SUNDAY 27TH OCTOBER, 2019
LIVERPOOL 2(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Salah, 75 (pen)
Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official:- Mike Dean
VAR:- Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR:- Dan Robathan.
Liverpool (4-3-3):- Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson (Capt.), Fabinho, Wijnaldum (sub Milner, 77); Salah (sub Gomez, 85), Firmino (sub Origi, 90+3), Mane
Subs not used:- Adrian; Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana
Booked:- Lovren (foul on Kane), Alexander-Arnold (foul on Kane), Milner (foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Aurier (sub Lucas Moura, 84), Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose; Sissoko, Winks (sub Ndombele, 63); Eriksen (sub Lo Celso, 88), Dele, Son; Kane (Capt.)
Subs not used:- Austin (GK); Vertonghen, Dier, Davies
Booked:- Sissoko (preventing free kick after foul on Robertson), Rose (foul on Henderson), Ndombele (foul on Fabinho)
Spurs slip into the bottom half
This was a big, big result for Liverpool, who had dropped two points at Old Trafford last week, and needed to re-instate their 6 point lead over Manchester City as they chase a first League title for 30 years. For Spurs, of course, it was a bad result which led to them dropping into the bottom half of the table. Spurs could forget about any title aspirations weeks ago, but they now face a challenge to regain a top four place. That challenge begins next week – again in Liverpool, but across Stanley Park against Everton.
Spurs did have a dream start with Harry Kane’s first minute goal, and thanks largely to a number of excellent saves by Paulo Gazzaniga, they held that lead until the second half. Son hit the bar with an early shot in that second half which could have changed the whole picture, but Jordan Henderson equalised in front of The Kop, before Salah capitalised on a VAR decision to confirm a penalty for a foul by Serge Aurier on Mane. That’s not the first time this year Mane has won a penalty against Spurs, of course. In the scheme of things, to lose by one goal against such an in-form Liverpool side is no disgrace, but it was sad to slink away from Anfield with yet another defeat under our belts.
I’ll be honest, I was hoping to see the team which had beaten Crvena zvezda so well in Tuesday’s Champions League game given a chance today, but Mauricio Pochettino’s team selection caused a few raised eyebrows among Spurs fans. Eriksen played and was ineffective. Harry Winks played and was also less than effective. Apart from Gazzaniga, Son and Kane, performances were moderate.
Now that the clocks have gone back the game was played under the floodlights and these days Sky seems to have put off the kick-off for Sunday evening games to 4.30pm. It had been a bright and sunny, if chilly day in the breeze.
Spurs kicked off and actually quelled one Mane threat before they got that excellent start. Sissoko sent Son away down the left side. Sonny hit a right foot shot which took a deflection off Lovren before rebounding off the top of the bar with Alisson beaten. Harry Kane stooped to head home for his 174th club goal, drawing level with Martin Chivers and now third in the list of all-time Spurs scorers. The Kop had been stunned into silence. VAR confirmed the goal.
I was in Row 4 just behind Gazzaniga’s goal, and most of the play was in our direction for the rest of the first half. In the second half it was mostly in the other direction, so I didn’t have a great view. Thanks Spurs!
After 13 minutes Firmino passed to Robertson on the left. The left-back’s cross was held by Gazzaniga. I was concerned about the space afforded to both Liverpool full backs for a lot of the game. Aurier went down and needed some treatment. A shot by Salah after 20 minutes was held by Gazzaniga. Eriksen did find Kane with a long ball after 23 minutes. Kane passed to Dele to his right, but Dele ran the ball to the right of goal. Ultimately Eriksen got a shot on goal, but it passed wide.
Gazzaniga made a brilliant double save after 26 minutes. First of all he parried Salah’s shot towards the left of his goal. Then he saved Firmino’s follow-up. Liverpool had a corner. After 28 minutes Liverpool had a free kick out on the right, taken by Alexander-Arnold and headed towards the top of goal by Van Dijk. Gazzaniga pushed the ball over his bar. A minute later, after a Liverpool throw on the left and a ball from Robertson, Gazzaniga made another excellent stop from Alexander-Arnold’s powerful drive. The next threat on the Spurs goal followed a lofted ball by Alexander-Arnold which was headed wide by Mane.
Robertson and Mane combined against Aurier before Mane’s cross landed on top of the Spurs net. From the perspective of Spurs fans referee Anthony Taylor was giving everything the way of the home side (just like at old Trafford in the days of Fergie!). Both Sissoko and Rose took first half bookings. Danny Rose’s fifth booking means he won’t be going to Goodison Park. Following the free kick from the right and another Alexander-Arnold ball, Firmino’s cross/shot was involuntarily diverted by a Spurs defender into Gazzaniga’s arms. There was one more threat on the Spurs goal after Winks was penalised for a foul on Mane just outside the area, but Alexander-Arnold’s free kick was blocked.
Liverpool kicked off the second half and it wasn’t long before Firmino headed down towards goal with Gazzaniga saving and his defence clearing. After the resulting corner. Gazzaniga found Son with a long clearance (how refreshing!). Son got the better of Lovren, then the advancing Liverpool keeper, but he hit the top of the bar with his shot from an angle on the left. A 2-0 lead would have been great!
Liverpool’s equaliser followed a lofted ball into the area by Fabinho. The Kop wanted a penalty for a push by Danny Rose on Firmino, but the ball reached Henderson who then fired through Rose and Sanchez to beat Gazzaniga to his right. It was Henderson’s first goal at Anfield since December 2015. Gazzaniga held another shot by Salah after another lofted ball by Fabinho. Following a throw from the right Firmino was in at a tight angle on the right, but the ball was struck straight at Gazzaniga. The Spurs goal came under more pressure, following a Robertson cross a return by Alexander-Arnold and a final shot by Wijnaldum, saved by the Spurs keeper.
Gazzaniga was alert to another Salah effort, and another Alexander-Arnold cross passed across the goal. Liverpool were totally dominant at this point, and I desperately seeking a tackle or two by our players, as we were constantly pushed backwards. Alexander-Arnold was booked for preventing an advance by Kane, as had Lovren earlier. Gazzaniga held another Salah shot, and Salah hit one wide from the second of two subsequent corners.
Spurs did get forward and Aurier hit a cross that was too deep with Dele trying to find the target, but hitting the side netting. I thought Aurier had done well to defend against Mane, but in a second and perhaps accidental challenge, Mane went down. Mr Taylor pointed to the spot and after VAR confirmation, Salah made no mistake.
Harry Kane had the ball in the net, but the offside flag had been raised against Son who had received a pass from substitute Ndombele. Now the Kop, whose crowing had been stopped by that early Kane goal started singing “Champions of Europe”, just to rub salt into our wounds. Danny Rose was fouled by Alexander-Arnold (no second card from Mr. Taylor). Eriksen ran over the ball, Rose took the kick but “Sonny” met the ball well short of the near post and headed wide.
Aurier was replaced by Lucas Moura as Spurs clearly sought to get back on level terms. Jurgen Klopp replaced Salah with defender Gomez. Spurs had a free kick after Gomez fouled Lucas Miura and the ball was fed to Rose, whose cross was deflected into the arms of Alisson. Eriksen was replaced by Lo Celso too late to make any difference. Danny Rose had the ball again on the left and switched the ball to his right foot, firing over the target.
In added time a cross by Dele eventually reached Son who fired a low left foot shot, which Alisson held. The Liverpool fans had been whistling Spurs’ possession throughout the game, but now they were whistling because the wanted the referee to end the game. Spurs’ last chance came from a corner taken by Rose and headed by Alderweireld into Alisson’s arms.
It is depressing to think that Everton, who have lost 6 games so far, would go above us if they were to win next Sunday. It should be a great atmosphere and hopefully a win for Spurs, otherwise a deep depression could fall over Tottenham. These are worrying times.
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