore the feeling that something is not good at Spurs. "I know we won our first three games, but we said we can do better," said Kane.

The next one is for them the Champions League-opener at Internazionale on Tuesday. Kane is not the only one who has to play his game in San Siro.

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