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Liverpool v Spurs, 25.10.16

(7.45 PM)

Liverpool scorer:-
Sturridge 9,64

Spurs scorer:-
Janssen (pen), 76

Attendance:- 53,051

Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Simon Bennett & Andrew Halliday
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

Teams:- Liverpool (4-2-3-1):- Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold (sub Clyne, 68), Lucas (Capt.), Klavan, Moreno; Stewart, Ejaria; Wijnaldum, Grujic (sub Can, 89), Origi (sub Ings, 68); Sturridge

Subs not used:- Karius; Lovren; Lallana; Mane

Booked:- Alexander-Arnold (foul on Davies), Ings (foul on Wimmer), Grujic (foul on Wanyama)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies; Winks, Dier (Capt.) (sub Wanyama, 67); Onomah, Carroll (sub Lamela, 61), Nkoudou (sub Harrison, 83); Janssen
(Armband to Vorm)

Subs not used:- Pau Lopez; Vertonghen, Walkes; Amos

Booked:- Winks (foul on Ings), Wimmer (foul on Ings)

Anfield at kick-off

Spurs clear four dates off the calendar

The announcement of the teams suggested there had been a pre-match arrangement by both managers whereby they would both field weaker teams than those they use in the Premier League. Only Eric Dier – moved to his usual defensive position, and given the Captain’s armband – survived from those who had started for either team at the week-end. Liverpool’s attack looked the strongest part of their team, and Spurs’ defence looked the strongest section for the visitors. After all, even our second string back four contained full internationals Ben Davies and Kevin Wimmer. Both sides played some of their kids, with right back Trent Alexander-Arnold – just 18 years old – impressing against Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, who made his first Spurs start, but had a bad night, failing to get the better of his opponent, and sadly having the worst of starts when he slipped to let in the home side for an early goal. Thereafter, it was a steeper uphill climb for Spurs, who didn’t truly compete until the seasoned Lamela and Wanyama arrived in the second half. Spurs went two down – both scored by Sturridge – and got one back through a Janssen penalty, but the score-line flatters as Sturridge could have had two or three more goals.

You have to give credit to the Liverpool fans, who flocked to Anfield, almost filling their stadium which has an increased capacity with the addition of a tier to the main stand. Perhaps many of those fans were also travelling from the south, because reaching Liverpool was a nightmare with a combination of roadworks and perhaps half-time traffic delaying their journeys. Spurs fans had travelled to this game in their droves, and sang their hearts out, even when faced with defeat. The end result is that one trophy is off the Spurs agenda for another season, with just four games now to play for the EFL Cup-winning team.

A Liverpool team featuring none of their starters against West Brom still included the threat of recent signing Wijnaldum, and strikers Origi and Sturridge going forward. 20 year old Marko Grujic, signed in the summer from Serbian side Crvena Zvezda, made his full debut and also impressed. Liverpool were a high energy outfit. They closed us down in all areas, but often seemed to have space where it counted. Spurs, particularly in the first half, were too often tentative going forward, but they did come out of their shells more after the break.

Spurs had a bright start, winning two early corners, but Liverpool broke clear with Nkoudou making a good tackle to prevent Sturridge’s progress. Unfortunately, all too soon, it was Nkoudou who slipped in a dangerous position, allowing Grujic to shoot; Vorm went to ground trying to save, but Sturridge was able to comfortably fire home the loose ball. A minute later, Vorm had to push over another Sturridge shot, this one taken with the left foot from the right of the box.

Tom Carroll had been given the play-maker position for Spurs in the centre of midfield, but sadly failed to make much play during the game. He did get a good early pass to Janssen, who was busy all night. Janssen went down either in the box, or just outside, but referee Jon Moss saw no offence. Kevin Wimmer was caught out near the half-way line as Origi beat him to break forward down the Liverpool right flank. Spurs defended well in the box, but the ball fell kindly to Sturridge, who hit a tame shot at Vorm. Trippier was fouled going forward on the right and took the free kick, floating it deep into the Liverpool area in front of The Kop. Janssen headed the ball back across the goal, but over the bar.

Alexander-Arnold was booked for his crunching challenge on Ben Davies. The Spurs bench was angry, and felt this could have been a red card offence, but the referee showed yellow. Trippier was fouled again on the right, and after he again took the free kick both Janssen and Nkoudou had their efforts blocked. The final result was another Spurs corner.

Spurs put themselves under pressure with the wrong pass to Harry Winks in the middle, allowing Sturridge and Grujic to break forward . Grujic’s shot passed wide across Vorm’s goal. After a Liverpool corner Moreno’s shot was well intercepted by Cameron Carter-Vickers, outing the ball out for a corner.

Spurs played towards their fans in The Anfield Road Stand, and after 51 minutes Nkoudou’s throw went to Janssen who hit a good pass to Kieran Trippier, trying a dipping shot which went just over the bar. At the other end Origi’s pace was a constant threat and he crossed for Sturridge, who fired wide again. The referee waved play-on after Eric Dier appeared to have been fouled and Wijnaldum gave Sturridge another chance, but Vorm came off the better again. Carroll hit a decent ball to Nkoudou, who came inside and tried a shot, but this was easy for goalkeeper Mignolet, who had rarely been tested all night.

A Liverpool ball reached Sturridge in the middle, with Eric Dier going down. Sturridge passed to Origi, whose shot was well saved by Vorm. Carroll was replaced by Lamela, who took up his central midfield position Lamela soon had a chance on the edge of the box after a Liverpool error. Erik might have tried a shot, but instead passed to Ben Davies on the left, whose cross was cleared. Now Liverpool made a quick break, and Wijnaldum put Sturridge clear. Sturridge was on his own and he scored to the left of Vorm. Spurs had a mountain to climb now.

Eric Dier ( no doubt required at centre-back on Saturday) was replaced by Wanyama, with Michel Vorm taking the captain’s armband. Klopp made a double substitution with Clyne replacing Alexander-Arnold and Danny Ings on for Origi. A Sturridge free kick taken from the left side passed safely over the target. Vorm made a good save from another Liverpool free kick, this one taken by Wijnaldlum.

Spurs had a window of opportunity open when the battling Lamela was needlessly fouled just inside the Liverpool area. Once again, Erik wanted the ball, but Vincent Janssen sent the keeper the wrong way to score his second penalty goal of the season. We’re all just itching for that first one from open play! With Lamela and Wanyama on the field and both playing a part in Spurs’ forward movements, Pochettino’s side showed they could compete with just a little more experience than the starting line-up. Spurs had another penalty shout after Davies’ pass to Janssen and his lay-off to Lamela who seemed to be impeded in the box, but the referee deemed that no foul had been committed.

Spurs had a lucky escape when another Sturridge shot beat Vorm, but not the crossbar, rebounding clear off the underside of the woodwork. A Spurs corner taken by Lamela was cleared as far as Harry Winks, who fed the ball to Wanyama, making a run into the area before his shot was saved. Nkoudou was replaced by Shayon Harrison – making his competitive debut for Spurs. Harrison had a dream chance to score after a lovely ball by Lamela, but the young striker just could not control the ball properly, allowing it to run to Mignolet.

Vorm was in action again as Trippier under-hit an intended back-header, with Ings seizing the ball and hitting a powerful shot, with the Spurs keeper making a great save. There were four minutes of added time and Ings drew a couple of Spurs fouls (and bookings). Spurs’ one chance in added time came when Winks had Harrison available to his right but chose to shoot, hitting the ball well over.

All I can say is that we had better beat Leicester on Saturday and maintain our challenge on the top four. At least we will be at Wembley next week in front of a full house when Bayer Leverkusen come to town. By the way, Spurs fans did let Anfield know that we are on a European tour this season!

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