That Howard Webb eh? What a ref. Wonâ€™t hear a bad word against him. The Collina wannabeâ€™s decision to point to the spot when Pienaar fell under schoolboy Flanaganâ€™s shoulder barge shortly after half time meant that heâ€™d managed to court the controversy he seems to love and also that Luka Modric now had the chance to double our lead and make the prospect of that rarest of things, a win at Anfield, a very real one. For once we made the most of an important penalty and as Pepe Reina hurled himself at empty space, our favourite Croatian sidefooted the ball into the middle of the net.
Lukaâ€™s goal followed on from Van der Vaartâ€™s first half right foot dipping volley and meant that this game joined Blackburn at home and Villa away (I think) as the only league games this season where weâ€™ve held a two goal lead. We held on without needing to hit the panic button to notch a result that turned the form tables and all of a sudden puts us back in pole position to finish fifth and qualify for the Europa Plague. Whether we want to or not is open to debate.
It was fitting that Modric featured on the scoresheet, as his and Sandroâ€™s were once again outstanding performances. In many ways the overall display was very similar to that given at Eastlands on Tuesday except that here we managed to trouble the scorers in the right net. We started at a high tempo and again we dominated possession for long periods in a fashion that was pleasing was to see and bore the hallmark of a good & mature side. Sandroâ€™s ability to be everywhere at once allied to Modricâ€™s talent for taking & using wisely any ball at any pace and any angle meant that we forced Liverpool back from the off. Van der Vaart and Lennon were busy but as usual we looked lightweight up front.
However VdVâ€™s volley gave us the reward for our early pressure and, a miss from a free header by Carroll excepted, we never looked back. Suarez and Maxi spent as much time hurling themselves to the floor as attempting to help their side back into the game. Kuytâ€™s muscle and bluster seemed the most likely threat but the back four were all superb and kept him, and the rest of the home team, at bay. Ledley showed that class is permanent, Dawson gave a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time, Kaboul kept the in form Rodriguez totally quiet and Rose again made one wonder at his transformation from nervous winger to confident and accomplished fullback. Cudicini was unfussy and calm and only looked like losing it when Maxi fell under a phantom challenge in front of him.
It wouldnâ€™t be a Spurs game without losing a couple more players to injury and both Van der Vaart and Rose failed to finish this game (much to the annoyance of the excitable home crowd who seemed to think that deliberately weakening our own side was some sort of cunning and dastardly tactic). These two will hopefully be back for Birmingham next week which promises to be quite a battle given the Blues predicament at the bottom and our need to at least match whatever the scousers achieve at Villa.
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