Praesidium

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Liverpool 1-0 Spurs

After putting together an impressive winning run against ‘weaker’ teams, Liverpool face the rest of the top five this month, in what’s surely their most challenging run of matches. It’ll be good if they can come through with a respectable points tally, and then pick up where they left off against the mid-table teams. Perhaps not long ago, I wouldn’t have considered Spurs serious rivals, but 3rd against 4th, only one point apart, this was an important match – particularly with Man Utd losing earlier in the day, giving Liverpool a chance to close in on 2nd too, it was a real six-pointer in the race for a Champions League.

The match itself seemed rather unremarkable. By all accounts, neither Gerrard nor Alonso were at their best, and with Garcia absent (injured I think) it seemed we were lacking a creative spark.

Thankfully I’d been raving about Harry Kewell’s improved performances for the last few weeks – not because they’ve been back to his best, but for the tantalising glimpses that he could be heading there. He was picked out as a danger man by Spurs right back Stalteri before the game, and so it transpired with what was ultimately a match-winning performance. Not only did Kewell score the only goal, but constantly tormented Spurs, and ironically brought Stalteri a red card for a professional foul as he broke clear in the final minutes.

Kewell aside, the return to form of our defence was welcome. The definitely look a lot more confident with Reina in goal, which shows his organisational skills are as important as the saves he makes. With new signing Agger not yet fully match fit, it was the usual suspects at the back – and after a shocker against Luton, I was pleased to see Hyypia named Man Of The Match on the LFC official website – though practically all I heard of him on the radio was when he inadvertently blocked Riise’s goalbound shot. There was a shaky period at the start of the second half, and Keane missed another good chance at the very end, but otherwise the defence looked firm again, after conceding five goals in two games.

All in all, we didn’t play particularly well, but picked up an important three points over two close rivals. Plus it was Kewell’s first goal at Anfield since November 2003! Let’s just hope we can take this form on to Man Utd and Arsenal…

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