Walking to the match today there was a definite feeling of hope amongst the fans- buoyed by some really convincing results of late. I actually predicted a 3-1 victory to my mates, much was the heightened confidence being felt.
It was pleasing to welcome back Daniel Sturridge, but concerning to lose Pepe who really was superb against Wigan last week.
The match started off after a loud rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ sang with real passion by the masses. The early exchanges were marginally shaded by the redmen with the impressive Coutinho going close early on. Indeed it took Spurs a number of minutes to settle into the game as the reds dominated the early exchanges.
The Kop was in good voice and the players responded with Coutinho treating the fans to a brilliant Brazilian trick out on the left wing. In fact Coutinho was involved in the breakthrough, feeding Jose Enrique who passed to Luis Suarez for an excellent finish. 1-0, game on.
The goal though shook Spurs into life, and from that moment and for about a 20 minute period, we were chasing shadows with the impressive Dembele ‘bossing’ the midfield. The redmen sat deeper and deeper as Tottenham stroked the ball around with ease and composure. A goal was coming with the Kopite’s hoping that we could hang on until half time. No such luck. A standard cross into our box was punished by a fairly straightforward Vertonghen header. Half time, 1-1.
The second half started as the last 20 had ended- Spurs on top, and it was no surprise when they went ahead, again from Vertonghen.
Something wasn’t quite right in our midfield- we appeared to be outnumbered, and getting outmuscled and as a result, we retreated deeper and deeper. The Kop was getting very very restless, and Tottenham really should have gone 3-1 up when they broke at speed before hitting the post at the Anfield rd end in front of their fans packed behind Brad Jones’s goal.
Brendan Rodgers saw what was needed, and put Joe Allen on to pack the midfield, in place of the excellent yet tiring Phillipe Coutinho. And what an inspired substitution it was- moving Luis out wide and the ineffective Sturridge through the middle.
2-2! After a really sloppy ‘liverpoolesque’ back pass, intercepted by Stewart Downing, and dispatched by the excellent Downing with aplomb through Vertonghens legs with Lloris nowhere to be seen! Belief, songs, noise, energy started to spill from the stands and onto the pitch. You could see the game turning- suddenly we were first to the ball, we looked fitter, and Tottenham’s threat appeared to be rescinding.
Then the breakthrough came- Luis skipping into the box and drawing a foul and penalty at the Kop end. 9 minutes left, and a Steven Gerrard penalty. The ground held its breath as Stevie stepped up and buried the ball in the net. Euphoria! The ground erupted and for the final 10 minutes the songs flowed. The manager believed, the players believed, and the Kop believed finishing off with a loud and powerful ‘You’ll never walk alone’.
Credit needs to go to Brendan Rodgers for changing the tactics in the 2nd half, and also to Joe Allen was was really effective when he came on.
This was an excellent 3 points against an impressive Tottenham side with a real quality and organised feel about them. The reds are on the march. Onwards to Southampton for hopefully more of the same! YNWA- A very happy kopite.