Liverpool’s poor second string were dumped out of the League Cup by the holders after an abysmal 6 minutes in the first half in which the reds conceded 3 times.
One of the reds two routes to Wembley has been blocked after Benitez sent out a side too weak to compete with a strong Spurs side littered with a couple of fringe players.
The warning signs should have been heeded over a month ago, when the reds were lucky to creep past Crewe at home. To select the same side away at a decent Spurs side was suicidal.
Liverpool failed to control the first half, and the lack of first team action for Degen and Cavalieri shown through. Andrea Dossena, a man who cost £7 million also cut a particularly pathetic figure. It seems the reds have gone and bought a left back devoid of any pace, any tackling ability, any marking ability and apparent colour-blindness when it comes to passing to a fellow player.
Philip Degen meanwhile appeared lacksidasical and was constantly beaten again and again, as he meandered round like he was playing some charity five a side game.
Diego Cavalieri made a good attempt at coming out to stop Dossena going in to the goal – regrettably it may have been a wiser move to attempt to get rid of the ball instead.
But let’s not pick on these three individuals – the entire team was poor. Torres started up front and got 55 minutes of football under his belt but hardly had a kick of the ball. Ironically the reds best spell came when a proper player was introduced – Xabi Alonso. How different the result may have been if Alonso and Torres had been on the field together.
After trudging in at half time 3-0 down the reds scored straight away from a corner – Damien Plessis getting the easy header past Spurs hilariously inept keeper Gomes. Plessis was caught napping on the ball a minute later and as Spurs skipped past Degen yet again they put themselves back ahead to 4-1.
An exact replica corner saw Liverpool open the door slightly, when Hyypia headed home to make it 4-2.
But Gomes, who suffered in a collision with Degen, was stretchered off – and with it was Liverpool’s best chance of getting a result here.
Liverpool were much better in the second half but couldn’t find any way back in to the game. Degen had a decent penalty shout, but there would be no comeback today. Spurs first half performance saw them through.
Make no mistake though – Benitez, despite what he may say, picked the wrong side tonight. I mean, come on, does Pepe Reina for instance really need to have a ‘rest’? At £7 million Andreas Dossena looks like one of Liverpool’s biggest ever mistakes.
Poor Poor Poor.
Post Match Reaction
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:
“It was a good win and a good performance – even if we could have done better on corners!
“That’s 18 goals we’ve scored in my five matches in charge – we’re bringing in Les Ferdinand as a striking coach and I’ve told him if we stop scoring it’s his fault!
“In all seriousness, though, I’ve been so pleased with the players. They have tremendous quality and want to win every game – the desire is brilliant.
“Winning’s a great habit and we have three strikers who are firing on all cylinders. I’m happy.”
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
“We did not play well, we did not defend well, and we did not deserve anything from the game.
“In the second half we were a little better, in commitment and in our quality, but after the first half it was impossible.
“I’m happy with my selection – the side was good, we just didn’t perform. The only bonus from the match is that Fernando Torres played some minutes, which is good.”
Tottenham: Gomes (Cesar 74), Hutton, Dawson, Corluka, Bale, Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone, O’Hara, Pavlyuchenko (Boateng 90), Campbell (Bent 90).
Subs Not Used: Bentley, Modric, Gunter, Rocha.
Booked: Pavlyuchenko, Campbell.
Goals: Pavlyuchenko 38, Campbell 42, 45, Pavlyuchenko 52.
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Degen (Darby 84), Babel, Leiva Lucas, Ngog, Plessis (Alonso 66), Torres (Insua 56), El Zhar.
Subs Not Used: Gulacsi, Riera, Benayoun, Carragher.
Booked: Plessis, Torres, Babel, Leiva Lucas.
Goals: Plessis 49, Hyypia 63.
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).
Updated Player Stats