OPPONENTS Liverpool at Anfield
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 27th October 2019
PREVIEW Liverpool had been on a long run of victories until they were crowded out by Manchester United and a few VAR decisions that Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with.  Having put five goals past Red Star Belgrade, Spurs will have some more confidence going into this match, but the opposition will be a  very different kettle of fish.

Will Spurs go down the same route as United to stifle the Red Machine ?  Or will they try to out-play them.  The Champions League final is not a yardstick to judge this game by.  It was a different time, with Spurs  into the early stages of our poor results and Liverpool's early penalty produced the "anti-football" that Sean Dyche identified them playing in that match.

When they go forward, Liverpool can be an unstoppable force.  With attacking options in Sane, Salah and Firmino, they have supply lines from full backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, although their midfield is in need of some creativity.  Virgil van Dijk seems to be the majority of pundits favourite centre-half, but the problem Spurs have when we meet the Reds, is to play the ball to Kane in the air.  For all the talk about the Liverpool centre-half not being beaten by a dribble, how often does he face that ?  With Son and Kane able to take player son, if we can keep the ball on the grass, we might have some success.  It will need the passes to be pinged quickly and accurately to our front men.  It might even be worth bringing Moura on, as he caused Liverpool problems at their place last season.

Liverpool's midfield are mainly industrious.  By playing at a quick tempo and moving the ball quickly, it will be possible to take them out of the game.  Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Keita are all easily isolated if we pass around them when we have the ball and force errors when we don't.  Easy to say, but perhaps if we can pick up our pace, it might unsettle Liverpool.

In goal, they have a very capable keeper in Allison, but he is not infallible and can often drop a clanger or position himself wrongly to be beaten.  The reality is that we need to get shots at goal and test his ability.

Pochettino will no doubt bring back some of the players left out in midweek, with Rose, Eriksen and Alderweireld the most likely.  He might stick with the Ndombele-Sissoko pairing in the defensive midfield area, but the big question is who would he leave out if he brought Eriksen back into the side ?  Son and Lamela have looked lively, so will the Dane be left out again, with the prospect of this happening regularly before he departs looking more likely. 

With a good performance we could get a point from the game, but on current form, it looks like a pointless return form Anfield (again).

PREDICTION Liverpool    2        Tottenham Hotspur    1
Hugo Lloris is the only absentee for Spurs, with his elbow injury.

Liverpool expect that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will be available after illness and taking a knock in Genk in midweek respectively.  Xherdan Shaqiri will not be fit, as he is suffering from a calf injury.  Joel Matip is a doubt for the home side.


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TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 16:30
Liverpool  2 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

Henderson  51m 37s
Salah (p)  74m 26s


Kane  0m 47s

Crowd :   53,222 Weather :  Chilly, dry
Referee :  Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. A. Nunn; Mr. G. Beswick
Fourth Official :  Mike Dean  
Video Assistant Referee :  Paul Tierney Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Dan Robathan
Tottenham  kicked off and played towards the Kop end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 9 minutes.
Lovren (arm across Kane’s face) 50
Alexander-Arnold (foul on Kane) 64
Milner (foul on Moura) 90+1


Sissoko (shoving Robertson) 36
Rose (foul on Henderson) 37
Ndombele (foul on ) 72


Liverpool : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

  4  Virgil van DIJK
  Dejan LOVREN     

14  Jordan HENDERSON  (c) 
  5  Georgino WIJNALDUM  (  7  James MILNER  77     )

  9  Roberto FIRMINO  (27  Divock ORIGI  90+3)
  Sadio MANE
  Mohamed SALAH  (p)  (12  Joe GOMEZ  85)

Unused subs: 
  Naby KIETA
20  Adam LALLANA

  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

24  Serge AURIER  (27  Lucas MOURA  84)
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  3  Danny ROSE     

23  Christian ERIKSEN  (18  Giovani LO CELSO  88)
  8  Harry WINKS  (28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  63     )
7  Moussa SISSOKO     
20  DELE Alli 

10  Harry KANE 
  7  Heung-Min SON

Unused subs: 
  Brandon AUSTIN
33  Ben DAVIES

Manager :  Jurgen Klopp Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   futuremasters Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  New Balance Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Despite Harry Kane's goal within a minute of the kick off, Spurs could not hold out against Liverpool's second half pressure, even though Paulo Gazzaniga out in a Man of the Match performance with some excellent stops to keep the home team at bay before they went on to win 2-1.

Making four changes from Tuesday night’s win over Red Star Belgrade Pochettino set up with an attacking midfield, although they would have to work hard to try and stem the supply to the Liverpool front three.

Spurs kicked off and a poor clearance from Alderweireld to Liverpool's first ball forward almost allowed Mane in, but Sanchez cleared up.  Within seconds, the play had moved to the other end.  Son fired in a shot from 20 yards that deflected off Lovren as he turned his back and the ball bounced out off the post and Harry Kane was alive to the situation, diving low to head the ball home from just outside the six yard box past Allison, who was still turning around from following the ball’s flight off the upright.  Everything stood still while VAR checked whether Kane had been offside when Son shot, but he was on and the goal stood to give Spurs an unexpected bonus of a quick lead.

Liverpool are the ones who are usually quick out of the blocks. But they were rocked by the Kane goal. It took them 10 minutes to start putting some possession together, with Eriksen not always picking up Robertson attacking down the Liverpool left. Aurier attempted an interception just outside the penalty area and looked like he jarred his knee, but was able to carry on, which was just as well with our short list of available right backs. It took 20 minutes for the first Liverpool shot on target, but it wasn’t hard enough to beat Gazzaniga, who took the ball head height.

Spurs played the ball out well from the back and Eriksen switched it o Kane on the left. His volleyed ball across the box was looking for Dele, but it was too long, but Dele recycled it and put the ball back in, where it was cleared for Christian to volley at goal. The ball went wide, but only after if passed a  few feet in front of Kane at the far post, who was looking to poach another goal.  In the 27th minute, Salah and Firmino exchanged passes outside the Spurs box and the Egyptian struck a shot that Paulo pushed away with a full-length dive to his left and was then quick enough to block Firmino’s follow- p. The keeper was alert a minute later when van Dijk won a header from Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick and he rose to tip it over the bar as it looked like it might creep in. From the corner, the ball was cleared and came to Alexander-Arnold, who thundered a full-bloodied effort from 25 yards, but Gazzaniga was again equal to it and dived to his right to push the ball wide.

The home crowd woke up as Liverpool finally put Spurs under some pressure and as usual, they wanted every decision. It took Taylor 34 minutes to speak to Gazzaniga abut time-wasting from goal-kicks. Where was he last week, when we had to put up with Ben Foster ? Spurs were having trouble holding onto the ball, with throw-ins not finding a white shirt and the ball coming straight back at us. Sissoko got booked for shoving Robertson, who had already barged Winks off the pitch and generally uses his arms a lot. Then Rose picked up his fifth booking of the season for a foul diving in on Henderson, but it looked like he won the ball and Sissoko had been fouled by Firmino as the ball ran free for Henderson in the first place. Then van Dijk went down from the free-kick in the box, looking for a penalty when Sanchez wrangled with him.

Spurs were dropping deep and inviting Liverpool to come forward, with little respite by holding the ball up front. Mane won a soft free-kick just left of centre 22 yards out and Alexander-Arnold lined it up but hit the wall. The Ivory Coast striker was unmarked at the far post when the ball came in from the right, but he failed to get his header on target. Unsurprisingly, the ref was handing Liverpool free-kick after free-kick, with one going to the home team when Winks had his shirt pulled. Even when Wijnaldum ran across Eriksen and went down, the decision went their way.

As half-time approached, it was imperative that Spurs did not concede. Sanchez cleared a cross from Mane with his shoulder, as Liverpool appealed for a penalty, which they might have been given in the old days. An up and under from Eriksen got an over-hit cross away and it was in the air enough for the  whistle to be blown for half-time.

You had the feeling it was going to be a long 45 minutes, but Liverpool were losing their rag at minor things, so, it was a time for cool heads and not to make any mistakes. Also, holding out for fifteen minutes after the break would pile the pressure on Liverpool to force the pace.  Within two minutes of the restart, Robertson’s deep cross was headed at goal and Gazzaniga got his body behind it again to push the ball away. From the corner, Gazzaniga grabbed the ball and then Son was sent away, beating Lovren. He took it to the left of Allison and then shot from a tight angle with his left foot and saw  the ball bounce away off the crossbar.

That was the turning point, because a ball in from Fabinho saw Firmino tussle with Rose, with the ball hitting Danny in the face, dropping for Henderson to mis-hit a shot that passed between Davinson and Rose, who tried to block it, to go across Gazzaniga and into the net.

Spurs were not clearing the ball with any intent. It wasn’t going far away and it wasn’t going to a Spurs player, so the goal had been coming. Firmino got in behind Sanchez when a throw-in bounced in the box and the Colombian defender let it go, with Tottenham having their first piece of luck with Gazzaniga sitting on the ball at the near post, when it looked as though the ball might creep past him. Salah missed a straight ball into the box, as he tried to volley it past Paulo, but he was offside anyway, similar to one he had earlier when he was onside, but scuffed his volley. Wijnaldum got the ball in the  box and was looking for a shooting opportunity, but Toby shadowed him, blocking any opening for a shot on goal. It went out for a corner and from it, Wijnaldum headed straight at Gazzaniga.

Dele tried a stretching volley at the far post, as Aurier crossed in form the right, with Eriksen going down in the build-up. Which would have been a free- ick to the home team. Tottenham were handing possession to Liverpool far too easily, with passes not finding a white shirt all over the pitch.  Mane got away from Aurier, but Serge got back to win the ball, but Mane got in front of him as he went to clear it and kicked him over. Penalty it was and you know what comes next.  Salah smashes it to Gazzaniga’s left and Liverpool lead.

Going ahead, Liverpool began their anti-football stance by bringing on Milner. Spurs were looking to find a way back into the side and Son whipped in a left-wing cross that Robertson had to turn behind for a corner. When it was cleared, Ndombele slid Son in on the right, but he was offside.  A foul that was given as a Another yellow would have seen him dismissed. Eriksen swung it in and Son got to the ball first, but met it too well way in front of the near post, heading well wide. Spurs had responded well to going behind but had not troubled Allison. Salah limped off, with Klopp bringing on another defender.

Gone are the days of the knowledgeable Liverpool crowd, with whistles and boos for the opposition's every touch, sacrificing their sporting reputation for a one-eyed mentality. But that is what happens when you so desperately need to win. Mane kicked the ball away with a couple of minutes left when Spurs had been given a free-kick, but the ref, who booked Sissoko earlier for stopping Liverpool take a quick free-kick decided to do nothing.

Rose snuck in behind Alexander-Arnold, who was undermining the raving about him being such a good young player.  When Danny came inside into the box, he let fly with his right foot and the ball squirted away off his foot to go wide. With Moura causing trouble with his pace, Milner cynically took him out with a very poor tackle and the ref booked him when play stopped at the other end with a free-kick for Liverpool, letting play go on despite Spurs not accruing any advantage.

Dele got free on the left and crossed the ball in, only for it to be blocked. Ndombele swept it wide right and Son struck it first time, but lacking power and straight at the keeper, who saved low down.  Again, the desperate whistles came from the home crowd as a late corner saw Gazzaniga come forward, but he was beaten to it by Toby, whose header went straight at the keeper.

It was a decent performance, with Liverpool having to work hard to get anything out of the game and the indication from the crowd, who were anxious from the first minute to the last. It is hard to see how the referee came to some of his decisions, with no consistency within the game or with officials from week to week.

Tottenham didn’t hold the ball well enough and Pochettino won’t be happy with that. Our finishing wasn’t great and some players were on the edge of the game, without influencing it enough. It was a match where we had to be strong on the ball and again, we let Liverpool bully us and the referee let them get away with it. Any time Spurs went near a red shirt, the whistle came out straight away.

But in the end, the inevitable happened and it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been. We looked  good when we were in possession, but we weren’t in  possession for long enough. Having been handed a goal start, it was a long time to try and defend the lead, but Son’s shot that struck the bar could have been the difference between three and no points. Liverpool were fortunate and Aurier was rash and there will be calls for him to never play for the club again, but what options are available to Poch at the moment ? Sissoko, Dier, Vertonghen ? None of them are right backs, so would be playing out of  position. Too many goals are coming from wide areas and that may be because the midfield are not getting back to protect Rose and Aurier, but they have to be responsible for their actions.

Gazzaniga produced an inspired display and kept Spurs in the game, so, yes it could have been a lot worse. With the defeat, Spurs dropped into the bottom half of the table, so next week’s game against this week’s crisis club Everton becomes a crunch match (as they all seem to be these days).

With players returning to fitness, hopefully, there can be a bit of cohesion and bit more understanding between them. Poch has a week before a return to Merseyside to shape the team into one that rediscovers the knack of winning.

Mike Stone

Match facts

Heung-Min Son makes his 200th appearance for the club,

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How the players did
Paulo Gazzaniga Outstanding performance.  Made some fine saves and had a bit of luck when he got the balls tuck under him in front of the line, but well deserved MOTM recognition.
Serge Aurier Gave away a penalty when he didn't realise that Mane was behind him, but being a fellow Ivory Coast international, he should have been aware of his play.
Toby Alderweireld Solid performance after a shaky start, but won most things in the air and read the game well.
Davinson Sanchez Good showing.  Showed some strength in the tackle and apart form letting the ball go over his head from a throw-in that gave Firmino a chance, he did well.
Danny Rose Didn't perform to his usual standard and looks out of sorts.  Picked up a fifth booking of the season ruling him out of the Everton match.
Harry Winks Worked hard to keep the ball moving in midfield, but with limited options to pass to, found it hard to do so.
Moussa Sissoko Strong and ran with the ball well, but his passing let him down a bit.  Picked up a yellow card for pushing Robertson, but at least showed he wouldn't be bullied out of it.
Christian Eriksen Lacklustre performance.  Put in a few good passes, but didn't cover the ground like he used to and wasn't that involved.
Dele Alli Another pale performance of Dele Alli.  Looked light-weight and was caught dwelling on the ball too often.
Heung-Min Son Energetic performance again from our South Korean striker.  Produced the goal with his initial shot and then hit the bar in the second half.
Harry Kane On the ball to score the opening goal and didn't have a lot more service to do much with.  Our supply to him is a concern.
Tanguy Ndombele Looked to step things up after going behind.  Picked the pace of our play up and put Liverpool under pressure at the end.
Lucas Moura Tried to run at the Liverpool and showed they were worried about that as they fouled him regularly.
Giovani Lo Celso Little time to make an impact.



What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Southampton 0 Leicester City 9 Friday
Manchester City 3 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Everton 2 Saturday
Burnley 2 Chelsea 4 Saturday
Watford 0 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Sheffield United 1 Saturday
Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 2 Sunday
Norwich City 1 Manchester United 3 Sunday
Newcastle United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Sunday



League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 23 8 28 +15
2 Manchester City 10 7 1 2 32 9 22 +23
3 Leicester City 10 6 2 2 26 8 20 +18
4 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 10 6 2 2 23 16 20 +7
5 Woolwich Wanderers 10 4 4 2 15 14 16 +1
6 Crystal Palace 10 4 3 3 10 12 15 -2
7 Manchester United 10 3 4 3 13 10 13 +3
8 Sheffield United 10 3 4 3 9 8 13 +1
9 Bournemouth 10 3 4 3 13 13 13 0
10 West Ham United London 10 3 4 3 12 14 13 -2
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 10 3 3 4 16 15 12 +1
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 2 6 2 13 13 12 0
13 Burnley 10 3 3 4 14 15 12 -1
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 10 3 3 4 12 14 12 -2
15 Aston Villa 10 3 2 5 15 16 11 -1
16 Everton 10 3 1 6 10 16 10 -6
17 Newcastle United 10 2 3 5 6 15 9 -9
18 Southampton 10 2 2 6 9 25 8 -16
19 Norwich City 10 2 1 7 11 24 7 -13
20 Watford 10 0 5 5 5 21 5 -16


Position before match :  8th
Position after match :  11th
Position after the weekend :  11th


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