Liverpool 3-2 Spurs – Character Returns to Anfield

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Much has been made of Brendan Rodgers and his sides inability to beat those sides placed above Liverpool in the Premier League. Sundays game against Tottenham Hotspur was not a typical performance from the reds this season. After falling behind to a second strike from Jan Vertonghen Liverpool looked to be floundering. A smart substitution from Rodgers to regain a foothold in midfield was to replace the impressive Phillippe Coutinho for Joe Allen. A move that will be cast aside by doubters as a lucky move or even at the time a negative tactic across countless social media forums no doubt. Credit must go to Rodgers and Liverpool for playing poorly for long periods of the second half and still finding a way to win. This was a gutsy win from a team that usually dominates and fails to take all three points. Sunday, Liverpool failed to dominate but fought all the way and bagged all three points. Better to be lucky than good sometimes.

Spurs started the more impressive but Liverpool gradually found their way into the game. Some neat inter play between Coutinho and Jose Enrique created a half chance for Luis Suarez that was sublimely tucked away with an instinctive finish. So much for not being a natural finisher. Liverpool’s weakness at set pieces was exposed as Vertonghen scored either side of half time. The first was an all too easy header over the floundering Glen Johnson from a Gareth Bale cross. The second goal was a smart finish with his left foot after the ball dropped invitingly from another Bale cross.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool looked shell shocked and failed to get a grip of the game for long periods. A gift in the shape of a wayward Kyle Walker backpass allowed Stewart Downing to round Hugo Lloris and drill the ball home at the Kop end. Game back on. The Allen substitution gradually brought the reds back into the game with a better level of control in midfield. Lucas Leiva was occupied with keeping Gareth Bale quiet all afternoon and the introduction of Allen allowed someone else to compete with Scott Parker and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Spurs were once again the creators of their own downfall when a Jermaine Defoe pass found Luis Suarez goalside of Benoit Assou-Ekotto who barged the Uruguayan to the ground. It was a stonewall penalty and was dispatched by Steven Gerrard into the bottom right hand corner. A roar of relief went up as Liverpool took the lead and you could sense the belief seeping back into the players. Anfield didn’t hesitate in getting behind the team to see out a good win with Daniel Agger a man mountain at the back during the last ten minutes.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Some impressive performances from players like Coutinho, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas and of course the irreplaceable Luis Suarez. The redmen are now two points behind Arsenal in fifth and seven points behind Chelsea in fourth. With nine games left for Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers will look to continue the recent good form and push for at least a Europa League spot. Dont say it too loud but the character of Anfield performances returned today. The belief is creeping back to the players that they can compete with the best in the league and that is a good thing for all Liverpool supporters.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Match Statistics

Liverpool                                          Spurs

Possession                        44%                                                 56%

Shots                                 10                                                     15

Shots on Target                  4                                                       9

Corners                              1                                                       4

Liverpool

  • 01 Jones – 6
  • 02 Johnson – 5
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 8
  • 05 Agger – 8
  • 23 Carragher – 7 (Booked)
  • 08 Gerrard – 7
  • 10 Phillippe Coutinho – 8 (Allen – 59′ ) – 7
  • 19 Downing – 7
  • 21 Lucas – 8
  • 07 Suarez- 9
  • 15 Sturridge – 6 (Henderson – 88′ )

Substitutes

  • 42 Gulacsi
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 14 Henderson
  • 24 Allen
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Shelvey

Tottenham Hotspur

  • 25 Lloris – 5
  • 05 Vertonghen – 8 (Booked)
  • 20 Dawson – 6
  • 28 Walker – 5
  • 32 Assou-Ekotto – 6 (Carroll – 90′ )
  • 08 Parker – 7
  • 11 Bale – 5
  • 22 Sigurdsson – 6
  • 29 Livermore – 5 (Holtby – 84′ )
  • 18 Defoe – 5
  • 19 Dembele – 8

Substitutes

  • 24 Friedel
  • 16 Naughton
  • 33 Caulker
  • 06 Huddlestone
  • 23 Holtby
  • 46 Carroll
  • 41 Coulthirst
Referee: Oliver
Attendance: 44,752
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2 thoughts on “Liverpool 3-2 Spurs – Character Returns to Anfield

  1. Yes, it certainly made a pleasant change to be second best in terms of possession and quality of football and still win. How many times have we played teams off the pitch, having 20+ shots along the way, only to draw or even worse, lose. Whenever we have those sort of days the critics always say that the result is the most important aspect as it is, after all, a results business. So, give me the odd “grind out a result” performance now and then because we know by now that the quality performances are never far away now.

    The last 2 league wins against Wigan and Spurs has seen us win with 4-0 and 3-2 with only about 9 shots on target in total in those two games. This is impressive in that we seem to be making better of the ball in the last third. The 20+ shots in defeat games may have seen us blazing a load of those shots into The Kop from distance, so even though the shot counts have been higher it is the effectiveness of what happens in the final third is what matters.

    I don’t think that it is any coincidence that our better goals to shots ratio is since the introduction of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, the return of Lucas Leiva and his gaining of a better level of fitness and the release of Steven Gerrard to let him do what he does best. The front three with Coutinho and Sturridge in it makes us look a more potent force. No need for Luis The Magician to shoot from impossible angles and distances. We work better and more effective openings now.

    No need to mention that the tighter defence is a further recognition of the massive contribution, as usual, offered by Jamie Carragher. Martin Skrtel may well come back to the form he showed last season, but at the moment, Carra is well worth his place and should remain as first choice centre-back. Of course, next season we will miss him but then will this signal the need and the opportunity to get Martin Kelly in as a central defender. As good as he is at full-back, we already have Glen Johnson, Andre Wisdom (more cover for centre-back as well), Jon Flanagan and a rapidly improving and a future first-team cert in Ryan McLaughlin to provide all the right full-back cover we need.

    The re-introduction of Carragher has been aided by the return to form of Jose Enrique. One very strong defender now back to his best and very effective at the other end of the pitch. The understanding he has already struck up with a nailed-on star in the making, Philippe Coutinho is very impressive indeed.

    Let’s not get too carried away because we have only just started to see some decent results against sides in and around us and above us. But if Sunday against Spurs is a sign of better things to come then we can only hope that we continue this big improvement until the end of the season and see if that gives us some momentum for next season.

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  2. Lot of good points there Frank. I whole heartedly agree that McLaughlin will be a first teamer, big things expected from him. Coutinho was very impressive and Sturridge even half fit as he seemed caused problems on Sunday. Lets see how we finish out the season now.

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