Liverpool must be getting sick of this. Two years ago they came dominated and lost. This time they came played well for 45 minutes, wasted chances and then conceded a late goal to lose the game.
We helped them. Our radar was off in the first half and we conceded possession. Wilson’s was broken or simply not in place. We also lost Rafa and Younes to injury which forced us to change it about from the 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. Despite that we had some decent moments. Lennon got in around the back on a number of occasions, Rafa looked lively until he pulled up and Defoe had a shot cleared off the line when from Block 53 at the Paxton Road end it looked in all the way.
Liverpool went in 1 up from a cleverly worked move when Skrtel slipped Crouch and finally powered a shot into our net after his initial header rebounded off one of his colleagues. It should have been 2. Gomes made a decent save and Maxi made a clown of himself falling over when it was easier to get a shot off and Torres was foiled by Bassong who had come on to replace Kaboul.
Thankfully he was more prepared for the marking job needed to do once he entered the field of play but as at Anfield last year took an eternity to get ready to get onto it. Harry needs to write him a list. He came on defended a corner and then tied his laces in the six yard box. When the ball went out at the other end he returned to the bench for a pair of gloves. Requests for a hat and scarf were unfounded – those were in Mido’s days!
Liverpool too suffered the same fate when Carragher was forced to go off and got the bird when he slowed down to allow Kyrgiakos further time whilst protecting the draw. I’m no fan of Carragher, in my opinion he’s often a thug early in the game, but he looked to have dislocated his shoulder as soon as the incident took place. He didn’t, therefore, deserve the bird when he was down in the penalty area taking treatment to determine the problem. Yes we wanted to get on with the game but have a heart lads and lasses.
What does Harry say at half time? Keith Burkinshaw was good but this is astonishing. Quite what he could say to Wilson without destroying him completely is beyond me. Bill Nick used to tell Gillie what colour we are playing in just before the off to remind him not to give the ball away but we’ve never played in red and Wilson knew that as he won the ball well a number of times.
In the second half he improved but playing in the centre the ball goes through him an awful lot. Whilst he is a better tackler than most at the club his distribution looks ungainly and is often clumsy. I like his ball winning but his distribution can totally frustrate. This was one of those days.
It was a surprise to me that Defoe did not start but it gave us Lennon and Van Der Vaart. He came on after 10 minutes and was substituted at the death so Harry clearly feels he is not yet ready for 90 minutes. His performance included some decent runs, a number of shots from acute angles and the goal line clearance from Carragher. He also stepped up to take the penalty and like Pav before him pushed it wide of the goal.
What is it with Spurs and penalties? In truth I thought it a lucky award as the wall seemed to be outside the box but we should have put it away. As I reported against Blackburn the protests delayed the kick but I would still expect JD to hit the target. It might be be saved for JD does miss them but not normally the goal.
It’s an area in which we need to improve as is some of the 50/50 balls where we need to be a bit more lively rather than watching possession taken away from us.
My preview suggested the game to be decided on the match up between Bale and Johnson. In essence Johnson was not knocked out but Bale did get in four or five efforts from the left wing. He would have had more but there were often 3 men on him leaving space over on the right for Lennon and Hutton to plunder. He also managed to have a great shot cleared off the line when he came inside.
And so Lennon and Hutton impressed with Modric playing an important role as we fought back and took the game to Liverpool. Modric’s run that produced the equaliser, courtesy of an own goal from Skrtel, was quite brilliant and after building up some pressure it was a welcome reward. From there it was push on to win the game.
Yet Liverpool still had second half chances. Torres went on a long run but was kept away from goal by Bassong and did not get a shot off. Excellent defending from Spurs for whom Gallas also had another superb day. The man is back to his best form and we’re all behind Billy now – I hope!
As the end of the game approached we had to be careful to see it out professionally whilst going for the win. Chances were appearing and with a minute to go Crouch headed across goal for Lennon to touch on and Defoe to put it in the net. Only for it to be offside – and probably Palacios as well who had also belted into the area. Our chance gone? No for soon after Lennon was able to break at pace, got free and calmly slotted home the winner.
Even more he had a further mazy run across the field before a cross come shot which it looked like Luka could have slid in to give me my 3-1! I was pleased for Aaron. He had a decent night on Wednesday and followed that with some real opportunities today. Some of his runs today were at electric pace and his goal showed that he did know what to do after running out of ideas/room on a similar run in the first half.
So it was a terrific game today – unless you support Liverpool. But they played their part in an excellent game which could have gone either way. Having suffered for years at the hands of the top 4 we are now dealing with them at White Hart Lane and competing better with them away.
He may not have been a top top player but as a Manager Harry Redknapp is close to sensational. What a motivator he is and long may it continue. England will call but Harry, let’s face it, you want to work with players every day and you won’t get a better bunch than these too easily.