Our first real test against quality opposition ended in abject failure and on another day could have been even worse.
Liverpool were victorious in what turned out to be a one sided match despite all the pre-game hype. Tottenham played with a lot of passion but sadly lacked in quality when it came to carving out clear goal scoring opportunities. Liverpool had 17 shots and a mammoth 8 on target. We had 7 shots and a measly one on target. That tells it owns story.
Whatever silent aspirations Spurs fans were harbouring of gate crashing the title chase, has been given a harsh reality check back to planet earth. This loss does not mean the end of the world like some people would have you believe but a loss is always a disappointment nonetheless.
On the balance of play, Spurs did not play too shabby when the game was poised at just 1-0 down. Lacklustre defending cost us the first one and it is always a massive let down to concede within the first fifteen minutes. In the first half, Liverpool were wasteful with the chances they created and should have added to their opening goal. Balotelli, obviously eager to impress, made a hash of some golden opportunities that came his way.
We had decent possession and had some bright spells but rarely found enough space to really hurt Liverpool. The best chances we managed to create fell to Adebayor who could not direct his lob on target with the goalkeeper committed off his line. Chadli was also set through on goal by a direct long ball that squirmed into his path, but he could only volley his shot straight at the goal, when scoring looked easier. Bar these clear cut chances, we struggled to create anything of note against Liverpool.
Liverpool deserved to go into half time with the lead. In the second half, Spurs actually started with some intent. The turning point of the match came from Phil Dowd’s dubious decision to award Liverpool a penalty. Before the match begun, I indicated to my wife how inconsistent that ref was. When he gave the penalty, she clearly understood why.
At 2-0 down it was an uphill struggle from there. Christian Eriksen, the superstar of last seasons endeavours, failed to impose his creative authority on the game. That coupled with Lamela and Chadli’s lack of influence starved Ade of any service. Our midfield duo did what they could to fend off the attentions of Liverpool’s constant pressure but ultimately crumbled in the end. Eriksen rightly got subbed and Townsend his replacement did no better, in fact with his first touch, conceded possession that directly led to Moreno marauding down the left flank and arrowing the ball into the bottom corner. At that point, it was game-set and done.
My observations of the game are this. Liverpool won the game because at present they are ahead of us. Not in terms of quality because man for man, I would dare to even say we have better players than they have with the exception of some of their very special players ala Sterling. We lost today because we are a work in progress, a new era in its infancy with a new manager at the helm establishing a new way of playing. Some overly concerned fans have been vociferous in demanding we bring a ship load of new players. That is nothing more than an emotional response. We do need a few new faces, such as Stambouli, who is set to join us apparently.
Liverpool were better and were fantastic. However, people tend to forget how the Merseyside landscape looked when Rogers first landed at Anfield. A season peppered with draws and frustrating performances. Henderson was a villain to many of the Kopites and the Andy Caroll transfer had become an embarrassing chapter in the clubs history. There were calls for the manager to even be sacked.
The point I am making is, Brendan is well into his journey with his philosophy. Its taken time but his players have bought into his ideas and have had plenty of time to adjust to it. In our case Poch has only had 3 PL games to try to get his ideas across and guess what? It will take time!
Signs are already there that this team is departing from the shenanigans of last seasons dire performances. We got beat by a team advanced with their strategy and philosophy of playing the game. Things can only get better so keep the faith. It could be worse. You could be supporting Manchester United.
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