Actually, Liverpool kicked off the match by giving themselves a beating… literally. Blood, bandages and a busy afternoon for the medical staff. Carragher unwisely decided to challenge Skrtel for a header ending up with both players on the floor bleeding from impact. This was a sign of things to come for Liverpool. It just wasn’t the same without Xabi Alonso and you could blatantly see they were lacking in their passing game. The bite from their midfield was completely missing and our defenders did a great job of containing Torres and Gerrard. Strange to see Benayoun come on as a sub though; wonder what Benitez was thinking? There were a few controversial moments in the match (you’ll see them in the video link below) but Spurs were the better team and deserved the win regardless.
In the midfield, Palacios and Huddlestone formed a great partnership managing to cover each other and regularly swapping between the attacking role. It seemed as if they both developed new skill sets over the summer with Palacios showing some great passing qualities (showboating a dribble or two at times) and Hudd proving he could brilliantly time his tackles.
Lennon was quieter than usual. He did have some great moments, one in particular was a drive where he dribbled 3 (if I remember correctly, see video) Liverpoolians and made it to their box but was eventually closed off by their defenders.
“El Maestro” Modric showed off his world class abilities today. He assisted Sebastien Bassong’s winning header from a set piece and was a handful throughout. One moment that stood out for me was when a ball was crossed to him deep near the goal post and he managed to cross it back, completely unbalanced with his foot high almost above his head. The ball made it to Keane but unfortunately he headed it directly at Reina. Modric was held back somewhat in the left wing position but managed to find little gaps and expose the defense. Bless him!
On the defensive end, Ledley was a legend… what a performance by a man who rarely trains. His quality rubs off on others and it shows why he was our captain. Stay healthy please Ledder’s! Newbie Sebastien Bassong had a fantastic debut with a beautiful header to help us take the lead. Happy for him and not only is he “all smiles” but now so are we! Thank you Seb.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto scored his first for Spurs, an amazing goal off a set piece taken by Hudd which went straight into the opposition wall and bounced back to BAE… he brilliantly moved it to his left foot and shot it at the top left corner of the post… it almost shattered! He’s come a long way since his injury and if anything, Bale should be worried about getting some playing time in that position. Both BAE and Corluka were defensively and offensively on form. To prove that they were effective, both Kuyt and Babel, right and left wing respectively, had to be subbed. That says something.
Gomes looked a bit shaky at times, especially when he made a bad decision of tackling Glen Johnson in the box and giving them a successful penalty. I believe he will regain his composure at Hull City.
I wasn’t thrilled to see Keane and Defoe paired up front. I wanted Pav to have a go alongside Defoe but I guess Harry saw it differently and I won’t argue with the man. Keane had 3 major chances to score yet always managed to aim it directly at Reina, a sign that he isn’t as sharp quite yet; however, he did play a maojor role in the first half constantly challenging the defense. He was later subbed with Peter Crouch to change the tempo of play. My fear was confirmed as we abandoned our lovely ground game and started crossing the ball to Crouch. We were slowly becoming a mess but once we returned to our feet, we were able to regain control.
Overall, Spurs put in a cracking performance. We controlled the ball well and were fluid in our passing game. Liverpool were clearly the frustrated ones and will have a lot to think about on their trip home. To see for yourself, click HERE for the video and enjoy!