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Spurs v Liverpool, 18.09.11

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2011
(1.30 PM)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (1) LIVERPOOL 0 (0)

Scorers:-
Modric, 7
Defoe, 66
Adebayor, 68, 90

Attendance:- 36,129

Referee:- Mr. M. Jones
Assistants:- Mr. J. Flynn & Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth Official:- Mr. L. Probert

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King (Capt.) (sub Bassong, 83), Ekotto; Kranjcar (sub Van der Vaart, 46), Parker, Modric, Bale; Defoe (sub Giovani, 83), Adebayor
(Armband to Modric)

Subs not used:- Cudicini; Corluka; Livermore; Pavlyuchenko

Booked:- Adebayor

Liverpool (4-1-3-2):- Reina; Skrtel, Carragher (Capt.), Agger (sub Coates, 27), Enrique; Lucas; Downing (sub Spearing, 70), Henderson, Adam; Suarez (sub Bellamy, 70), Carroll

Subs not used:- Doni; Robinson, Maxi, Kuyt

Booked:- Adam (foul on Modric), Skrtel (foul on Bale), Coates (foul on Adebayor), Suarez (Dissent),

Sent off:- Adam, 27 (second yellow – foul on parker), Skrtel, 62 (second yellow – foul on Bale)

Harry’s game plan works

Harry Redknapp’s decision to leave his first team at home, while the kids played in Greece on Thursday was more than justified by this convincing win over so-called contenders for the top four – Liverpool, who have spent big in 2011, but not necessarily wisely. Yes, Liverpool had two players sent off (both for second bookable offences), but before the first of these, (Charlie Adam left after only 27 minutes), Spurs were already ahead, and made a fine start and a firm statement regarding their ambitions for this season. That is clearly to reclaim their Champions League status enjoyed last season.

Spurs have taken a few beatings from Liverpool over the years, but it is over 48 years since we managed to beat them by 4 goals. That was in April 1963, when Jimmy Greaves scored 4 goals in a 7-2 win. Last season, we had a problem with goal-scoring, but now our two main strikers have scored in consecutive weeks, with Jermain Defoe scoring Spurs’ second today, before Emmanuel Adebayor added two goals to his debut goal for Spurs at Wolves last week.

There are all sorts of positive signs for Spurs on top of the scoreline today. Scott Parker made a fine home debut, and hardly (perhaps once) put a foot wrong, controlling the back of midfield. Beside him, I think we have our Luka Modric back. Modric was on top form, and set Spurs on their way with a cracking curler of a shot to Reina’s top left corner, and then celebrated wildly in front of the corner flag in the south-east corner of the ground.

Ledley King made a second consecutive league appearance, beside Younes Kaboul. Ekotto was his usual self, playing with style against Suarez, when called for. Cocksure and confident – that’s our Benny! Kyle Walker skinned Liverpool’s left back Enrique several times, and played well at the back too.

On top of that cash splashed in January for Andy Carroll, Kenny Dalglish was given an open cheque book, and obtained Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam in the summer, as well as Enrique and Coates, who had to make an early substitute appearance for the injured Daniel Agger. None of these signings made a significant impression today. They don’t look like “Liverpool signings” to me, and on this form, we won’t be worrying too much about them at the end of the season. Even Suarez looked below par today, and despite the loss of two players, even Kenny Dalglish admitted that Spurs were clearly the better team.

The way the team news was delivered today suggested that Gareth Bale was going to start on the right, but he played on his best side, with Niko Kranjcar taking on the right side of midfield. Liverpool played with Lucas behind a midfield three of Downing, Henderson and Adam, with Suarez playing to the left of Carroll.

Jermain Defoe is clearly enjoying working with Adebayor, and after just two minutes they had an exchange which led to an Adebayor shot passing just wide at the Park Lane end. Three minutes later Adebayor sent Bale away on a run to the bye-line. His cross reached Defoe, who just failed with the shot. Spurs had made a lightning start and cemented that with an early goal, which came in style. Bale crossed deep, and Defoe took a touch, before feeding the ball to Modric, just outside the box. Modric hit a delightful right footed curler to Reina’s top left corner, to give Spurs the lead.

Spurs remained in command, and it wasn’t long before Charlie Adam found his way into referee Mike Jones’ book for unfairly halting another Modric run. Bale made another run, crossed for Defoe, who couldn’t quite get a shot in. The ball fell for Kranjcar who hit a shot which was blocked. Then Modric hit a shot which Reina did well to save. Liverpool did run the ball into the Spurs net, but the offside flag had already been raised.

Adebayor had been turning up on the left and right hand sides, and now he had an exchange with both Walker and Kranjcar, before hitting a shot that passed just wide. Adam got his second yellow card for a heavy challenge on Parker and Liverpool were down to ten men after only 27 minutes. They kept Suarez up front with Carroll, and ran with a three man midfield. Defoe was fouled just outside the box, and Gareth Bale hit the free kick over the goal.

Skrtel got his first yellow for bringing Bale down. Bale was making a beeline down the left side after a quick release by Brad Friedel. Henderson was struggling to make tracks, and that Left Skrtel with a difficult situation. He was playing at right back anyway because of the absence of Glenn Johnson. Liverpool were really struggling to deal with Spurs by fair means, as Coates got booked for halting Adebayor’s breaking run. Modric took the free kick, which went for a corner. Luka took that kick too, and Kaboul headed the ball on to the back post, where Defoe’s shot forced another corner. After this, Modric supplied a chipped ball and Kaboul headed wide. Suarez got booked as added time came for dissent over a decision against Liverpool in the Spurs half.

After the break, Van der Vaart replaced Kranjcar, and looked really lively, offering plenty of incisive passes. In the first minute of the second half, Walker was sent away and rounded Enrique with ease, before passing inside to Adebayor, who fed the ball onto Defoe. Defoe’s shot was wide, when he should really have scored. After 53 minutes, Van der Vaart, Modric and Adebayor were all involved in a good build up by Spurs, but Bale pushed his shot wide of Reina’s left post. Walker was fouled by Enrique, and the Spurs free kick went straight to Reina, taken by Bale.

After 59 minutes, Defoe came away with the ball, with his back to the goal, fending off his defender and turning effectively, before feeding Adebayor, who could only manage a soft shot. The clearance had been by Ekotto.

Finally, Liverpool had a shot on goal, after Kaboul fouled Suarez, who took the kick, but hit it high and wide. Two minutes later Skrtel saw his second yellow for a foul on Bale, and still Liverpool tried to keep their two front men, playing just two in midfield. Downing even had a shot on goal, which Parker deflected, and Friedel saved.

Spurs soon took advantage of the 9-man opposition. Van der Vaart gave a good short ball to Defoe, who again turned his man, then beat Reina with a shot inside his left post. Two minutes later, Reina failed to hold a chipped shot by Defoe, and Adebayor was able to pounce and fire home. Spurs arguably took it easy on their opponents now, and should really have gone for the throat and an even better margin of victory. Ekotto crossed hard and low, but Van der Vaart scuffed his shot, and Van der Vaart had another effort – a delicate attempted chip – saved as Reina reached up, as added time started. Adebayor did make it four, after another Ekotto ball over the defence leaving the former Arsenal man an easy finish for his third goal in two games.

Speaking of Arsenal, Spurs have climbed above them, and several other teams to eleventh place, and whilst our “midweek side” might contend Tuesday night’s Carling Cup tie, our next opponents in the league (Wigan) ought to have have viewed this performance with some trepidation.

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