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John Ellis reports on Spurs v Liverpool, 22.10.17

John Ellis is known to many Spurs fans and we have no less than 451 mutual friends on Facebook. This figure is rising, and I am pleased to add this second feature article written by "El Gringo". This time John offers his thoughts on our victory over Liverpool at Wembley .

John invariably comments after every Spurs game on his Facebook page, and I usually agree with everything he writes. That applies to John's detailed eye-witness report on this week's game, which is published below, with kind permission:-

Liverpool were left bedraggled, bewildered and bludgeoned.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Liverpool

Ahead of the match, there was a degree of trepidation in the air. Even though Spurs had played so well in Madrid, Liverpool have often been our nemesis and we had not beaten them since 2012.

Their 0-7 away win in the Champions League did nothing to dispel these concerns and Wembley had yet to feel anything like home. The announcement of the team only increased our anxieties with the centre of midfield being further decimated by the absence of Dier which left Winks as the last man standing.

A recognised left back was an even more endangered species with none in the team. However there were two on the bench which suggested the selection of Aurier was more of a tactical ploy by Pochettino to counteract the pace threat of Salah.

The lead up to the match gave rise to an anticipated record attendance for a Premier League match and yet at kick off, there were huge swathes of empty seats around the stadium.

Within 12 minutes of the start, all the pre match nerves had been washed away in a tidal wave of attacking football which led to Spurs being two goals to the good.

The first goal after just four minutes was courtesy of an exquisite Trippier chip over the head of a bemused Lovren. Kane got there ahead of the onrushing Mignolet, dinked it sideways to his left and even though off balance smashed it into the net.

Within a further eight minutes, Spurs had doubled their lead. Lloris threw the ball out long to Kane, the hapless Lovren mistimed his leap, missed the ball completely and Kane was off scampering down the right wing. Harry looked up, saw Son bursting into the box at great pace and played a fantastically weighted ball into his path. The ball was so good, Son didn't need to break stride and gleefully smashed the ball first time into the net.

Fans were still pouring into the stadium with frustration at again having to queue 20 minutes or more. Surely security checks can take place whilst people are queueing to get in rather than once inside the stadium which effectively doubles the delay. Would it be that difficult to erect temporary fencing outside to ensure everyone entering Wembley has been thoroughly searched?

Back to the action and boy was there plenty of it. Spurs had their gander up, the interchange of passing electric and Liverpool were left bedraggled, bewildered and bludgeoned.

Within minutes of going two up, Son made a break down the right and at an angle, on the run at full tilt smashed a brute of a shot which crashed back off the Liverpool crossbar A few inches lower and it would have been game over.

Spurs were playing with gusto and great swagger. Kane picked the ball up half way inside his own half, shrugged off an initial challenge and tried to break towards the right wing to set up the next attack. Nobody supported him with the offer of an out ball and to Liverpool's credit, they hunted him down in a pack of three. There were suggestions of a foul as Kane went down dispossessed. Then, out of the blue the stadium was in stunned shock, as the Spurs lead had been halved. From a crossfield pass, Salah cut inside Aurier at great pace and in scuffing his shot, saw it bobble past Lloris, hit the inside of the post and nestle in the back of the Spurs net.

The crowd were stunned, there was even a delayed reaction from the travelling Liverpool support at the opposite end of the stadium. After only 24 minutes, at 2-1 it was game on. There felt to be a shift in momentum, Liverpool with their attacking prowess were back in a game which had seemed beyond them.

And yet, every Spurs attack or even long ball forward seemed capable of turning into a goal. Kane rampaged down the left, Dele put Son in only for the ball to come back off the keeper.

Lovren was unceremoniously hooked from the action to be replaced by the ex Arsenal man Oxlade-Chamberlain who immediately became the pantomime villain.

It was end to end now though and Liverpool were testing the Spurs defence, firing crosses in from both flanks.

The first half went by in a flash of entertainment or as Klopp once described, heavy metal football! The board went up for two added minutes. Our thoughts were along the lines of see it through to half time. We would definitely have taken that at the start of the match. But this vibrant young Spurs side were having none of it. Consolidate? You must be joking!

Rather than keep possession in the dying embers of the first half, a free kick was launched into the box. A Liverpool defender strained to get his head to the ball. He only managed to head it marginally forward but crucially across his own goal and straight into the path of Dele who showed great technique and with two Liverpool players rushing at him, great composure to keep the ball low and bury it into the back of the net. Half time, breathless and 3-1. It felt a pivotal moment...

At half time Ardiles introduced his compatriot Diego Maradona. A flawed character but a true great of the game who we so nearly signed...

Spurs started the second half in much the same vein as they ended the first and within eleven minutes 3-1 quickly became 4-1. Mignolet came out for a cross but could only paw it into the path of Vertonghen who steadied himself before firing his shot goal bound. The ball was blocked on the line and came back out to Kane who controlled it before shooting powerfully past three Liverpool players into the net. Game over.

Spurs sat back for the rest of the match and allowed Liverpool to come on to them hoping to hit further goals on the break which never really looked like materialising. Instead it became the Coutinho versus Lloris show with a number of shots being peppered at the Spurs goal. One effort had goal written all over it until Lloris launched himself, sailed through the air and somehow with his outstretched left hand finger tipped it on to the bar. He then followed up by diving onto the loose ball to remove the danger. What a save and what a keeper. Three almost beyond belief saves in his last three matches verses Bournemouth, Real Madrid and now Liverpool.

And so the attendance was announced as 80,827 - a new Premiership record. Looking around the almost full stadium, it was difficult to imagine how another 9,173 could have been accommodated!

There were some tremendous individual performances and whilst Liverpool could point to the loss of Mane and Lallana, Spurs also had a patched up side and it is to the credit of both sides that we saw such a wonderfully entertaining match.

Dele produced a couple of moments of outrageous skill and none more so than the nutmeg on Can on the left flank in the second half. He does love a nutmeg does our Dele but this one was something special leaving Can floundering in his wake. Dele was back to somewhere near his imperious best yesterday. There is a thought that he has been playing almost too far up the pitch alongside Kane so maybe when needs be he must play in centre midfield, he rediscovered his touch allied with some superb interceptions and tackles.

Aurier really is becoming a marmite player. The action good and bad never seems to be too far away from him. Admittedly playing out of position, he was caught out for the goal and also lost possession on the touchline in the second half which could have cost a second goal but for Hugo saving with his feet. Trippier is a much more reassuring presence. If only we could combine the temperament of Trippier with the pace of Aurier.

After a quiet game in Madrid, Eriksen had an excellent game. Sanchez was again well just Sanchez at the back. A true star in the making but as in the first half yesterday, there will be the odd occasion he overplays or makes an error of judgement.

And what of our talisman Harry Kane! Yet another swashbuckling performance, leading the line with skill and power, never giving the opposing defence a moments peace. Never has the adage of a player sneezing and the whole stadium catching a cold been more appropriate. With games coming up against Manchester United and Real Madrid, the last thing we wanted to see was Harry walking off clutching his hamstring...

Pochettino and Harry seemed reasonably confident he will be ok but alas given our recent track record with injuries, it will be a nervous wait until the team is announced at Old Trafford next Saturday. Yes I know we have the not insignificant matter of a cup match v West Ham on Wednesday night first but surely even if fully fit, Harry should be rested? Plenty of tickets are still available so with bonus loyalty points on offer, it is a chance for those who want to catch up a little to seize their opportunity!

So four league wins in a row; joint second; Kane top Premier League scorer after giving everyone else a month's start; the defence being back to its frugal best and the Wembley hoodoo finally laid to rest, we can look forward with a degree of optimism to the challenging month ahead.

With quite a few of the injured players coming back, the full squad will certainly be needed in the coming weeks. There is another nemesis to overcome next Saturday in Manchester United and can we move to the next stage in our development - winning away to top six sides on a consistent basis?

El Gringo's Once in a Lifetime

John Ellis's Facebook page

El Gringo's Once in a Lifetime - John Ellis's account of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Spurs Odyssey report - Liverpool over-run by “Storm Tottenham”!.

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