Back to back victories provide us with 6 points and once again our season is on the march. But that doesn’t tell the real story of this game. After a blistering start which led us to a two goal start we then succumbed to Liverpool’s pressing game got thrown off our rhythm and many of us were wondering how we ended up winning. In essence it may have something to do with Liverpool being wasteful in front of goal or adopting some unusual tactics.
For example, why was Steven Gerrard chained to the back four? He spent most of the game very deep and whilst he made some intelligent passes on the occasions he got into our box pandemonium set in and Dembele made a brave challenge before Walker cleared off the line in amazing fashion and then when he stopped taking the corners his header saw Lennon smash the ball into Bale’s face for what turned out to be the consolation.
Then they have a poor winger playing at left back and the left back playing on the wing. That certainly aided our first goal as Downing didn’t know where his man was and Lennon was free to tap in Bale’s cross and seemed bizarre decision not aimed to assist when you have a flying man coming at you down the wing.
Thirdly what does Joe Allen do apart from running around? Whilst he fills you with no fear Suarez is a different kettle of fish altogether. His first touches were often outstanding and he missed a chance in the second half you would expect him to bury. Overall the Liverpool team did press like Brendan wanted them to in the TV programme and in the end it thwarted us and made us wasteful in possession.
We shouldn’t complain. At one times victories over Liverpool were extremely rare occurances but in recent times that has all changed.
Dembele, after a bright start, had a difficult second period and it might have been down to a lack of match fitness or just the constant pressure our players were put under to find a man in a white shirt. The game had started differently with Defoe picking Gerrard’s pocket to send Bale away for a blistering run and shot that was close.
Soon after another great run produced a back post cross that produced for Lennon the easiest of tap ins. The same Lennon that I was told doesn’t score enough goals in the Spurs shop before the game and that is true of most of our midfielders. The same can’t be said for Gareth Bale who had the bit between his teeth during our ascendancy hammering home a free kick that seemed to take a deflection off the wall to wrong foot Reina.
Winning a free kick is becoming like the Ronaldo show with Bale taking full responsibility and it may be for that reason why he went down so easily to earn his yellow card. The ball had gone dead for Gareth and the TV indicated maybe the slightest of touches on his boot so down he went. Don’t do it Gareth you’re better than that and we may end up missing on real free kicks if you don’t.
Gallas returned at the back to partner Dawson and we were lucky not to give away a first half own goal when Dawson smashed a clearance onto him. Lloris also continued and was lucky not to concede when he was out of his area before Henderson missed the target and apart from that it was fairly tidy performance from the keeper.
So our passing was off key and we failed to produce much in the final third during the second half but we come out with a win. I would put this down once again as a game in which our performance was forgettable for a large part yet outstanding to get us a 2 goal lead.
Maybe it was Liverpool proving to be better than West Ham or Reading that stopped us being good throughout but if we are to mount a really strong challenge we will have to be better than this to secure all three points. As an example if you gave Walker 10 goes at his goal line clearance how many would he execute as well as he did last night?
Maybe the quality of the Premier League is slipping while teams concentrate on keeping possession rather than scoring goals as Man City and Chelsea have demonstrated so far this season but we don’t consistently look like a top 4 side at the present time. I’ll take a spot if we secure it but I think we’ve got to look better than we are at the moment to really make sides frightened of us. Yesterday we started well but we need to keep it going and prevent our opponents from imposing themselves.
We know this Liverpool aren’t the side of old yet they should have had something from the game. At 2 up surely we should press for the third and an easy win in the time left and we were trying but got bogged down. When appointed I thought AVB promised a similar pressing game but it was nothing like Liverpools.
Final question of the night. If we play in all white and they play in all red why does the Ref have the red shirt on?