COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 31st August 2014
VENUE White Hart Lane






From Limassol to Liverpool, the quality may go up, but Spurs will recall their rested stars form Thursday's victory over AEL to meet the challenge of the new look Liverpool.  With Reds manager Rodgers saying Liverpool should not be compared with Tottenham he is right.  Having said that his club would not do "a Tottenham" after receiving big bucks for the buck-toothed biter, he then proceeded to go out and buy ten new players.  Having more time than Spurs to spend it, they have met almost every asking price they have been quoted and still some players chose to go elsewhere.

You have to admire the blind arrogance of a manager who says players are fighting to come to his club and then go on to name a few who all go off to other clubs.  There is also a risk of ripping the hear tout of the club, with few home-grown locals in the squad other than Gerrard and Flanagan, whereas Tottenham are going in the opposite direction, by introducing our own youngsters to mix in with the new signings.  Even more odd when the Merseyside club took our former Youth team manager Alex Inglethorpe and two of the players we released at the end of the season in defender Kevin and keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.

Ten new players means a lot of change an upheaval. It takes time to bed players in as we found last season and while some have come from Southampton, most have come into the league for the first time. Out have gone the next big things from their Academy – Conor Coady, Jack Robinson, Michael Ngoo and Martin Kelly – as well as a lot of more established players who were being marginalised – Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger. In addition, a lot of others have gone out on loan; either big money flops or up and coming players who don’t look like they will not be making it at the club.

All the comings and goings will affect the team, whether Rodgers thinks so or not. New players, new systems ... we have them most years. But this year, the players are the same basic unit, with new arrivals dropping in almost un-noticed. While Adam Lallana and Balotelli might be playing their first games, the side will have to work hard to accommodate them. While Liverpool are noted for their passing game, the hard work to make things work might not suit all their personnel. The way that Pochettino plays, the team is the thing and the unit operates with those who come in or on, despite their reputations and standing in the game.

With four signings and not all of them in the team yet, Spurs have a side who know their roles and are engaged with the manager. Whether Rodgers has that relationship with his new players yet, we will see.

Bringing in the spine of the Saints side in Lovren, Lallana and Lambert, they have ripped the spine out of the opposition, but still struggled to beat them 2-1 in their first game of the season. Coming in from Spain at the back are Manquillo and Moreno, midfielder Emre Can from Germany and Benfica’s Lazar Markovic. With the Champions League to play in for this season, they had to improve their squad, so it will be interesting to see how they do compare with out experience and the injuries we suffered last season.

With Skrtel, Mingolet, Gerrard, Sterling, Sturridge, Coutinho, Henderson, Johnson  and Flanagan still there from last season, with Lucas, Sakho and Enrique also available, there is still some continuity, but they will miss Suarez's goals and they have failed to sign a  heavy goal-scorer to replace him.

With Liverpool conceding four goals in two matches, the defensive issues still appear as pressing as ever, with the attack looking potent, but the back four are looking leaky and Spurs' movement and passing might be able to exploit this weakness.  We look good going forward and reasonably solid at the back, so it might be a tight game.  The return of the players who worked the ball so well against QPR might return and pit their wits against the more difficult opponents.

Liverpool should win on paper after last year's results and the money that they have spent, but I think Poch had their number last season and might plan the side to prevent them playing the way they would like.  Barring any refereeing aberration in sending off a Spurs player, then I think it might end all square.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Liverpool    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs are leaving the decision on playing new signing Federico Fazio until the last minute, with Kyle Walker unable to take part because of his pelvic injury.   Kyle Naughton is back after a one game suspension and the rest of the squad are fit to play.
Adam Lallana is likely to be fit to make his Liverpool debut alongside new signing Mario Balotelli.  Defenders Glen Johnson, Alberto Moreno, Martin Skrtel and Jose Enrique are all to be assessed before the match to see who might be fit to play.

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Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)                                                                  Liverpool  3 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 31st August 2014                                                                                                                             Kick off 13:30
White Hart Lane
None Sterling 8m 48s
Gerrard (p) 49m 32s
A. Moreno 60m 38s



Allen (foul on Lamela)  26
Manquillo (foul on Rose)  37
Sterling  (foul on Kaboul)  75
Moreno (pull on Townsend)  90+1


Crowd :   36,130 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Ledger, Mr. D. Bryan
Fourth Official :  Neil Swarbrick -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Liverpool : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS

15  Eric DIER
  4  Younes KABOUL (c)
  3  Danny ROSE  (33  Ben DAVIES 72)

42  Nabil BENTALEB (19  Mousa DEMBELE 59)
29  Etienne CAPOUE

11  Erik LAMELA
23  Christian ERIKSEN  (17  Andros TOWNSEND 59)
22  Nacer CHADLI

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL

18  Harry KANE

    1  Simon MINGOLET

19  Javi MANQUILLO     
17  Mamadou SAKHO 
  6  Dejan LOVREN
18  Alberto MORENO      

31  Raheem STERLING         (  3  Jose ENRIQUE 86)
  8  Steven GERRARD (c) 
24  Joe ALLEN      (23  Emre CAN 61)
14  Jordan HENDERSON

15  Daniel STURRIDGE
45  Mario BALOTELLI (50  Lazar MARKOVIC 61)

Unused subs: 
  4  Kolo TOURE
10  Phillipe COUTINHO
  7  Ricky LAMBERT

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Brendan Rodgers
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Standard Chartered
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Warrior
Match report

Spurs faced a side who finished in the top four last season for the first time this season and ended up on the wrong end of a 0-3 score-line following a very "professional" performance from Liverpool.

The number of chances missed by debutant Mario Balotelli and others meant the score could have been a lot larger, with Spurs only managing a total of seven shot son goal and only one of those on target.  However, Liverpool did not dismantle Spurs, although they were never threatened seriously themselves.  They benefitted a lot from a poor performance by the referee, but that should not detract from their good value win.  The visitors put in the hard graft and got players up in support when they attacked and ten men behind the ball when they lost it, but their attitude from the start in wasting time, snide fouls, professional fouls preventing moves developing and their constant moaning to the referee show that they still put into practice those methods of Liverpool of old.

Spurs started with the same eleven who beat QPR last week, but missing from the bench were Paulinho, Sandro, Soldado and Lennon.   Not getting carried away with last week's result which put us top after two games, the same insouciance should be applied to today's outcome.  But for a few major turning points in the game, this could have finished differently.  But Tottenham could have been three down before fifteen minutes had elapsed.  A left wing cross found Vertonghen getting under it and Balotelli got in behind him to head down at goal, but Lloris was there to block it and the Liverpool striker muffed the second chance by putting it wide from very close in. 

Seven minutes were on the clock when Sturridge moved down the right wing and got past Chadli and Vertonghen too easily, Capoue didn't cut out the cross from Henderson when he had been slipped through into the box and Kaboul failed to track Sterling's run at the far post, from where he managed to squeeze the ball between Lloris and the post to give Liverpool the lead.  The comedy of errors was no laughing matter.  While the defence had looked sound in our first two games, things looked a lot more shaky today.

A goal for Spurs almost came straight after, with Bentaleb's long straight ball caught out the Reds' defence and Adebayor got onto it in the area, with Mingolet coming out, but as he lifted the ball over the keeper, he lifted it too high and the ball dropped on the roof of the net.  It was an opportunity which could have set Liverpool back, but they got away with it and their pressing game was making Spurs turn over possession too often and too easily.   A move that started with a two footed lunge by Gerrar don Adebayor to "win" the ball ended with Sturridge putting a shot wide by a couple of feet from the edge of the box, while a left wing Gerrard free-kick picked out Balotelli at the far post and he bent to nod the ball wide from a yard out.

Eric Dier further enhanced his reputation with Spurs fans with a crunching tackle on Balotelli on the West Stand touchline, which left the Italian in a heap ... not that Liverpool players need much encouragement to hit the ground.  His fellow full back Danny Rose then found himself inside the Liverpool area, cutting in from the left wing, with his resulting shot ending up nearer the corner flag than the goal !  At the other end, Hugo easily saved an attempted curler from Sturridge and then our keeper had a moment of madness when he rushed out to beat Sturridge to a through ball outside his area, but ended up clearing it straight to Balotelli who managed to put it wide of the open goal from 30 yards out.  The chance had come when Balotelli had beaten Kaboul with ease and ended with Sturridge pushing over Bentaleb, who was running with him, but Dowd gave no punishment for that.  The referee really appeared to be affected by the pace of the game and the heat, as a rash tackle by Manquillo hit Rose a long while after the ball had gone and play continued for a long time before the ball went dead.  It was only the Spurs crowd who made a lot of noise to bring the official's attention to the fact that he should go back and book him that got Manquillo a yellow card.

Football can sometimes be decided by small margins and Lamela's through ball to Adebayor saw him tackled by Lovren, as had happened earlier when the two linked, but Adebayor slowed in the penalty area and the Liverpool defender got the ball off him.  Emmanuel was involved when Bentaleb played a long ball forward and the Togo forward won the ball between Sakho and Lovren to allow Chadli to run onto it behind him.  With the ball bouncing in the box to the right of the penalty spot, Nacer hit it first time, as defenders were closing on him and Mingolet blocked the effort pushing it over the bar.  It was unfortunate for the Belgian winger, as the ball would not sit down for him to put it where he wanted and in the end it was at a  decent height for the keeper to save.

The half ended with another Balotelli effort, when he blasted high over the Paxton Road goal from just inside the box when Gerrard cut a corner back to him, but Liverpool had the lead and Chadli's chance might have seen us turn around all square.  Any hope of getting back into the game were ended like a bucket of ice cold water thrown over the head when Phil Dowd handed Liverpool a penalty two minutes after the break.  Sturridge had messed up his control and the ball popped up in the air, so he recovered it and played Joe Allen in down the left hand side of the penalty area.  Dier went in to challenge and put an arm out that hit the Welsh midfielder and he went down like a sack of spuds.  It must be interesting watching a Liverpool training session.  Dier was incensed and went after the former Swansea man, but Gerrard stepped up and just managed to beat Lloris to the keeper's right with a low spot-kick that made it 2-0 and that would be game over.

Tottenham then had a lot of the ball as Liverpool sat two banks of four and then two forwards between them and the goal.  We managed to engineer space wide, but our crossing was poor today and it looked like there was not the conviction to get into the box to get on the end of them.  A double substitution brought on Mousa Demebele and Andros Townsend for Christian Eriksen and Nabil Bentaleb.  Demeble's slower play was perhaps not want Spurs needed, as it would give Liverpool more time to get back behind the ball and Bentaleb's defensive play would be missed.  Eriksen had not had the greatest game being crowded out too often, but his ability from free-kicks and the creativity might have made something happen.  As it was, Townsend's first touch saw him try to take on Moreno, attempt a drag-back and have the ball taken off him 10 yards inside the Liverpool half.  Moreno bombed forward down the left wing, with no Spurs player coming to challenge and when he got to the left corner of the penalty area, he struck a low shot across Hugo and the ball went in off the post to make it 0-3. 

Mousa Dembele lost the ball on the halfway line to Liverpool sub Markovic,  but did manage to get back at him to retina possession.  It was another instance of Spurs players being dispossessed too easily and when Kaboul gave the ball away Sturridge and Sterling linked allowing the England winger to dribble across the penalty area from right to left (with the aid of Sturridge dragging a Spurs defender out of the play ... and the difference with the penalty given against us was ?).  However, when he got to the six yard box on the left, he lost his bearings and produced the weakest shot ever seen by touching the ball to Lloris, with three defenders behind the keeper anyway.  Hugo had to keep out a Sturridge shot with a low save to his right before Adebayor put a header over the bar from Capoue's ball in, but Spurs rarely looked like scoring.

Dowd compounded a poor all round performance by turning down two late Spurs penalty claims.  After Allen's award, the first was a stonewall penalty.  The ball was played up to Adebayor around the penalty spot and Lovren had such a big hand of his short that it was clearly visible to the crowd, so how the referee and most certainly the linesman on the East Stand side did not see it is remarkable.  It was astounding that they had spotted the slightest touch on the Liverpool midfielder, who went down easy, but as Adebayor didn't they couldn't spot he was having the shirt torn off his back.

The second was less clear, but you have seen them given (mainly at Upton Park), as a shot was crashed in and Henderson seemed to beat the ball down with his hands.  Other than improving our goal difference slightly, it made not a lot of difference, but consistency from referees appears to be a thing confined to history.  Dowd is usually a reasonable ref, but today, he had a stinker.  Not that it would have affected the overall result, but you just want to leave a football ground feeling you have been equally treated.

Spurs didn't look as sharp as they did the precious week and allowed Liverpool to close them when they dwelt on the ball and they were allowed possession in their own half where no danger was posed to the Liverpool goal.  The failure to get at Shako and Lovren ,who are not the greatest defensive pairing in the world, but were made to look to be today, was at the root of our attacking problems.  The midfield did not get forward enough as they were crowded out by Liverpool's formation, but then Spurs failed to use the wings effectively, with the centre of the pitch being crowded out.  The assured possession of previous weeks evaporated and the need for movement to create the destination for a pass was lacking.

The transfer window closes tomorrow and then the squad can settle down.  Some of the missing faces from the squad today might not re-appear, but new ones will come in to take their place.  Once the unrest caused by this buying and selling frenzy is over, then Poch can get his group together and work on the way they are going to play knowing that, barring injury, these are the ones he has to work with.

In terms of the score-line, it is an improvement on last season, but there is still a way to go and some hard work lies ahead in the coming months for all concerned at Spurs, but there should be no over-reaction about the effect this result will have in the long term.  A week's international break follows and then back to action at Gus Poyet's Sunderland.  It leaves little time to integrate any incoming international players, so it might still be a bit hit and miss, but given time, we might see a gradual improvement and I'm all for that.

Euan Oosarmi




Liverpool's spending this summer is equivalent to the cost of replacing all the goodwill they lost by having Luis Suarez playing for them.

New Reds signing Lazar Markovic was planning to be a flight attendant on the route from Belgrade to Liverpool before becoming a footballer.

So many new players have arrived at Anfield this season that the club have had the famous "Welcome to Anfield" sign translated into 17 different languages.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Burnley 0 Manchester United 0 Saturday
Everton 3 Chelsea 6 Saturday
Newcastle United 3 Crystal Palace 3 Saturday
QPR 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Manchester City 0 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Swansea City 3 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Southampton 3 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Aston Villa 2 Hull City 1 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 11 4 9 +7
2 Swansea City 3 3 0 0 6 1 9 +5
3 Aston Villa 3 2 1 0 3 1 7 +2
4 Manchester City 3 2 0 1 5 2 6 +3
5 Liverpool 3 2 0 1 6 4 6 +2
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 2 0 1 5 3 6 +2
7 Arsenal 3 1 2 0 5 4 5 +1
8 Southampton 3 1 1 1 4 3 4 +1
9 Stoke City 3 1 1 1 2 2 4 0
10 Hull City 3 1 1 1 3 4 4 -1
11 West Ham United 3 1 0 2 4 5 3 -1
12 QPR 3 1 0 2 1 5 3 -4
13 Sunderland 3 0 2 1 3 4 2 -1
14 Manchester United 3 0 2 1 2 3 2 -1
15 Leicester City 3 0 2 1 3 5 2 -2
16 Newcastle United 3 0 2 1 3 5 2 -2
17 Everton 3 0 2 1 7 10 2 -3
18 West Bromwich Albion 3 0 2 1 2 5 2 -3
19 Burnley 3 0 1 2 1 4 1 -3
20 Crystal Palace 3 0 1 2 5 8 1 -3


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  6th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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