Tottenham’s first meeting with a top six rival this season created question marks over the club’s decision to let Kyle Walker leave for Manchester City.
Although the personal relationship between Walker and Mauricio Pochettino appeared to deteriorate in the months prior to his departure, a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Wembley in which the Lilywhites dominated possession highlighted the differences between Kieran Trippier and his former team-mate; a tidy footballer no doubt, but lacking the dynamism needed to truly penetrate top teams in the wing-back role.
But the two-cap England international has consistently impressed this season and he was instrumental in Tottenham passing the second-biggest test of their Premier League campaign on Sunday, demolishing Liverpool in a 4-1 home win.
In comparison to the Chelsea game which saw him create one chance and complete one dribble in the space of ninety minutes, the 27-year-old was a real force going forward, epitomised best by his set-up for Harry Kane’s opening goal.
But Trippier’s most important impact on the match was shown through the failure of the opposition – particularly Philippe Coutinho. There was a moment early in the first half when the wing-back left his flank to tackle the playmaker in the centre of the pitch – that summed up what proved to be an incredibly difficult ninety minutes for the Brazil international, who failed to have any real effect on a game he was essentially muscled out of.
Perhaps the biggest testament to the job Trippier did on his man came after half an hour, when Jurgen Klopp felt compelled to shake up his ranks by taking off struggling centre-back Dejan Lovren and moving Coutinho into central midfield with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taking up the left wing role instead.
Those concerns that he wouldn’t be able to fill Walker’s void in big games seem like a lifetime ago now, and Tottenham fans were quick to shower Trippier with praise on social media.