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Liverpool 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Mar 31 2019)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

The more this kind of thing happens, the more you have to wonder if maybe this time it really is meant to be. I’m not at that point yet, but you only need to take a little look at what Evertonians and Man City fans are posting on their forums to know that there are plenty out there who think our name is on this trophy now.

 

If the shoe was on the other foot and the team we didn’t want to see win the league kept winning games due to inexplicable goalkeeping mistakes, I’d probably feel the same. Because it’s our team benefitting from those goalkeeping brainfarts, all I can think of is that perhaps this is just some cruel hoax to allow us to start believing, and when that happens Alisson will throw one into his own net in the last minute of the Wolves game to cost us the league on the final day. Ridiculous I know, but the scars from Stevie’s slip in 2014 run deep.

 

This is beginning to feel like earlier in the season when City had a narrow lead and we were desperately hanging on, by hook or by crook. We never let them get away from us and it was doing their head in, seeing us somehow grind out results while they were casually just blowing everybody away. We stuck with them and eventually when they finally fucked up, we overtook them. Whether that happens again time will tell, but that freak late own goal from Spurs will have seriously rocked City. 

 

It’s human nature. Imagine if the roles were reversed and we saw City winning like that? It definitely has an impact. Then there’s the effect it will have on our lads. They’ll be buzzing all week now and probably can’t wait to get out there against Southampton on Friday night. Momentum is huge. We lost it with those draws with West Ham and Leicester and never really got it back. We had more draws with Everton and United, and so nearly had another here.

 

Dropping two points to Spurs wouldn’t have ended our title hopes but does anyone really think we’d have been able to come back from it? I don’t. That’s not to say that City won’t drop points. They might. But if we’d let them go three points clear (essentially four points in reality) I don’t think we’d have recovered from it.

 

Now it’s different. Maybe we can afford to draw one or even two somewhere down the line, but it will all depend on how City cope with the hectic schedule they have this month. If we’d given them some breathing room it would have been easier for them. The way I see it, we’ve got to win the next two to really crank up the pressure on them and maybe eventually the volume of fixtures they have will take it’s toll.

 

If that happens, maybe we won’t have to win every game, but as it stands right now you have to assume that we will need to be pretty much perfect. The way we’re playing makes that seem unlikely, but the mark of a great team is winning on those days when it looks like you won’t.

 

We didn’t deserve to beat Spurs on the balance of play, but contrary to some of the crap I’ve heard, we didn’t deserve to lose either. It was a close game between two evenly matched sides. It’s been like that virtually every time we’ve played each other under these two managers. We had the better of the first half and deservedly led, they had the better of the second and deservedly equalised. After that, it could have gone either way but by the end it was us pushing hardest for the winner.

 

Any team that wins a title has games like this they look back on. Unfortunately for us City have had some too. Not as many as us, and certainly not as many late ones as us. But it’s a bit rich listening to their fans complaining about our “luck” when they’ve had some of the most egregious decisions in the history of football go their way this season.

 

 

This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article

 

Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here. 

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I still haven’t seen anyone properly describe why Big Virg was so good in that situation.  I think you’re explanation comes close to nailing it.  For me the reason why he was so good is because he COMPLETELY cut out the passing option.  I’ve seen a few virgins talking about it being blown out of proportion and others saying it was shit because he let Sissoko shoot from such a close position.  The terminator thing is spot on.  He clearly assessed the situation and made his decision, quite early as well.

 

People seem to think he did what a lot of other top defenders would do there.  He didn’t.  Virtually every single other defender in world football would have tried to minimise the chance of the pass while also closing the space to Sissoko.  The problem with doing that is that you open up the passing lane.  Even if it’s only 10 or 20% you can’t physically do both.  Van Dijk cut off the passing lane 100% knowing it would give Sissoko the shot and he did it because he knew that was the best option available.  To do that at the premier league level in such a high pressured game as this and with the score the way it was and the momentum in the game the way it was is quite frankly phenomenal.  He knew the players he was dealing with, the distances and how to cut the pass out from already knowing where Son had been before he put his full concentration on Sissoko.  The way he staggered his run a few times and faked coming to him made Sissoko think he could delay and wait for him to commit.

 

I honestly don’t give a shit about what anyone says about bias.  In the time I’ve been watching football since the early 90s the year and a bit he’s been with us no defender has ever played at the level he has in the premier league or Europe.  

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What VVD did was very similar to what Didi Hamann was good at, albeit further up the field.  Always positioning himself in the area of maximum inconvenience for the opposing player looking for an angle to make a pass, or a run onto a pass. Geometric genius.

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Great report, as always. My problem with Henderson wasn't the foul, it was the way he turned his back afterwards and trotted away like some kind of labrador. He absolutely has to stand up and stop the quick free kick.

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46 minutes ago, goose said:

Great report, as always. My problem with Henderson wasn't the foul, it was the way he turned his back afterwards and trotted away like some kind of labrador. He absolutely has to stand up and stop the quick free kick.

This.  He hasn’t got the brains he was born with.

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No mention on match of the day that the ball was still moving when Kane took that free kick or the fact that he dived(obviously) I wonder if it was the other way round and it was Mo would they have mentioned it. People talk about luck but how is it lucky when you Concede  a goal that shouldn't have stood.

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24 minutes ago, aws said:

Just as many decisions, breaks etc have gone against us as for us but that's not the story. 

It's not the amount of luck so much as the nature of it. As you say, there has been plenty go the other way too, but it's been more standard stuff like offsides/decisions. 

 

For some reason too, one has to point out that good luck for City is also bad luck for Liverpool, which has happened in spades. Hell, the amount of good luck they had in the most critical game of the season (given it was arguably a 6-point swing) wipes out a lot of the good luck so many bang on about. 

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Great report as usual Dave,I agree with @goose point also,Hendo could have been a bit more aware instead of turning his back straight away when free kick was given,he should have argued decision whilst standing over ball or backed away from ball slowly and remove the option for slobbery arse to take free kick (good delivery though) Instead he just turned away & had a little jump for himself!! Anyone else notice this..... that if Salah overuns ball or makes bad pass/decision...he has a little skip for himself!!-He has been doing a lot of it lately!!!

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Great report Dave.

 

Even though Robbo was again immense maybe this time big Virg was even better. my MOM is VVD with Robbo a very close seciond.

If you look at the tv pictures after the the 2-1 own goal, you can see all our players except Virgil running to the corner flag to celebrate with Mo. But no Virgil. Why? He just walks calmly, almost sneakingly, into the Kopend goal, picks the ball out of the net and blasts it over the roof of Main Stand.

Doesn’t want the match to restart quickly do we?

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16 hours ago, aws said:

Just as many decisions, breaks etc have gone against us as for us but that's not the story. 

You could sense Martin Atkinson trying to figure out how he could disallow the winner.

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17 hours ago, goose said:

Great report, as always. My problem with Henderson wasn't the foul, it was the way he turned his back afterwards and trotted away like some kind of labrador. He absolutely has to stand up and stop the quick free kick.

Especially when Moura (in the first half) got away with standing on the ball for so long that taking any free kick was impossible.

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I agree Hendo should have stopped the quick free-kick. Pretty sure the reason he didn't was because he was sure he hadn't fouled Kane and he let his frustration show. If he'd intentionally fouled him I reckon he'd have stood over the ball and stopped it, but instead he got swept up in the perceived injustice of the decision. 

 

It's easy to say he should have been thinking on his feet and stopped the free-kick, and hopefully Klopp has pointed that out to him (if he needed it pointing out, I reckon he probably knew as soon as it happened but it was too late then), but I'm more disappointed in how he played than I am with that particular incident.

 

The bulk of the blame for that goal lies with Atkinson, who was looking right at that moving ball and allowed it to go. 

 

I think I hate Harry Kane more than any other player in the league. 

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