Tag Archives: Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur 4 – 0 Liverpool: Match Report

19 Sep

Well, I must admit it feels rather nice to be writing about a game in which we’ve played really well (having missed the Wolves game).

I didn’t manage to get to this game and to be honest I nearly didn’t see it at all, given that I was supposed to be busy on Sunday, but I am so glad I did see it.

To a man, everyone on the pitch did their bit and it seemed like, as a side, we were tactically prepared and psychologically motivated to go out and do the job. There were obvious weaknesses in Liverpool’s side, many have which have been discussed at length by pundits and reporters alike. It was initially unclear which side of midfield Bale and Kranjčar would each start on, with Bale playing from the right against Wolves. What did seem clear though is that with Skrtel playing at right back for Liverpool, there was a weakness to be exploited, and exploited it was.

It was not only Bale and Kranjcar, but the whole midfield which was the defining area of the pitch. Liverpool’s midfield was unbalanced and inexperienced, leading to them eventually becoming completely swamped, regardless of the number of players they actually had on the pitch.

So before really getting into the game, the biggest question is, why have our games against Wolves and Liverpool been so different to those against the two Manchester clubs?

There is no doubt that Manchester City and United, with expensively assembled, high quality sides were always favourites against us, there is no doubt that anything earned from these games would be a bonus, with us finding ourselves at that difficult stage of being enough of a threat that the bigger teams never relax against us, but requiring the balance of luck and fate to be on our side to achieve a positive outcome. What there can be no excuse for is our pitiful turnout having gone a goal down against each side, not something which seemed to faze us last season.

The first obvious difference against both Wolves and Liverpool is, not only did we score first, we kept clean sheets. It’s hard to believe (despite the fact I love both Kaboul and Dawson) that the presence of King Ledley at the back hasn’t had something to do with that.

Secondly, a subtle change to our midfield has made such a difference. Modrić and Kranjčar, no matter how talented simply aren’t able to stem the flow of attacks from central positions. When Harry first arrived, both found themselves vying for the Left Midfield position, with a preference for an enforcer in the middle (Palacios initially showing what an improvement this was). Harry, despite being forced into playing the to Croats this season has always recognised this and we have certainly missed Sandro. Lennon, once our most incisive attacking outlet is also not missed, with him offering little in his first two appearances. I hope when he returns he isn’t blindly returned to the starting lineup, he seems like a player that needs the competition to keep him performing.

Thirdly our signings seem to have made such a difference. Neither Adebayor or Parker were the type of names to really get my juices flowing, however, not only have each been relatively cheap, they have been exactly what we needed. Adebayor has provided everything Crouch was unable to do. With strength and power both in terms of his movement and striking ability, coupled with a sharp mind, Adebayor has demonstrated how a striker can both score and link the play; with flick ons that actually reached his strike partners, you can be confident a ball played to him won’t immediately lead to it coming back towards you in the form of an opposition attack. Parker, despite being 30 has a serious engine. He keeps running, he keeps tackling and he keeps playing the simple passes. With him and Modrić in midfield, there is a grit and a level of quality which many teams will struggle to deal with this season.

Finally, whether it was the win against Wolves or the calming down of the storm around the club at the end of the transfer window, the mentality of every player seems to be worlds apart from the two early season defeats. Against the Manchester clubs Bale didn’t seem interested in running, the strikers couldn’t get their foot on it and Rafa was running around bawling his face off. What a change we’ve now seen.

During the first 20-25 minutes we absolutely decimated Liverpool, leading to a top drawer Luka Modrić goal (I’d like to see a few more of those in a Lilywhite shirt) and culminating in an inevitable Charlie Adam sending off. In fact, my housemate, Alex, predicted it with unnerving accuracy. As soon as Adam was booked he said, ‘he’ll be off’ and with Skrtel booked soon after his commented that they’d be down to 9 by the 60 minute mark, he was just 5 minutes out.

The drop down to 10 men, as it often seems to, actually galvanised Liverpool a little and may have led to some complacency in the Spurs ranks as Liverpool had their best spell of the game running up to half time. With a goal correctly disallowed for offside representing their best moment of the match and the only time they were able to split the Spurs defence.

The second half couldn’t come soon enough and Spurs looked dominant throughout. Eventually Skrtel picked up his inevitable second booking after felling Bale again and Liverpool looked like they would never get the chance to make an impact upon the game. Spurs made their advantage tell with a quick-fire double from Defoe and Adebayor respectively before deciding to play keep-ball for the remaining 20 minutes; Adebayor eventually ambling into the box and slamming home the 4th during injury time.

It’s hard to tell whether Liverpool were awful, or Spurs performing fantastically well, with a combination of the two likely. The only shame is that Spurs decided to take their foot off the gas and didn’t make their advantage count, preferring to show mercy to Liverpool’s remaining players and protecting their own sometimes brittle limbs.

Spurs’ Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 7.5
With not a single shot on goal until the last 10 minutes, the big Yank had little to do, but did what was asked of him well.

Kyle Walker 8
Was up and down the right wing and defended well enough against Downing on the few occasions he did get on the ball. Showed great promise with a couple of bursting runs, suggesting he can make up for the lack of Lennon and link up with Kranjčar.

Ledley King 8.5
Was rightly removed towards the end and I am surprised the change didn’t come earlier with fragile knees and groins to protect. Makes such a difference every time he plays.

Younès Kaboul 8.5
Constantly growing in his role, Kaboul is still prone to the odd error, but a worthy long term successor to King in the Spurs back four.

Benoît Assou-Ekotto 8
Cool as a cucumber.

Niko Kranjčar 7
Niko was only given 45 mins to make his impact and whilst he was not a stellar performer he played well.

Luka Modrić 9 (mom)
He doesn’t score enough, but took his chance today with the type of quality that makes him so coveted. Hopefully he can bed back into the squad properly and as much as I hate to admit it, continue to prove he is the man that makes Spurs tick.

Scott Parker 8.5
Just did everything that was asked of him so well. He did his little spin 360° round the ball thing a few times (look out for it if you’ve not noticed it already), but kept his passing simple for the most part and broke up the play well.

Gareth Bale 8
I’m still concerned that he’s believing the hype a little, but I also feel he has been found out a little, in the sense that any occasion he is double marked he’s unable to break free. However, with a better threat up front and a more solid and threatening midfield, hopefully teams will be unable to do-so, meaning he will get more chances like he did against Liverpool, in which he had free reign of the left wing.

Emmanuel Adebayor 9
Made his quality show. He dropped back to pick up the ball a little too much for me and wasn’t in the box when Bale was crossing enough, but he’s exactly what we need in that position.

Jermain Defoe 8
One great chance but often isolated by van der Vaart dropping deep and looking to influence the play, Defoe is not a lone striker and needs a supporting forward to help his game.

Sub ’45: Rafael van der Vaart 7
Replaced Kranjčar, Rafa clearly wanted a run out having got himself fit in record time. He didn’t have a great deal of impact on the game but didn’t do much wrong either. He was brought on to play on the right though… He didn’t.

Sub ’83: Sebastien Bassong 6.5
Replaced King, against a particularly weakened Liverpool side Bassong had little to do except a silly dance to celebrate Adebayor’s second goal.

Sub ’83: Giovani Dos Santos 6.5
Replaced Defoe, unfortunate to get on so late and didn’t have a chance to do much. Should be used in the traditional van der Vaart role really and hasn’t had a proper run there, hope to see him against Stoke.

Referee

It has to be said, I think Mike Jones refereed the game very well. Maybe I am biased because he sent off 2 Liverpool players, but all to often refs duck the big decisions and give players on a yellow card the benefit of the doubt. Jones did not, which is particularly nice to see given that Dalglish spent much of last week ranting about refereeing decisions. 8.5

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool: Preview

17 Sep

Barclays Premier League
Date: 18 September 2011 Kick-off: 13:30
Venue: White Hart Lane (London)
TV:
Radio:

2 games played whilst I was out of the country, with a win and a good draw acheived, which begs the question… Why did I come back? Well, I had no choice, but with any luck the good form will continue. While I’m wishing for luck, perhaps the permanent sun and 35ºc temperatures I experienced over the same period will continue too.

No?

Fair enough.

I won’t bore you with how much it bothers me (my OCD again) that my last couple of posts didn’t contain the normal level of detail (score graphic, squad lists, player ratings etc.) because you will have neither noticed nor cared. Not only that, I haven’t even been able to write anything about the PAOK game, despite being in the same country as the game itself. As a bare minimum I might go back and put the scoreline/scorers graphic into the Wolves post.

Anyway, instead of shaking in the corner and muttering about trying to find a match download from Thursday night, we have a Premier League game to look forward to, a big one at that.

We beat them twice last season

Liverpool are a team with an unrivalled history. United (of the Manchester variety) have now surpassed their total number of league victories, yet still are unable to match the Scouser’s 5 European Cup victories. However, in a similar vein to our own great club, they have faltered in the Premier League era, particularly in recent years. Whilst their decline does not compare to our own, still acheiving top 4 almost every season until this decade, the sense is now that if we do not finish above them in the league, we have underachived.

Kenny is credited with carrying on the Liverpool tradition, signing a number of young English players, some of whom we might have liked ourselves. Indeed it compares with the spell in which we acquired the likes of Huddlestone, Lennon, Jenas and a smattering of other young English players. The difference is their signings come with reputations and huge fess which ours did not. Whether it is indeed ‘King’ Kenny or ‘Scattergun’ Comolli making the signings, they do appear to have strengthened. I can’t shake the feeling Roy Hodgson was harshly treated and never got the money that Kenny has had to spend, I also felt Dalglish was past it, but there is no doubt he has acheived a fantastic feat in guiding the club up the league last season.

Our record has been good against Liverpool in recent times, but they are much changed and the match will be a difficult one.

1-0-2

So we’ve won one and lost two thus far. With our victory coming against a Wolves team playing well and losses against the two Manchester clubs, I’m genuinely finsfing it hard to know what to expect against this Liverpool side. My heart, as ever, says that they are there for the taking. We are at home against a side with no genuine stars and some young players with much promise but limited experience, this is not a classic Liverpool team. However, we’ve not covered ourselves in glory thus far.

Adebayor and Scott Parker seem to have provided a noticable improvement in areas that needed it, although I’ve yet to actually see them in action. Hopefully together with some effort from Modric and maybe a decent game or two from our wingers will lead to a proper upturn in form.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

Perhaps worryingly, possibly encouragingly, we are actually doing better this season than we were in the last. Clearly not in terms of points vs games played, but in terms of points accumulated in corresponding fixtures, we are 2 points up. Statistics can tell you anything you want though, so to be honest, who cares until 38 games have been played?

What we do need though, is to prove that not changing our team means we have at least stood still as opposed to falling backwards compared with last season, that means acheiving our first home victory.

Stuff I think about Liverpool

So, Robbie Keane’s boyhood club, apparently.

  • Why do players go there? Joining the club guarantees that your residence will be burgled on match day at least 42 times a season.
  • Why do players go there? They haven’t won anything in ages.
  • Why do players go there? They are managed by a slightly senile Scot who leaves at the first sign of success.
  • Why do players go there? It’s Liverpool for christ’s sakes? Have you been there? … Well I haven’t, because I hear it’s bloody awful!
  • They do actually have quite a decent anthem.
  • Their fans have a sense of humour.
  • If you plan on visiting Liverpool, maybe for the corresponding fixture, remove your hubcaps and, if possible, your car’s wheels prior to visiting in order to prevent them being stolen on arrival.

Spurs’ Team News

I can exclusively tell you… (It is an exclusive if you’ve not visited any other websites before this one):

Injuries: Aaron Lennon, Sandro, Michael Dawson, Danny Rose, Steven Pienaar, Tom Huddlestone, William Gallas.

Doubtful/Possible: Rafael van der Vaart, Ledley King.

Liverpool’s Team News

Injuries: Glen Johnson.

Doubtful: Steven Gerrard.

Prediction

I am still optimistic and I really think we should be beating Liverpool. However, I think they are going to come to the Lane with a point to prove and a point is exactly what I think they will come away with. Unfortunately I will have to agre with Lawron on the likely result, if not on the scoreline, opting, as I am, for a 2-2 draw.

996

I don’t want to tempt fate by mentioning the Arsenal score, but I will leave you with this from Saturday’s football, which is a rather pleasant image, particularly for those of us who still have a soft spot for our former ‘keeper.

Paul Robinson Celebrates

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