What a downer of a match.
After all the hype of the past few months, followed by all the excitement in recent days, I was expecting an explosive start for Liverpool’s Premier League season.
Instead, we ended the game with barely a whimper.
Owen’s absence was glaring. Although Cisse marked his debut with a very good, opportunistic goal (reminiscent of Fowler, really), the three forwards fielded (Cisse and Baros, with Sinama-Pongolle replacing Cisse later on) didn’t really pose too much of a threat to Spurs’ goal.
Stevie G dominated the midfield (and defence, and attack) for most of the first half, but it seemed to me that he – along with most of his teammates – visibly tired in the second half. Maybe it was due to Rafa’s tactical switch after Liverpool went a goal up. We ended up defending more in the second half than attacking, and with Sinama-Pongolle up front all by himself once Baros was subbed, there really wasn’t much of a chance of us adding another goal.
Defensively, I thought we were very good for the most part, but in the second half, the defence wilted under constant pressure, resulting in Defoe scoring the equaliser. Defoe was the main threat against our rearguard, and you could tell the Liverpool defenders were having a hard time keeping him under wraps.
There are some positives, of course. For most of the first half, we played some good football, keeping the ball on the ground and the passing and movement was good. Josemi marked his debut at rightback with a good performance. We did restrict Spurs to very few genuine attacks on goal, and I do think we got a genuine EPL star in the making in Cisse.
I wasn’t happy with Baros though. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t had much rest, but after the highs of Euro 2004, I was expecting much, much more from him.
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave more comprehensive analysis to others.
My verdict for Liverpool’s performance against Spurs at White Hart Lane: 6/10 (must improve quickly).
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