SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) LIVERPOOL 1(1)
Milner (pen), 43
Referee:- Bobby Madley
Assistants:- P. Kirkup & M. Perry
Fourth official:- C. Pawson
Spurs(4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Walker (sub Janssen, 28), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Wanyama; Eriksen (sub Winks, 90+3), Alli, Lamela; Kane (sub Onomah, 83)
(Armband to Vertonghen)
Subs not used:- McGee; Carter-Vickers, Davies; Son
Booked:- Rose (foul on Firmino), Vertonghen (foul on Mane), Alli (kicking ball away)
Liverpool(4-1-3-2):- Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Henderson (Capt.); Lallana (sub Stewart, 90+4), Wijnaldum, Coutinho (sub Origi, 69); Mane (sub Sturridge, 88), Firmino
Subs not used:- Manninger; Moreno, Grujic, Lucas
Booked:- Mane (foul on Alli), Coutinho (preventing free kick), Lovren (foul on Janssen), Henderson (foul/dissent)
Glad to get a point.
After a bright start during which Spurs had a good penalty shout turned down by referee Bobby Madley, Spurs soon became the second best team on the park as Jurgen Klopp's men, playing an attacking style, pressed us back, and always looked the more likely team to score. A penalty was given though, against Spurs, perhaps harshly, because Lamela's foul on Firmino looked to be outside the area, and James Milner put the "Reds" in the lead just before half-time.
Spurs levelled thanks to a Danny Rose goal in the 72nd minute, and at least forced Mignolet to make several good saves in the second half. Vincent Janssen had to settle for a starting place on the bench again, but was called into action when Kyle Walker was withdrawn through illness after only 28 minutes. Walker had gone down in the piece of play that had led to a sharp Countinho shot - well saved by Vorm, who certainly did not let Spurs down with several other saves, including two after defensive deflections. Walker's illness begs the question as to why he started, but maybe he had said "I'm okay boss"!
After that early promise by Spurs, it was Liverpool who successfully played the pressing game, whereas Spurs reverted to an out of form type which too often led to back passes, even from advantageous positions, and to mis-placed passes.
Klopp's recent signing Joel Matip, who is quite a big unit, seems to have settled in, and with Milner at left back that previously fragile defence has been beefed up. Mind you, Spurs hardly managed a shot on goal before the second half.
Henderson was the nominated defensive midfielder, but any of the other five in front of the defence could be found in advanced positions. Coutinho, Firmino and Mane particularly were always on hand to chase balls put into space, and the Spurs boys were under pressure for a lot of the game.
Eriksen, Alli and Lamela were actively getting forward in the first few minutes. Danny Rose collected a pass outside the left of the box, hitting an attempted pass, which seemed to be handled, but the referee was having none of Spurs' appeals. Mr. Madley was certainly not a "homer". In another attack, Dele Alli tried to chip a shot over Mignolet from the right side of the area, but the ball passed over the target. Lamela was one of the players seeking an inside pass.
Liverpool's first chance of note came after Firmino's pass inside from the right. Coutinho's shot took a deflection off Alderweireld, and Vorm had to be sharp to save. At the other end, in front of the South Stand, Danny Rose was fouled on the edge of the box. Eriksen took the kick and Mignolet saved with a two-handed punch, which led to a Spurs throw.
Harry Kane chased a ball down the inside right channel, and the ball was fed out to Danny Rose on the left. Ultimately, Dele Alli had another chance, but couldn't get full power on his shot.
After 13 minutes Sadio Mane made a run and had a shot deflected which had to be pushed clear by Vorm. Soon after that Vorm was making a clearing tackle at the feet of Mane in the box. Mane was always a threat, but he is also a dramatist, which I think is recognised by officials. Another Liverpool threat was stemmed by a vital touch by Jan Vertonghen, before Vorm again had to advance to clear.
Milner got the better of Kyle Walker, passing to Coutinho, whose shot was blocked. Soon after this, Countinho had a great chance to score, but took too much time, allowing Vorm to save. Mane had been the provider.
Kyle Walker went down with his illness, and had to be replaced after only 28 minutes. Janssen came on, taking chief striker duties, with Kane behind him. Eric Dier covered at full back, and Dele Alli slipped back next to Wanyama. Wanyama might have been caught on the hop a few times by the Liverpool swift passing, but he soon settled to be one of Spurs' most impressive players in their own half.
After 31 minutes, Dele Alli chipped a nice ball for Janssen to chase, but Matip nonchalantly blocked Vincent just inside the box, and the referee found no offence in the blatant foul. Mane soon got booked for fouling Alli, and the former Southampton player was sailing very close to the wind as soon after that Mr. Madley had "words" with Mane after he chopped down Danny Rose in the Spurs area.
Both teams lost a bit of fizz in the period leading up the interval, but the penalty came as Lamela chased Firmino towards the box along the goal-line and the Brazilian went down. Milner fired to Vorm's right. In added time Countinho got a yellow card for preventing Spurs taking a free kick. I don't know why he worried, as most of Spurs free kicks went backwards.
Those Liverpool forwards were too often finding space, particularly on the Spurs right flank. Firmino advanced down that side, and cut the ball back for Wijnaldum, whose shot passed just over Vorm's bar.
Mane was out of order yet again, leaving a foot in on Danny Rose who had to leave the field during a Liverpool attacking throw-in. Harry Kane lost a challenge after 50 minutes inside the Liverpool half. Wanyama picked up the loose ball, feeding it to Eriksen, who hit a right footed shot wide.
"Big Unit" Matip headed Milner's corner just over. Then Nathan Clyne had a shot deflected by Danny Rose, conceding a corner as the ball was just outside the post. Vorm reacted, but couldn't stop the ball going over the line.
Soon after that, Liverpool had the ball in the net through Mane, but either he or his assistant - Lallana - had been called offside. The frustrating thing about this rapid counter by three Liverpool players was the fact that Eric Dier had given the ball away after a Spurs free kick well inside the Liverpool area.
Toby Alderweireld hit a nice ball out to Dier on the right, and this time Eric hit a nice low cross, which was met by Eriksen, but with his left foot, pushing the shot wide, when a goal looked on the cards. Lovren got booked for a foul on Janssen just outside the box on Liverpool's left. Erik Lamela took the kick, which was well saved by Mignolet, tipping the ball over for a corner. Mignolet now saved Alderweireld's header from Eriksen's corner. Harry Kane tried to lay the ball up for Dier after a good Spurs move, but the ball was closer to red shirts than to white.
The Spurs equaliser when it came resulted from another Alderweireld ball to Dier, whose cross led to an aerial challenge in the box where Lamela's touch reached Danny Rose with time to measure his shot in front of the North Stand.
Both teams were keen to try and collect all three points, and frustrations mounted on both sides. Clyne got inside Rose, but hit his shot wide. Harry Kane was replaced by Josh Onomah, who showed plenty of energy, and not a little application. He soon won a corner taken by Eriksen, but headed over by Alderweireld. More effort, tenacity and skill against and through Liverpool players at close quarters led to an attempted one-two with Dele Alli providing the final pass, but too close to the defence.
Daniel Sturridge got on only for a few closing minutes, replacing Mane who had somehow stayed on the pitch for 88 minutes. Wanyama hit a decent right footed shot after a Spurs throw on the left, but the ball just slipped outside Mignolet's left post.
At the other end, Firmino cut the ball back to Wijnaldum, whose shot was deflected by Alderweirld and very well saved by the fast reacting Michel Vorm.
The three minutes (plus) of added time featured late substitutions by both sides, but no more goal action. It was a game either team could have won in the end, but Liverpool will be the more disappointed team with the draw. This was our third consecutive draw against Liverpool.
Spurs remain unbeaten after three games, and (at the time of writing) in the top six with 5 points. Two of our three goals have come from defending players. It is surely time for our strikers to "find their mojo"!
We now have the first International break before an always tricky journey to Stoke in two weeks' time.
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