Liverpool v Spurs. A Performance of Lettuce Proportions

We demanded strong and bold, what we were given was limp and lifeless. We were up for the moment, they were down in the dumps. It’s premature to describe the Liverpool defeat as a turning point, but after this and Hull, I stare at the table and see us fourth but by default rather than merit. The table does not lie, it’s what happens over a season that counts and there’s plenty of that season still to run, but last night in no way, shape or form did we look like a top four team.

Cameo performances typically brighten up a performance of any kind. In film or on stage, the actor seizes her or his brief chance in the spotlight to steal the scene and put on a show that is noticed. Last night a Spurs cameo encapsulated the entire night and the performer was indeed noticed but for all the wrong reasons. Closest to the pitch yet so tantalisingly far from the action, being a substitute requires a degree of resolution. Bassong must have had some idea before kick-off even that his services were likely to be required as once more Ledley’s prematurely creaking bones could give way at some time. Yet when called upon his mind was elsewhere, unable to offer the basics, like shorts. Finally on the pitch, he never came to terms with the fact that he was playing, missing tackles, late with a header and then conceding a penalty.

That foul made no difference to the outcome of the match – it was well and truly lost by then – but Bassong’s lack of mental application and fortitude perfectly sums up the approach of the entire team. Half a mistake, Daws not quite strong enough, and suddenly there is a gap for Kuyt to finish skilfully, a well-taken strike. Going a goal down early is tough but not insurmountable. I waited for us to get into our stride. Waited for us to get hold of the ball. Became frustrated as in the first half we lost possession so often, wanting to take three or four touches, to beat a man, where one or two would have done. Waited for the Croats to get on the ball and knock it around, it’s their game and here was the place to play it. Waited patiently, the second period came and finally the ball was ours, we were on top, we pushed them  deep into their own half…

Nothing. Nothing but a smart long shot, a Modric chance and a couple of kerfuffles in their box. No pattern or intelligence. No one willing to take control. JJ and Wilson huffed and puffed, not everything came off but they won the ball for us on sufficient occasions only for nothing to come of it. Luka and Niko disappointed, drifting infield to be swallowed up by an eager Liverpool defence. In my preview I suggested they would be key. Without Lennon’s surging pace, they had to respond in a different but no less effective passing style, yet they seemed as confused as the rest of them.

I had warned that Liverpool should not be written off as a spent force and the performance that Benitez coaxed from them proves he remains highly influential in the club. They worked, covered and pressed, and when their legs tired did not wilt. Known for their open play, Liverpool on this night took heed of the success of their less illustrious counterparts and threw a stifling midfield blanket over us, as have Stoke, Wolves and Hull of late. It worked perfectly, and only some frankly awful finishing prevented them from handing out a real beating.

Nothing should obscure the fact that this was a ragged and intensely disappointing Spurs performance. However, now that we mention turning points, there was another one in this match. The Defoe goal should have stood. Active, phases, whatever – my view is that he was not offside. This is the second time this season that a controversial decision by Howard Webb has affected the outcome away against a big team, the first being the penalty he denied Keane versus Chelsea. Then as last night, we were not getting anywhere and such a moment could have brought us back into the match as well as testing Liverpool’s own fragile confidence.

Put into the context of the season as a whole, however, the point is that goal or not, we should not allow ourselves to wait for something to happen in order to ignite the passion and the football. We have to make it happen ourselves. In the same way, a shrewdly engineered two minute injury break broke what spluttering rhythm we had. Surely we had enough experience of that on Saturday to know how to overcome it. It says much for the lack of resilience in the team if we cannot deal with this.

Of the other players, Bale had another decent performance and apart from five minutes at the end of the first half where the ball was in his corner and he totally lost concentration, it augers well for the future. Not much more comfort to be had, I’m afraid. Crouch was awful, barely a single decent pass or lay-off in the entire match, let alone effort on goal, and Defoe was not far behind in the race for last place. Nothing stuck when the ball was played up to him and he spent most of the match in apparently increasing resentment that he was being tightly (but fairly) marked. Defenders tackling – the very nerve. And I genuinely forgot Keane was ever on the pitch.

23 thoughts on “Liverpool v Spurs. A Performance of Lettuce Proportions

  1. No disrespect for Spurs but until they break that streak of 65 (is it now 66?) league games away to the big four without a win then they will not make it to the next level.

    It’a a huge monkey on the team’s back (especially when two of the teams concerned are bitter local rivals) and one that they need to shrug off.

    The traditional top four have all been weak this season, none moreso than Liverpool, yet Spurs still haven’t been able to make the most of it.

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  2. Blantant? Hardly. When defender and attacker are all over each other like two teenagers on a coat-covered bed at a house party then you can’t call anything blatant.

    The phrase “six of one, half a dozen of the other” springs to mind.

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    • Yep again. I’m sure the boards are buzzing with the possible pens, the Crouch one in the first half, but I deliberately didn’t mention them, as every corner or free kick into the box, there are a couple of pens in theory. Six of one…

      Regards,

      Al

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  3. Liverpool simply harried Spurs out of it and in the last 20 mins or so LFC played intelligently on the counter and should have sown it up well before the end.

    Very disappointing Spurs.

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  4. Sours have the quality but we don’t have it right mentally. We completely bottled it yet again after we went a goal down. This was one of the worse performances of the season along with United away in the carling cup and Arsenal away. 20 points taken out of a possible 195 away at the big four. We always seem to fold when it really matters…such a poor, poor performance. Liverpool were there for the taking and we blew it. Hate to say it but until we get that mental strength we aint going to crack that top four I don’t think. We need to be able to handle the pressure and turn up for these types of games not go missing. Harry is doing a great job but he still has work to do with their minds. It’s strange as after seeing the Villa performance away this season I thought maybe we have got that mental strength. Can’t believe Arsenal are top! Where do they get their mental strength, can we buy some please?

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  5. what a gutless and spineless performance, last night it makes me sick. How the likes of Jenas is a creative midfielder i have no idea…but could say that for most of the team last night. We need to get rid of King ASAP he was a waste of sub when we could have brought Dos Santos or Pava on and give them a chance. How about blodding the youngsters like Bostock he cant be worse than Jenas, Hudds etc.

    When we have no lennon all we do is hoof it up to the pitch to crouch, who in then gives it back to opposite site complete dross!!!

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  6. I am not one to ‘slag’ off my own teams players but i have to say that i really don’t think we have enough quality to push for this top 4 spot. Bale, Hutton, Jenas, Corluka and Bentley, for me are just not good enough. They are if you are happy with 10th/11th every season but what top 6 side would they get into?? People rave about Corluka, saying his lack of pace is more than made up for by his ‘footballing brain’! He is a professional footballer! He bloody should have a footballing brain! He is really getting shown up now Lennon is out. What is more worrying is that without Lennon we look like we have NO idea and no creation to our game. The two wide men last night cut inside all the time and that is NOTHING against them because they are not out-and-ot wingers BUT on the bench we had Dos Santos and Rose, who are! Why take them all that way only to slow up an already slow game by bringing Keane on!! Then a full back, then a centre back! 1-0 away form home, 15 mins to go, give Rose a chance! What’s the worst that could happen?? Lose 2-0??
    Big game next tue!
    COYS!

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  7. Redknapp has got to learn to go mad at referees at the end of games, thats how ferguson gets his way. Howard Webb is a disgrace if i was the manager i would have taken a fine and layed right into that cheat of a referee.remember old trafford last season??? I honestly don’t blame kranjcar or modric for their awful performance, i blame the manager for sticking them out there when we have two wingers on the bench. We have no pattern of play, no style. AND ONE THING I REALLY HATE…WHY DOES REDKNAPP ALWAYS WANT TO SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT THE OPPOSITION, HE IS NOT RUTHLESS AND HE DOESNT SOUND LIKE A WINNER TO ME…GROW A PAIR YOU TWITCHY MAN

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  8. How does Webb continue to get the big games? He is obviously a bad ref what do people see in him. Everytime he refs us we end up being cheated. That said we did not play well but things should have been different had JD’s perfectly legit goal stood. Howard Webb again, hopefully now people will see that is a really average ref.

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  9. for 75 mins there was only one team attempting to play “football” and it certainly was not Liverpool. In the first 20 mins Liverpool players kicked and fouled us as we were trying to play ball but Webb kept pinging us?? It dont figure. He is a piss poor ref Harry needs to make a stand against him he keeps cheating us, say fucking something Harry Webb is a joke.

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  10. Once last thing for any Liverpool fans reading this. You are an awful negative team with your 5 man midfield at home oh how the mighty have fallen. Spurs and City play better football and if justice is to be done it will be one of us taking that fourth spot.

    COYS

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  11. Spot on J-P Macrow. There is nothing creative or skilful about Jenas and I think he knows it. So he does the only thing he can do – run around like a headless chicken. Bostock, Naughton, Rose and other youngsters are constantly overlooked in favour of washouts like Jenas, Bentley and Pav. Were Dos Santos and Taarabt given any chance? No. We sign them and loan them. Top 4? Stuff it. A place in the Europa League and we would have done well.

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  12. badref you are a sore losser. blaming refs and teams negative football is the oldest trick in the book.dont forget you got beaten by a 2man team oops sorry i forgot gerrard torres didnt play. maybe you can write to the english fa and see if they can change the laws next season . the team who plays the better football over the whole season will get 4th spot. can just picture harrys dressing room talk now boys dont worry about the result just play better football and 4th is ours.

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  13. We were not good enough to compete without key players and our bench was not strong enough to change things.

    Spurs should allow Harry to bring a couple of players in that we need and upgrade the likes of Bentley and Pav.

    Otherwise it is that fizzy pop competition called the Europa League for us.

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  14. This was a tough match to lose. Sure Spurs are in fourth place but they may have lost the Big MO and this could cost Tottenham in the long run. Sure it is a long season. Spurs may still have a chance to with the title. The last spot in the Champions League is still with sight but getting a hige win on the road is the key. I am surprised that Spurs are near the top of the table. This is good for anything can happen. Remember it is long way until May. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

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  15. I am still fuming about how crap we were last night. We just have no balls and never will. We should be well cemented in that 4th spot already. When are we going to get some fight, some hunger ……….Some friggin balls. Aggggghhhh I am sooo mad. Absolute MUPPETS

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  16. I think this game showed that while we have a decent squad, we don’t have a team where new players can come in and play to the same system. Modric and Kranjaer might be able to play a similar role but otherwise not really. If Lennon is injured there is no one really to play a similar role to him. Similar story with Huddlestone and to some degree even Ekotto. Hopefully Ekotto, Lennon and Huddlestone come back soon. If we play many games with the same 11 (and that means Bassong playing rather than King) and Crouch playing rather than Keane, we will be ok. Look at our good performances this year. It will be Gomes, Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Ekotto, Kranjar (or Modric), Huddlestone, Palacios, Lennon, Defoe and Crouch. Take away virtually anyone from this and we immediately seem a bit lacking.

    It would have been good for Harry to have thrown Rose or Gio into the picture. They might have provided some width/spark

    Finally, last night clearly proved that the big 4 do get decisions there way. How on earth Crouch was found to be guilty when his shirt was being tugged and the Defoe goal was not allowed. Yeah, we did not play great but sometimes you need a break. Then you look at the Arsenal game and Gallas is not penalised, they score when he should have been sent off.

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  17. Enough of this shit football we play against the top 4 and the teams that play it physical stopping us playing our game, time to get tough Harry and get rid of kean/jenas/Hutton/crouch and the rest of the gutless flops on the bench.Harry must read the riot act to all of the team and those that dont like it should go.for me it is no shame to loose as long as you play with passion and the will to say never until that final whistle, which is something we clearly lack.Also when we have created chances up front,even when Hulls goalie made those great saves,I think the likes of Drogba or Berbatov would have scored,it is high time we went for a top class striker or 2.

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