By Simon Boynton
Over eight painful days in 2014, Liverpool went from near ‘dead certs’ to win their first League title since 1990 to a disorganised shambles that could not hold on to a three-goal lead with less than 15 minutes to play against Crystal Palace.
Second place and Champions League football was little or no consolation to the Reds. That summer, Luis Suarez left for Barcelona and three years on they seem no closer to ending their long wait to be crowned English champions again.
Fast forward to 2017 and it is impossible to avoid the potential parallels with Tottenham who face Leicester at the King Power tonight before closing out an encouraging season at Hull on Sunday.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men have played exciting football over the last two seasons. However, for the second year running Spurs have fallen short and have some major pitfalls to avoid if they are going to take their challenge into a third season, and become No.1.
Firstly, White Hart Lane has been a fortress this season with the team going unbeaten in the League in their last season at the famous ‘Old Lady’ – they will have no such comfort blanket come August.
Secondly, their temporary home at Wembley has proved to be a nightmare during their disastrous 2016-17 European campaign(s). One win from four games played does not bode well.
Thirdly, new builds rarely come in on budget and so significant outlay on new players could become problematic. Spurs only have to cast an eye down the Seven Sisters Road to see how detrimental that can be to upward mobility.
Fourthly (and perhaps most tellingly), the club’s tight wage structure is purported to be the reason why the English trio of Rose, Walker and Dier are all allegedly looking northwards to either the Blue of the Red half of Manchester.
Pochettino, having confirmed he will still be in charge next season, said earlier today that Spurs will not attempt to compete with the ‘big boys’ by offering the huge sums on offer elsewhere.
Put all this together and whilst many (including myself) think that staying at the Lane would have made Spurs title favourites next season, success in 2017-18 could well prove to a bridge too far for the ambitious club from N17.