Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool

Premier League
Sunday 16 August 2009 - 4:00 pm
White Hart Lane
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31' Mascherano
50' Skrtel
56'Gerrard ⚽️
58' Carragher
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Liverpool kicked off their start to the season with a defeat at White Hart Lane today. It was a game that had its fair share of talking points but also a game that the Liverpool players will look back on and know that they have to do better when they take on Stoke at Anfield this coming Wednesday.

Rafa Benitez had to wait on the fitness of his captain Steven Gerrard, before the kick off. He was passed fit to play hours before the game and it was Steven Gerrard who got Liverpools only goal of this fixture.

The game kicked off and at first it seemed like a cagey affair where both teams struggled to cause any real danger. But as the time passed, it was Spurs who started to test Pepe Reina’s resolve.

Former Liverpool forward Robbie Keane had three very good chances to open the scoring for the home side, but Pepe Reina was determined to deny any joy for the irishman and made some excellent stops.

It was apparent that there wasn’t much communication between the Liverpool players as Spurs continued to press and this resulted in one incident where Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher collided after going for the same ball. Skrtel was eventually subbed with a jaw injury and Carragher soldiered on with 12 staples in his forehead, thanks to this collision.

Skrtel and Carragher clash heads

Skrtel down injured

Liverpool just couldn’t get any real attacking move going as the first half progressed and this inevitably invited pressure around the Liverpool box.

One minute before the break, Skrtel brought Wilson Palacios down outside the Liverpool box and Spurs were awarded a free kick.  The resulting free kick was a poor one that rebounded off the Liverpool wall. But Benoit Assuo-Ekotto was waiting to get possession of the ball and he made certain of his shot which flew into the top left corner of the goal past the helpless Reina. 1-0 to Spurs.

Liverpool came out in the second half with a bit more determination, but unfortunately not the crisp passing we all know the Liverpool players can display. The game was certainly taking on a more open approach as both sides increased the tempo.

Gerrard had an attempt which just fizzed wide left of the post. But in the 56th minute, Glen Johnson, making his league debut for the reds, made an excellent determined run with the ball into the Spurs box and was brought down by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes. It was a decision not even ‘I don’t award pens to Liverpool’ referee Phil Dowd could deny and the reds were awarded a penalty. Steven Gerrard stepped up and placed the ball dead centre into the net. 1-1.

Glen Johnson brought down in the penalty box

Steven Gerrard prepares for the penalty

Gerrard equalises from the penalty spot

The excellent traveling reds fans’ joy was short lived though as three minutes later, Liverpool were hit with a sucker punch.

Jermaine Defoe got the advantage of Jamie Carragher but the Liverpool defender blocked off the run of the Spurs forward, just outside the right of the Liverpool box. A free kick was awarded and Luca Modric floated in the cross. Spurs debutant Sebastien Bassong was on hand to outjump the Liverpool defenders and head the ball home past Pepe Reina. 2-1 to Spurs.

Liverpool were clearly lacking the inventiveness in the final third, no matter how much they tried to put pressure on the Spurs defence. In the 67th minute Yossi Benayoun was introduced from the bench at the expense of a disappointing Ryan Babel. Suddenly, Liverpool looked a lot more dangerous with the help of the tricky Israeli.

But it was too little too late. Glen Johnson, not for the first time in the match, crossed in an excellent ball from the right wing to Fernando Torres, but the Liverpool striker could only head wide.

In the 79th minute Andriy Voronin replaced Dirk Kuyt and not long after Voronin was denied an obvious foul in the Spurs box. But referee Phil Dowd waved away the claims from the Liverpool players – something he seemingly likes to do when he referees a game involving the reds.

Voronin fouled

Minutes later there was another call for a Liverpool penalty when Assou-Ekotto seemed to handle the ball in the box.

Spurs handball - penalty not given

Rafa Benitez and his staff were understandably angered and frustrated by these decisions. And moments later, it resulted in Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee being sent off from the bench.

Maybe the pens should have been justified, but the influence on the result they would have had if they had been converted into goals, possibly wouldn’t have been justified. Some will argue that Liverpool didn’t deserve anything from this game. But then some will say that decisions can go against you unfairly at times.

Certainly a bad day at the office for the reds. Thankfully it was the first day of the season rather than the last. There’s still a lot of time left to put things right. But we’ve got to improve our football if we want to win trophies this season.

Post Match Comments

Rafa Benitez:

I think everybody could see, especially the challenge on Voronin. It was so clear. You could maybe say the second incident was ball to hand, but the first one was clear. We didn’t play well, especially the first half, but we were much better in the second half.

We pushed harder and had more options in the final third, but clearly we have to improve if we want to win these kind of games.

We have to improve in the middle and keep the ball more and pass it better. The understanding has to be better. As a team we were not comfortable in possession in the first half.

We were playing against a good team so we knew we needed to play well. We didn’t but we have another game on Wednesday against Stoke and we have to improve.

Team News

Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel (Ayala 75), Johnson, Babel (Benayoun 67), Mascherano, Leiva, Kuyt (Voronin 79), Gerrard (captain), Torres.

Subs not used: Cavalieri, Spearing, Kelly, Dossena

Goals: Gerrard 56

Tottenham: Gomes, Assou-Ekotto, King, Bassong, Corluka, Modric (O’Hara 83), Huddlestone, Palacios, Lennon, Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 92), Keane (captain)(Crouch 67).

Subs not used: Gudicini, Bentley, Naughton, Hutton

Goals: Assou-Ekotto 44, Bassong 59

Ref: Phil Dowd

21 comments on
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool

  1. Its a bad performance. I think its the formation is not so good. Gel Johnson should be more defensive… Reina did a good job althought he cant save the 2 balls… Should not start Babel… Gerrard should be more lively, he’s look like a zombie…

    Its just the first match, don’t think about the pass…

  2. Dissapointed….What we need is a Winger that can keep cross and pass the ball well to the striker. Midfield not live enough. Lucas cannot pass the ball and no one can understand each movement in the field. The understanding is very poor. We deserve to lost this game. Rafa should know that the squad need someone more Flair when holding the ball and keep moving the ball. We actually died in the midfield area. I hope we can see some improvement in next game. Cheer up guys….

  3. This was a poor performance. We missed Alonso badly. The midfield pair of Mascherano and Lucas seemed a little short on ideas.
    The only plus point from this game was that Johnson was definately our best player, he looked good down the right hand side in parts.
    Must improve.
    The only plus point from the weekend was the blue shite getting their arses handed to them on a plate! Just a shame it was Arsenal!

  4. “Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito”

    ………. ” Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them !’

    Y.N.W.A. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Very Very Poor…… I know it was Spurs but we need to win these matches, If it weren’t for Reina we could have been 3-0 down at half-time. On a more positive note, I heard a rumour that David Villa was somewhere in Anfield discussing a 25 mil move to the Reds……… It annoys me when Sports Pundits say “They need to keep Torres & Gerrard fit for the whole season” but they are right. We are at the moment a 2 man team, we need more strength and in depth players with the capabilities of Torres and Gerrard on the bench.
    Come on Hicks and Gillett give Rafa money or sell to someone that will.

  6. Liverpool were very disappointing and i know it the start of the season but if we play like that against the other strong team then forget the title.

    Torres needs someone class upfront with him because then we can have Gerrard along side Mascherano as our ‘Alonso’ because i think it was evident that we couldn’t even string ten passes together, with masch and Lucas to set up an attack. it was painful to watch. we got like one shot on target and like 3 attempts which is poor.

    wheres villa???? thats who we need because the partnership with Torres and villa for spain is the best and if we could have that in the prem then i think we can defo win the title :). Rafa needs to splash the cash more if he wants the best for the club, just one more big singing, a striker. why doesn’t he just forget about bringing in a center back because we have already got 3 world class center backs.

  7. We all know the writing was on the wall before this game and once Carrager put the Marsh Lane kiss on Skirtle it was all but over!! with both centre backs crocked, we were bad enough with 11 players let alone 9.
    Lets hope for a win against Stoke or we will be joining them for a long spell down at the bottom, mind we will have the blue shite there to keep us company
    The Mighty Reds LFC

  8. I agree about the ref but not necessarily about the midfield. The midfield has had a lack of depth and creativity for some time now. Alonso, while certainly good at drawing reds was probably not what we need in the long run (which is why they let him go).

    Yossi brings a spark but he has a difficult time keeping it up all game which is probably why he didn’t start. Gerard looked like a zombie, almost as bad as Babel, whom Rafa keeps playing, although I certainly can’t understand why.

    But alas, it was merely one game. We’ll all be changing our tunes again on Wednesday.

  9. Yes… Hugely disappointing! Lucas and Babel were rubbish as always. You guys are right. We were outplayed by a long way and deserved to lose, but we should have been given at least one of those other penalties! End of discussion! We need Gerrard in mid and someone to support Torres up front. If we dont get another striker in, or another steller midfielder then im afraid to say we could have a really bad season.

    C’mon boys! Pull together… its still early!

  10. Firstly our performance was very poor, particularly in the first half. We looked tired and void of ideas and that is worrying considering this was the first game of the season. All the good things we did toward the back end of last season seemed to go out the window yesterday. In the latter part of the last campaign we were excellent at getting players around Torres to support him and getting players into the opposition box. I haven’t seen Torres look so isolated for a long time. We looked like a team happy to play for a draw. Again.

    On a more positive note, although spurs created the better chances, it took a freak wonder strike by a guy that has never scored and a defensive error on our part to give Spurs their two goals. In addition, on a different afternoon, possibly with a different ref, we may have been awarded at least one more pen, so the outcome of the game may have been different. However, we can’t use that as an excuse. We need to really go for it in the next few games to catch up the points dropped yesterday. Hopefully this will provide a lesson in what it takes to win this league. You have to take chances, get men forward and put pressure on the opposition. Approaching matches like games of chess may be fine on the continent but doesn’t work so well here.

  11. a very dissapointing start to Liverpool they should have done better but it’s only the start of the season rest of the season is remaining they can do a lot better

  12. Come on! We were poor today, please do not blame the ref. The midfield was lacking, and we know why – money before common sence! We have been shocking for the pre season and the form has continued in to the new season! End of! We cannot blame the ref, Spurs were the better side…watch the highlights…i was there!

  13. Same old liverpool same old inconsistency same old not performing until the second half same old lack of composure , lack of depth, lack of creative spark in tough defensive matches …. I know it’s the first match and theirs a long way to go and i know im sounding like some one who’s given up already ( i havn’t by the way ) But im just sick of the same old problems again and again and how they seem impossible to fix ? cum on lads sort it out !!!!! and you can start by beating stoke on wednesday …

  14. For some unknown reason we only come to life after going a goal down!.Very disappointed but not surprised because we always tend to struggle at WHL.Babel was rubbish as always so Benayoun should have started instead of warming the bench…..

    We missed Alonso but can comfort ourselves with the thought of Aquilani waiting on the wings.Torres looked tired and is crying out for some help that is being ignored by Rafa…Voronin and N’go will be lucky to score ten goal’s between them all season.

    On a positive note Johnson seems to have settled in well but looking at the bench we clearly lack strength in depth especially up forward.Spurs had Crouch and Pavlyuchenko on the bench so we must buy a forward before the window closes otherwise we’ll struggle to score without Torres and Gerrard.

    A very poor start from our team that doesn’t seem to be making much progress especially in attacking terms.

  15. Alot changed when Benny came on but we got what we deserved from the game (nothing), although we should have had another peno in the 2nd half. As we all knew (apart from Rafa it seems), we need someone go go up front with Nando, we need Stevie G in midfield with Mach now that Alonso is gone. One match played but as I have said before I am wooried about this year. Will watch Liverpool X1 tomorrow night v Bohs in Dublin and post views of game after.

  16. Very disappointing very little effort from Liverpool in first half. Bright spots, Johnson could have been much worse Reina had a stellar game. glad Keane was playing he missed a few sitters. Just wonder who was injured here. No positives and 3 yellow cards as well.

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