Liverpool 2-0 Spurs
Postponed a few weeks ago due to the snow the arrival of Tottenham to Anfield is one that would strike Liverpool fans with either fear or hope. Some hopeful that this could be the start of our big turn around and that we’d do it against one of the leagues form teams. Unfortunately for me it was fear that we were looking likely to suffer yet another home defeat.
Torres, Gerrard, Benayoun, Johnson and Agger just to name a few all out injured so a fairly make shift side for the game. A fairly strong central midfield with Aquilani, Mascherano and Lucas but surprises in the form of Phillip Degan as our right midfielder and Albert Riera starting his first game for the reds in a number of weeks. New signing Maxi Rodriguez started the night on the bench.
To the first half then and Liverpool unusually attacking the Kop in the first half. That’s normally a bad omen but a crazy little 30 second spell saw Liverpool centre back Kyrgiakos almost concede an own goal but for a sequence of three saves from Reina. Whilst the Sky cameras focused upon Krygiakos; Liverpool were making their way down the pitch, after what looked to be a foul outside the Spurs penalty area the ball falls to Dirkaldinho who slots into the bottom hand corner to make it 1-0. After this the game became very possessive and saw a lot of the play occur in the centre of the park. Another positive for Liverpool was that for the first time in a while they were defending better and looked like a unit at the back. I would just like to make a point that so far one of our best players was Pepe Reina. First the Spaniard made that treble save which eventually led to our goal and just on the brink of half time Spurs put together a great passing move which lead to Luka Modric being through 1 on 1 and once again Pepe answered the call and kept the Croatian out.
At half time the Reds went in a goal up but being outplayed. So hope turns to the second half and Kopites surely hoping that the second half will deliver a more attacking performance for Liverpool.
Well, the second half definitely started with the intensity of the first. A disallowed goal that has to be seen rather than told about, but I’ll give it a go. The ball was played forward from a Spurs defender to the offside Jermaine Defoe. Smartly Defoe avoids contact with the ball and moves into an onside position. Then a calamitous pass to Reina from Krygiakos. Reina tried his best to get away from Defoe but after what looked like a little tug from Defoe, Reina ends up on the deck as Defoe slots the ball into the net despite Skrtel’s best efforts. The goal is eventually disallowed for an extremely late offside on Jermaine Defoe. This for me was the wrong decision, as the only thing I saw as worthy of disallowing the goal was a potential foul on Reina because we all know how overprotected these keepers are. After this the pressure was really applied to the Reds defence. Substitution for Spurs saw former Liverpool striker Robbie Keane step on the Anfield pitch once more as again the pressure increased from the North Londoners.
As the game progressed Liverpool began to find ways into the Spurs penalty area but chances still went begging. Kyrgiakos and Riera amongst others had chances go begging whereas Spurs had put Liverpool under constant pressure but couldn’t find the final ball and ended up having one shot on target in the second half. I think once the board went up showing 5 minutes injury time everyone knew there was something big left in this game. We only had to wait two minutes to get it as a surging run from N’gog resulted in Bale bringing him down inside the area gifting Liverpool a penalty. Kuyt was entrusted with the responsibility. First penalty scored up in the top left corner but ruled out for encroachment. Kuyt very calmly placed the ball down in the right corner this time and earned Liverpool a 2-0 win.
Post match reaction then and a fair few contenders for man of the match tonight. Top three have to be Reina, Degen and Kuyt. As the commentator pointed out Degen represented everything about Liverpool tonight, lots of energy and enthusiasm. Reina was ‘the cat’ in goal for the Reds tonight and is well worthy of a nomination. And of course our two goal hero Dirk Kuyt who had a very productive game in the striking role. So who gets Man of the Match? This is to big for just me to decide so comment and give me your opinions on the man of the match or anything to do with the game.