Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool

I was wondering a while ago how long Spurs could stay so bad for - and hoping that it would be until at least mid-November (to cover both this and our Carling Cup game). Sadly, it wasn't to be - Harry 'Houdini' Redknapp arrived at just the wrong time for us, and Arsenal. (Indeed, Spurs' dramatic fightback against their local rivals may have done wonders for their confidence).

Even so, it looked for long periods like we would retain our winning start. Kuyt put us ahead inside three minutes and then, with the score at 1-0, we went on to hit the woodwork three times. Oh what a difference some clinical finishing would have made... As it was, Benitez introduced Babel shortly after the hour to threaten the Spurs defence with pace - but sadly things went wrong when soon afterwards Carragher inadvertently deflected into his own net to level the scores, thereby nullifying our game plan.

From that point on, Spurs seemed to have more belief and we lost our shape a bit. The commentators had pointed out earlier that we hadn't lost a league game from a winning position (or scoring first) in around two years - and that curse struck, when Pavlyuchenko scored a late winner.

The BBC described it as the least deserved victory of the season, but one can't complain too much - after all, we've won several that we didn't really deserve to with late winners ourselves (such as Middlesbrough). I'm not saying luck evens out, but individual games don't always go the way that the 'ought' to. At the end of the day, we're still the last team in the Premiership to lose our undefeated record and level with Chelsea on points despite having played several of our trickiest fixtures (Man Utd, Chelsea away and Everton away).

In fact, if anything, this might prove a reality check on any unrealistic expectations (one idiot on the messageboards had already asked whether we could go the season undefeated...). The fact is that Liverpool are still working to catch Man Utd and Chelsea, and it's been far too long since they've really had to deal with the pressure of a title race. It's too soon to expect them to win anything this season; what I want is for them to challenge - to still be within reach of the leaders until at least March. Unfortunately, I remember the way that Arsenal made so much early running last year only to fall away, and the disasterous November we had in 2002 after leading the league. My concern is to see how we bounce back from this defeat...

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