BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 2ND APRIL, 2016
LIVERPOOL 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- S Long, A Halliday
Fourth Official:- M Jones
Liverpool (4-2-3-1):- Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Henderson (Capt.), Can; Milner (sub Ibe, 90+3), Lallana (sub Allen, 82), Coutinho; Sturridge (sub Origi, 72)
Subs not used:- Ward; Toure, Skrtel, Smith
Booked:- Coutinho (simulation), Can (foul on Alli)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Son (sub Chadli, 66), Alli (sub Mason, 88), Eriksen; Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Onomah, Carroll
A point well earned, but will it be enough?
A point gained by any team at Anfield is a good result, and for Spurs, who have only ever won two of their previous 23 Premier league games here, the one point gained was well earned, and a good result indeed. The question of whether that will be enough to maintain a title challenge against Leicester (who play tomorrow) remains to be seen. The fact is this match really could have gone either way, and despite a late push and more possession overall, Spurs had to be satisfied with a share only of the spoils.
Spurs’ only change from the team which started against Bournemouth two weeks ago was the replacement of Erik Lamela with Heung-min Son. Lamela had an arduous and later return than the rest of the squad, and was clearly deemed not to be fit enough to take part today. Sadly, his replacements (Son and substitute Chadli) couldn’t quite provide the goods when offered chances by their team-mates. Son had one cracking chance in the second half, but fired wide across Mignolet’s goal.
There were plenty of good performances from Spurs, not least from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, called upon especially in the first half; Kyle Walker – a man right on his game at the moment; Mousa Dembele, who continues to nick the ball so often in midfield, and others too. In the first half, I would say our front four were not quite on their game, and Liverpool succeeded in playing us at our game – pressing everywhere.
It was a hard-fought game in every part of the pitch, and whilst plenty will moan about referee Jon Moss and his officials, overall I think he did a pretty good job of a) controlling the game and b) trying to let it flow.
Despite the evening kick-off, the temperature in the stadium felt quite warm. Liverpool kicked off, playing towards the Anfield Road stand. Son and Walker had an early exchange of passes on the right, with Walker putting Son in a good position, but his cross was over-hit and cleared. After 8 minutes, a great cross-field ball by Danny Rose reached Walker, again in an advanced position down the right wing. Walker passed inside to Son, who teed up Eriksen for a shot which was saved by Mignolet. Son tried to take advantage of the loose ball, but was called offside.
It was always tight in the midfield. Sturridge and Lallana made a break down the right wing and won a corner. Spurs do tend to play passes into difficult areas, and they were punished after one such pass by Walker, aimed for Dembele, who was surrounded by at least three red shirts. Liverpool came out with the ball, and James Milner had a shot blocked by Wimmer, before Lallana hit an easy shot for Lloris to save. Another Liverpool shot, this time by left back Moreno, was deflected by Son, inside his own box on the right, and well saved by Hugo at the expense of a corner. During this passage of play when Liverpool were on top, Coutinho got the first booking of the match for diving just inside the Spurs half, as he sought an unfair advantage. The referee easily spotted his misdemeanour.
Walker won a good challenge deep inside his half, and sent the ball down the line. Alli and Son carried on the move, with Kane taking the ball round the right of the defence, before hitting a good shot just wide in front of the post across the goal. Walker won another good challenge inside his own penalty area, back-heeling the ball against the attacker’s feet to secure a goal-kick.
Sturridge had a chance after 35 minutes, but didn’t make the most of his opportunity, with Hugo saving and conceding another corner. Coutinho passed inside to Lallana, who forced another good Lloris save. From the corner, Lallana had a back-heeled attempt cleared. Spurs went on the attack after a throw on the right and Harry Kane had a shot blocked. In this half, Harry had also been closed down by Mignolet, with the ball ballooning off Kane’s feet and sailing just over the Liverpool goal in front of the Kop Stand.
Hugo made another great save from Lallana, as he had to dive and stretch to his right and pat the ball away with his (left) upper hand. Danny Rose required treatment, and Spurs gained little advantage despite the referee’s intentions. Mr. Moss had “words” with the offender Nathan Clyne. A snatch shot by Dele Alli was saved by Mignolet in his right corner.
Three minutes into the second half, Eriksen prompted Kane’s cross from the left. Dele Alli’s header was easy for the goalkeeper.
Liverpool’s goal did not come as a surprise after all their first half efforts, but did not come within a spell of pressure by the home team. It did result from a moment of skill though, as Coutinho exchanged with Sturridge to his left, and ran on for the return, firing low past Lloris inside his left post. Spurs had a chance to respond immediately when Kyle Walker received a great ball and fed Son, who took just too much time on the ball before making his decision. He won a corner, but could have done better.
Sturridge had a header held after a deep cross from the left, and after a great ball by Dier, Son had another chance to score. He did hit a powerful shot, but it passed wide across the goalmouth. Spurs went deservedly level through a goal of some excellence. Christian Eriksen did well to chase down a long ball to the left of the area, and on the stretch just managed to turn the ball inside to Harry Kane, who was allowed to run across Lovren, and fire home a great shot into the corner of the net to the left of Mignolet. This was Harry's 22nd Premier League goal of the season, making him our record Premier league goalscorer in a single season.
With Liverpool still mathematically in the hunt for a Champions League place, and Spurs of course desperate to try and claim all three points, both teams went all out for the win, with Spurs now looking the more likely team to win. Danny Rose passed inside to Harry Kane who set up Eriksen for a shot which Mignolet pushed round for a corner.
Spurs put themselves under pressure sometimes, with free kicks from advanced positions passed backwards. From one such situation, Liverpool won two corners in quick succession, but nothing else, thankfully. Eriksen made a break for Spurs down the right side and tried to feed substitute Chadli, who could do no better than Son, but won a corner. Hugo Lloris was hobbling a little and Michel Vorm was warming up, as at the other end Dembele and Eriksen combined to try and set up Alli, who got into the box on the right, but saw Mignolet get the better of the situation. Vorm never came on, although Lloris might need some looking at next week.
Danny Rose made a determined advance into the Liverpool half, and seemed to be fouled, but the referee waved play-on. Liverpool nearly took advantage of the situation, putting Spurs under pressure. Kyle Walker seemed to slip for once allowing Origi to put in Coutinho, but the Brazilian fired the wrong side of the post. Lloris made a save to his right from substitute Joe Allen, whilst at the other end, Chadli again did not make the most of a chance on the right.
Harry Kane was fouled about 25 yards out after 89 minutes, and Eriksen hit the kick just outside and over the height of the goal. As we entered three minutes of added time, Danny Rose hit a powerful cross, and Mignolet could only parry, with the ball running to Dembele who half-hit but directed a good shot inside the keeper’s left post. Mignolet was able to save at the expense of a corner. Spurs had two corners in added time, with Alderweireld heading one of these wide. A Danny Rose cross intended for Chadli just failed to reach its target, and again Liverpool cleared the corner.
As anticipated, both Arsenal and Man City won (and convincingly) today. Arsenal are closest to us, four points behind with a game in hand. We’ll just have to cheer on Southampton tomorrow against Leicester! Next up for Spurs will be Man Utd next Sunday afternoon.
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