Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool travelled to White Hart Lane on the back of an 8 match unbeaten league run, but the London ground has not been a happy hunting ground in recent years, having not won there since the reign of Rafa at the end of the 2007-08 season. Spurs are a dangerous attacking side with players like Bale, Lennon and Defoe, but Liverpool have recorded back to back clean sheets which will give the visitors great confidence going into the match.
Brendan Rodgers selected an unchanged side to face Spurs, which surprised many. Stewart Downing was selected at left back once again, alongside, Skrtel, Agger, and Johnson at right back, with Pepe Reina in goal. Jose Enrique was again selected to play in his new role in left midfield, with Allen, Henderson, Gerrard and Sterling wide on the right of midfield, Suarez again playing up front.
The home side started on the front foot, and Gareth Bale caused anxiety for Reina with a swerving, dipping, long range, dangerous free kick, which he eventually managed to scramble to safety.
This was an early warning of what was to come, because moments later Bale flashed a shot across the face of goal after Defoe had robbed Gerrard of possession.
But in the 7th minute Spurs took the lead when the rampaging Bale burst clear down the right evading challenges from Gerrard and Johnson before firing across goal to Lennon who tapped the ball into the net at the back post with left back Downing left standing.
Liverpool retaliated, Lloris saved an effort from Suarez, before Henderson missed an open goal under pressure from Walker. Seconds later, Henderson was adjudged to have fouled Dempsey and from the resulting free kick, Gareth Bale’s effort clipped the head of the unfortunate Henderson sending Reina the wrong way and the ball into the net, doubling the home side’s lead.
The game was being played at a frenetic pace with both sides producing dangerous attacks. Liverpool thought they should have had a penalty when Gerrard burst into the box, then going down from a challenge from behind by Dembele, but referee Phil Dowd waved play on. Suarez poked a shot at goal from the resulting challenge but Walker made an amazing goal line clearance.
Liverpool came out for the second half with great intent and pegged the hosts back as they looked to claw their way back into the game. Liverpool huffed and puffed but could not find the net until the 72nd minute when Gerrard headed a net bound effort from a corner to Lennon on the goal line who could only smash his clearance into Gareth Bale’s face resulting in the ball going into the Tottenham net.
Liverpool now looked for a second with Suarez looking the most likely to achieve this, and he went close smashing a volley just over the bar after Agger refused to give up on a ball at the goal line. Then, in the last 5 minutes Suarez went down under a strong challenge from Gallas in the box from an Enrique pass, but referee Dowd waved away appeals.
Spurs hung on for the victory, but Liverpool left frustrated after a spirited effort and aggrieved at a few decisions going against them once again.
When I saw Brendan’s team I thought we would lose, mainly because I thought Downing at left back was a big mistake against the dangerous Lennon, and my vision was realised at the first goal when he was caught out with Lennon getting behind him. But Liverpool responded brilliantly from a disastrous start to the match. We created a lot of chances and were unlucky a few times and also wasteful a few times. Enrique had another good game down the left and Suarez looked the mostly likely to score. Gerrard and Allen look to be struggling just now and Sterling looked jaded which can only be expected from the youngster. Once again we are left frustrated by officials. The Gerrard incident was a stone wall penalty and Dempsey just dived when under pressure from Henderson when he won the free kick that led to Tottenham’s second goal. I think Gallas touched some of the ball when he challenged Suarez at the other penalty appeal, but I’ve seen them given. A really good performance by Liverpool after a terrible start, but another hard luck story of missed chances and poor refereeing decisions. Liverpool’s luck must change sometime, hopefully soon.