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Spurs 2-1 Liverpool: Lacklustre Reds pay the price

August 17, 2009
Sebastien Bassong; jubilant after scoring at the weekend

Sebastien Bassong; jubilant after scoring at the weekend

Eugh.

Liverpool paid the price for a below-par performance at White Hart Lane on Sunday with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of an impressive Spurs side.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto opened the scoring for the home side on the stroke of the break with a powerful drive into the top corner of Pepe Reina’s net. Liverpool equalised soon after half-time with a Stevie G penalty, brought about by some impressive work from Glen Johnson, making his debut for the club. However, Harry Redknapp’s side had the last laugh, with new recruit from Newcastle Sebastien Bassong heading home from a Luka Modric freekick.

There was obviously something missing for the Reds throughout the 90 minutes, and it was clear to everyone apart from Rafa Benitez, it seems, just what that was. The presence and class of Xabi Alonso. Rafa replaced the now Real Madrid man with Lucas Leiva, possibly the worst Premier League player Liverpool have ever had, including Karl-Heinz Riedl (and Sean Dundee). Alonso’s ability to pick a pass from 40 yards made Liverpool a threat from all over the park in previous years, but now with two ‘workhorses’ in Lucas and Mascherano in the middle, there was no such luxury.

Looking at the Liverpool bench, it’s evident that Benitez needs to spend a bit more time in the transfer market too. The likes of Voronin, Dossena, Sanchez Ayala, and Kelly are simply not good enough to be able to change a game when coming off the bench, and in comparison to Spurs’ subs, they were considerably weaker. Harry had the likes of David Bentley, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko to call upon, but without a second class striker, and with Daniel Agger and Alberto Aquilani out injured, Rafa had nowhere to turn.

Tensions rose towards the end of the match when Sammy Lee was sent to the stands by referee Phil Dowd. Rafa Benitez wasn’t best pleased either, displaying his disappointment in a post-match interview.

“We didn’t play well, especially first half, but we were much better in the second. We pushed harder and had more options in the final third, but clearly we have to improve if we want to win these kind of games”.

Damn right, we need to improve. We don’t have the strength in depth that United, Chelsea, Man City do, and we don’t have the quality in the middle now that Alonso has left. Aquilani is out for 2 months, so in the mean time, either Lucas has to perform a miracle and play well for once in his life, or Rafa has to get someone else in, either on a short-term loan, or permanent. Preferably the latter.

Liverpool won’t be winning the League this year, I can safely say that. If we continue to play like that, we’ll be lucky to finish in the top half.

Next 5 matches:
Stoke City – H
Aston Villa – H
Bolton – A
Burnley – H (no Djimi Traore, thank the lord)
West Ham – A

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 6:48 pm

    I actually like Dirk Kuyt a whole lot and was hoping to see a bit more from him. Disappointing.
    I think Benayoun can make a noticeable positive impact coming in off the bench- but you’re right, Spurs had the upper hand there.
    Tough start to your week I’m sure.

    But another good article from WDKF’s resident boy wonder.

    • August 17, 2009 7:09 pm

      Blasphemy Preece!

      • August 17, 2009 7:41 pm

        Dirk is just kinda twinsies with my brother. And I like his work ethic. And he’s on my fantasy team. That is all.

      • August 17, 2009 8:06 pm

        its only the first game but i think its clear that the Alonso size hole left by the little Spaniard is gonna cost the Spanish Waiter some early points. ….oh wait! They have Lucas…what was i thinking….

  2. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 8:15 pm

    We may as well play with 10 players if Rafa’s gonna pick that heap of Brazilian junk. In fact, a drunk, stoned, dead Paul Gascoigne would do a better job than Lucarse.

  3. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:58 pm

    It’s only one game and an away game against a potential top 6 side in London against Spurs was always going to be difficult.
    Given the poor form in pre-season a defeat at Spurs was not unexpected. Talk about Alonso will obvious surface (ignoring the fact he did not even play in the best away win of last season at Old Trafford). Early worries and possibly a thin squad.The British media love criticising Benitez but he has a tendency to get things right eventually.
    Katie-as for worse Liverpool player in the Premiership-Riedle was okay. Played his part in a magnificent 2-0 down, 4-2 win V a good Newcastle circa 1997 and was a decent foil for a young Michael Owen. No Sean Dundee is a better candidate.

    Rob-the Spanish waiter jibe is a bit tiresome don’t you think-and possibly offensive?

    Other than that the match report was spot on.

    • August 18, 2009 11:25 am

      davidbirl…its only offensive to waiters. Apologies to all real waiter out there who do a magnificent job..and thats a FACT

    • maserati4200 permalink
      August 18, 2009 4:41 pm

      Riedle was poor – 11 goals from 60 appearances, i.e. about 1 in every 10 games. That’s why Liverpool unloaded him so soon.

      • maserati4200 permalink
        August 18, 2009 4:42 pm

        correction 1 in 6 – sorry!

  4. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:05 pm

    Katie didn’t right it man haha. It was moiiiii :-).

  5. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:07 pm

    Correction-and apologies

  6. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:14 pm

    Not at all! :-).
    Thanks for reading & commenting.

  7. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:15 pm

    and lay off Riedle-he was a 1990s legend! :-)

  8. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:17 pm

    Mehhh, I thought he was jank. Still, I’d award Riedl World Footballer of the Year before playing Lucas in the starting XI.

  9. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:25 pm

    When fit Riedle was one of the top strikers in Europe in the 1990s. Have a look on you tube of his Dortmund days. He was the best forward in the air -I have seen. He had an amazing leap. he scored two goals to win the Champions League in 1997 v Juve. We bought him too late in his career but he had a few good games-Newcastle as I’ve mentioend and played great as Leeds when the entire away end were singing his name. He was loved for his attitude.

    Sean Dundee on the other hand-never scored a goal for Liverpool and looked overweight. He also had a terrible first touch.

  10. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:27 pm

    Hm I guess I was too young to know about his Dortmund days, so I was basing it on what I saw.
    For you davidbirl, I will mention Sean Dundee. Customer service policy or what!

  11. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:38 pm

    Strange signing-he had a good season at Karlsruhe in 1995/96-scoring 16 goals or something (mostly created by the brilliant Thomas Hassler)then in 1996/97 he scored a whopping 4 goals and Liverpool signed him! I think he played only a few games but looked like a pub footballer. In his last season at Karlsruhe-allegedly he fathered two children with two different women so he almsot scored as many times off the pitch as he did on it.

    Here is info about Riedle. I can’t find ‘that’ goal for Dortmund but he was amazing in the air. Best I have ever seen. Like a bird almost.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Heinz_Riedle

  12. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:41 pm

    yeah from that video he looks great in the air, although perhaps a bit of a one-trick poney? nothing special.

  13. davidbirl permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:46 pm

    Classic poacher. The problem was he had horrendous injuries.
    Still he was a big success in Italy in the early 1990s when it was the best league in the world.
    In 1990 world champions Germany went to Wembley to play England and Riedle kept Jurgen Klinsmann out of the team. That’s how much they rated him. Liverpool signed him too late but for a cheap short term signing he was okay.

  14. George permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:49 pm

    I see. Well I’m glad I know now. Always willing to learn about past players, especially ex-Liverpool ones. So thank you!

  15. August 18, 2009 12:08 am

    George was just a gleam in his Daddy’s eye. Can’t blame him. :-)

  16. davidbirl permalink
    August 18, 2009 1:43 am

    Now I feel old :-(

    • August 18, 2009 2:50 am

      No need. George is the youngest on the team. Rob and I are pushing 60.

      • August 18, 2009 11:22 am

        ..we shouldnt be age discriminated against just because we remember the 80s lol

  17. August 18, 2009 6:32 am

    I thought Riedle was a brilliant but injury-prone footballer. I watched that CL final against Juventus in 1997 and I also watched the run up of the CL before that. I think it was in one of the semi-finals that I really noticed him. Can’t remember who Dortmund played, but he was causing problems to the entire back line!

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