White Hart Pain!!

Yet again, after spirits were high, we are knocked back down to the doldrums after another loss in the league and another dent in our Champions League chase. Although the performance against Aston Villa wasn’t the best but we ground out a result to win our 3rd successive game and who could be forgiven for having high hopes of making it 4 out of 4. However, it wasn’t to be. One thing we must remember is that Spurs were also 3 in 3 this year and were on a good run and have had better performances too in their victories.

I would have to admit now though, even after consistent performances by Igor Biscan, we do miss the Hyypia and Henchoz partnership at the back and it was obvious by the Swiss’s performance that he is not happy playing on the right hand side. I can’t really blame Le Boss for finding it difficult to remove the Croatian in place of the recovered Henchoz. He adds a lot of pace to the back four and possesses much of the same qualities as Stephane. Igor is strong and powerful, sturdy as well as being good in the air but I feel he doesn’t quite have the same relationship with Hyypia as Henchoz does. Although he has a positive eye for wanting to push forward and create attacks, this can also be a distraction on his initial priorities, to stop the attack before looking to launch one for ourselves.

Another problem is he lacks the killer instinct in the tackle as a natural defender has, as proved by the penalty in the first half. Whereas a player such as Hyypia or Henchoz, or even Steven Gerrard would have been quick in the tackle, they would have ensured that the path from ball to goal was cut out and would not have gone rashly through the player giving Uriah Rennie no choice but to give the decision to Tottenham. Not all of our performance on Saturday was negative though, I liked our attacking drive that seems to have been maintained throughout the season and had it not been for injuries at both the back and front, would have worked more successfully over the course of the season.

We created quite a few chances although not many were taken well, not giving Keller much to do in the Spurs goal, often being denied by a last-ditch tackle or misplaced pass. We could have been 1-0 up early on as Michael Owen had a rasping left foot volley from 10 yards go agonisingly wide, had it been on his more favoured right foot, I’m pretty sure the net would have bulged!! But it was Tottenham that took the early advantage as Helder Postiga latched onto a through ball before being bundled down by Biscan, for boyhood Liverpool fan Robbie Keane to dispatch past the despairing Paul Jones, who managed to dive the right way but was beaten by the pace.

Liverpool needed to keep their heads high despite the goal and go and create chances of their own. They set about doing this straight away and won a couple of corners, one being met by the powerful aerial prowess of Igor Biscan, had it not been for a deflection could have carried past the goalkeeper to equalize. Liverpool broke again soon after when good inter-linking between Owen and Heskey and then Cheyrou, but the Frenchman hit a weak effort into the arms of Keller. Half time at 1-0, although not our favourite ground in the country, we were by no means out of the tie.

This was then to be heart rendering when inside ten minutes into the second half, a long ball was failed to be cut out by either Henchoz nor Biscan and the Portuguese Postiga poked home for 2-0. It looked to be 3 points to Spurs but the ever-faithful traveling support urged Liverpool forward. We looked a little brighter in the attack and got a reward when Heskey’s nod on found Kewell 35 yards from goal on the right flank, he then ran at the defence before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner, with 15 minutes to fight for a point. The last quarter hour came and went and but for a strong claim for a penalty, had little incident.

The Mighty Reds did fight to the end though and should feel unlucky to have lost, especially when Owen knocked the ball past Gary Doherty and would have been bearing down on goal but for the defender to intercept the ball with his arm, which was not seen by an official so no decision was given.

To have any hope of staying in this fourth place battle until the end, Liverpool must now go and do on Wednesday what Manchester United failed to do by beating basement team Wolves. Charlton look relentless to give up their well-earned position at the minute and with at least 4 other clubs in the chase, it’s certainly not going to be an easy fight. As long as we’re there or thereabouts come May, still in with a shout till the end, we’ll be happy. Here’s to 3 points on Wednesday evening!!

© Adam Elce,

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