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  1. Having clinched our place in the Champions League final, and our third major final of the season no less, we return to domestic matters this weekend for the fixture against Spurs. We now have to focus on domestic matters until the end of the month before Paris awaits. Spurs have had somewhat of an inconsistent upsurge under Conte, with Kane putting aside his pre-Christmas sulking to get back amongst the goals, and Son showing that he can be clinical when presented with chances. They can be a threat if you let them. We are an even bigger threat though, whether you let us be or not, so there’s that. Anyway: Gumption. Energy. Ruthlessness. Tactical nous. Class. Heart. Awareness. I don’t ask for much. Last season’s corresponding fixture (in front of 2000 fans) ended in a 2-1 win for the Reds. Mo got the opener with a deflected effort from just inside the area that looped over Lloris and in off the woodwork. Son raced onto a pass down the inside left channel to slot the ball past Ali 5 minutes later. I don’t think I’ve ever seen footage that shows if he was offside or not but he certainly looked like it in real time. Spurs had some decent chances in the second half but didn’t take them, and Bobby popped up in stoppage time with a bullet header into the roof of the net from a corner. A more conclusive performance came at the start of September 1978. Liverpool were reigning European champions and were looking to make it 3 in a row while also reclaiming the league title they relinquished to Brian Clough’s Forest side the previous season. Spurs meanwhile had been promoted back to the top flight the previous season, and their squad contained a young Glenn Hoddle plus a couple of Argentina’s World Cup winning squad from that summer, Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Villa and Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Ardiles. We were way too good for them though, routing them 7-0. Kenny got the scoring underway with one of his typical back-into-the-defender-and-turn-him efforts to slide the ball under the advancing goalkeeper. He got his and the team’s second of the afternoon by turning home a wayward shot from the edge of the area after Spurs had scrambled clear from the initial attack. The third goal came when Terry Mac’s right wing cross was headed goalwards by Ray. A Spurs defender got the last touch so it went down as an own goal. It was 3-0 at half time and we could have had 6 or 7. There was no let up in the second half either as Johnno got in on the act, first smashing home the rebound after Kenny’s effort was closed down by the Spurs keeper, and then running onto Kenny’s through-ball to run into the box past a wilting Spurs defence to hammer the ball through the keeper’s legs. Stevie Heighway was brought down in the box meaning Phil Neal would step up to bury the spot kick with his usual coolness. Only this time he telegraphed it and saw his low effort saved low to the keeper’s right. The ref however thought otherwise, awarding a retake as the keeper had moved before the kick was taken. Neal made no mistake this time, hitting the ball high into the net out of the keeper’s reach. The game simply needed some icing on the cake, and it got it with goal number 7. Kenny in his own half turned and playing a ball to Johnno in space on halfway. Johnno turned infield and hit a beauty of a pass with the outside of his right boot over the covering right back into Stevie’s sprint down the left wing. Stevie didn’t even need to look up. He just hit a first time cross that landed on the head of Terry Mac steaming into the box from seemingly nowhere to bury a header into the top corner. A glorious move with a glorious finish, and one of the finest goals ever witnessed in this stadium. Here are some highlights of the game. John Travolta was box office gold in the late 70s, and in September 1978, musical rom-com Grease was top of the pile. Olivia Newton-John achieved film stardom (she’d already had success in the music biz) off the back of her role as Aussie exchange student Sandy who has a summer fling with Travolta’s high school gang leader Danny, before enrolling at the same high school where they rekindle their romance - he mellowing a touch, and she turning from straight-laced white girl into a female version of him. The film was hugely popular then, and both the film and the songs within have remained enduringly popular, leading to numerous stage revivals. Probably every actor or actress who is not Shakespearean-trained has starred in a version of Grease at some stage I bet. It’s polished and familiar, but no way can I sit through it. That means I get bored by the way, not that I jump up and start throwing shapes with reckless abandon! Conte will have Spurs lining up with a back 3, so we need to make sure we are at least matching them for numbers in the middle of the park. The key is to do our thing, not worry too much about what they can do, and hope the officials don’t have a complete mare like they did in the reverse fixture earlier this season, where they were an absolute travesty. Not so much the man in the middle (though he was poor) but the City season ticket holder in the VAR booth who failed to notice a red card challenge from Kane on Robbo, and a blatant shove on Diogo in the penalty area. As ever, it’s all about motivation, attitude and application. Get those right and do what we can do, and we stand a great chance of coming out of it with the 3 points. All we can do in the league at this stage is continue claiming the 3 points. Let’s get it done!
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