Liverpool’s great run of form has edged them into 5th place in the League and into pole position for a place in next season’s Europa League competition. So this match was built up like a play off for the Europa League spot as Liverpool just overtook Tottenham last week after their impressive win over Fulham. Spurs have had a poor run of form recently since their exit in the Champions League and have only won one of their last 13 matches. Liverpool have been in impressive form and with the match at Anfield Liverpool were favourites. Liverpool’s last home game of the season and they would hope to sign off with a win.
Dalglish was forced into one change for this match with the fit again Carroll coming in for Meireles who picked up an injury against Fulham last Monday. So a little bit of a re-shuffle in the team but good to see the partnership of Suarez and Carroll starting as they have not had too many games together.
A great atmosphere for Liverpool’s last home game of the season bouyed by the recent news of Kenny Dalglish being made permanent manager with a 3 year contract. The Anfield faithful expected.
But it was Spurs who started better dominating possession in the early stages and looking dangerous as Liverpool struggled to cope with Tottenham’s good start.
Then in the 9th minute Spurs got their reward when Van der Vaart gave them the lead with a superb volley from the edge of the Liverpool penalty box after a Tottenham corner was half cleared.
Liverpool struggled to respond to this set back as they couldn’t get out of first gear and it wasn’t until the 23rd minute until they registered their first meaningful attack when Carroll miss-kicked a Maxi lay off. Then Dawson made an excellent clearance from a dangerous Kuyt centre as Liverpool tried to get back into the match.
In the 30th minute Liverpool had appeals for a penalty waved away from referee Howard Webb when Kuyt looked to have been hauled to the ground from behind in the penalty area. 5 minutes later Liverpool’s best move of the match resulted in Maxi squaring to Spearing but his stabbed effort rolled well wide.
Carroll missed the best chance of the half when he headed over at the back post from a perfect cross from Martin Skrtel. At the other end Crouch headed wide.
In first half stoppage time Suarez went very close from a free-kick just missing the target. So Spurs went in at the half with a 1-0 lead and with Liverpool having plenty to do in the second half.
Spurs started the second half the way they started the first half and Van der Vaart tried a chipped effort to double Tottenham’s lead but Reina was untroubled.
Then on 55 minutes Liverpool were dealt a hammer blow when Spurs were rewarded with a penalty after a coming together between Flanagan and Pienaar, TV replays prove the incident was outside the box but Webb pointed to the spot and Modric doubled Tottenham’s lead.
Liverpool responded and pushed Spurs back with Flanagan sending in a low cross which Suarez steered over the crossbar. Shelvey replaced Spearing as Dalglish opted for change in midfield and Shelvey went very close with his first touch being a long range drive going inches wide.
With 15 minutes remaining Dawson almost diverted a Liverpool corner into his own net but it ended up on the roof of the net. Liverpool pressed for the remainder of the game but Tottenham’s defence stood firm and Liverpool finished their last home game of the season with a disappointing defeat.
A disappointing result after the great run of form we have been on. Also a blow to lose 5th spot to Tottenham with only one game to play. Although it might work out in our favour next season to miss out on the Europa League and give us fewer games to play. Liverpool didn’t start the game very well and losing an early goal didn’t help. Credit to Spurs though they did play very well and also defended very well when we put them under pressure. Carroll showed glimpses of potential but he doesn’t look 100% yet and missed a glorious chance in the first half when he headed over. Suarez looked a frustrated figure as he constantly showed displeasure with referee Howard Webb’s decisions. Webb never gave us much and waved away any appeals for penalties from the home side. Then Webb confirmed his reputation with the Anfield faithful when he gave Spurs that penalty which looked like Pienaar had cut across Flanagan fouling the youngster and replays prove it was also outside the penalty box. Liverpool didn’t play well enough to deserve anything from the game but I reckon it was just a bad day at the office as Liverpool’s revival will continue.
Man Of The Match – John Flanagan – Superb match from the youngster with some crunching tackles and responded brilliantly after the penalty decision going against him. Very unlucky to get booked and got forward when he could puting in some dangerous crosses.
written by Jamie McLaughlin blog at http://theliverword.blogspot.com/