Saturday, September 23, 2006

Riise Thunderbolt Puts Icing On Cake

Red's Second Half Blitz Demolished Spurs:


LIVERPOOL 3 - 0 Tottenham


LIV - M. Gonzalez (63min), Kuyt (73min), Riise (89min);

A mind boggling miss from Spurs midfielder Jermain Jenas proved to be the turning point as Liverpool marched on to their 2nd win in a row at Anfield. The Spurs right winger was put through by Edgar Davids and he was right infront of the goal before slicing the ball wide and both hands on his head, unbelievable. Then Liverpool went on to score from the next wave of attack and never looked back since.

The first half was cagey at best, but both teams were able to create some chances, or I should say half chances. Liverpool's zonal marking in set plays were put into doubt once again when Murphy's free kick was sent in and Ledley King was unmarked, but there was little contact with the ball.

Another controversial decision by the referee in this match, as King blocked off Gerrard's shot. Replays showed that he did intentionally used his arms to block the shot, but referee Howard Webb.

Second half was one way traffic, as Liverpool piled on pressure and used their width wisely. Steven Gerrard and Mark Gonzalez seemed to have gotten the license to roam for the second half as they bombed forward and as a result, they put crosses after crosses in and the partnership of Dawson and King were threatened.

After Liverpool found the way to open Spurs up, they scored with a little bit of fortune. Gerrard's dummy left Assou-Ekotto chasing shadows and his cross should've been converted by Bellamy. He seemed to be unaware of the cross, but made contact with the ball. It hit the post before rebounding for Mark Gonzalez to smash home his first Premiership goal for Liverpool.

The chronic lack of width in the Spurs midfield costed them and they struggled to get any hold of the game. Their passing were slack and lose possesion far too easily. The strike partnership between Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe seemed to be isolated up front and even their pace could not shrug off Hyypia and Agger's marking.

But give credit to Liverpool for their attacking play in the second half. It was entreprising and Dirk Kuyt yet again, worked his socks off. Xabi Alonso looked to be back to his best form with him sitting deep and spreading the play. Gerrard's cut in from the right caused a lot of problem for Assou-Ekotto and showed England why he is easily the man to play on the right-wing.

Something I've noticed recently is Sissoko's role in the team. He used to sit infront of the back 4, shielding the play but currently, but Benitez seemed to have given him the right to go forward in search of his first goal for the club.

The subsitution of Garcia was also the key to the victory. His unpredictable movement and running near the Spurs back 4 were effective and the assist from him to Kuyt was excellent. Kuyt, played onside by Assou-Ekotto, controlled the pass beautifully before smashing the ball past a hapless Paul Robinson.

Tottenham's misery were complete when they allowed Riise to venture too far forward and he launched his favourite thunderbolt beyond Robinson's reach. Game over. A fantastic win for Liverpool and Spurs suffered yet another defeat.

Thanks to GettyImages for providing the pictures.

Drogballs' Post Match Comments:

A good win for Liverpool, considering that Tottenham is certainly no pushovers and a very tough team to beat. The starting line up was not very surprising albeit the inclusion of Sami Hyypia. Rafael Benitez must have had the mid-week game against Galatasaray in mind as he set out his team. The line up that Martin Jol put out must have surprised many as well, with Keane and Defoe up front. Both thrive on space because of their speed and acceleation.

Liverpool controlled the game quite well, more so during the second half when they had total domination in midfield and they really did came out all guns blazing. They did start off well for the first 10 or so minutes, but gradually as Tottenham grabbed hold of possesion, they started to push forward and caused some problems to the Liverpool defence.

What on earth was Jenas thinking there, slicing the ball wide from only metres away from the gaping goal. Tottenham will surely look back at that miss and thinking what it could've been. Liverpool replied to that immediately with their own miss of the season with Bellamy starring in it. Good work from Gerrard on the right put him through but he missed it when it's easier to score. Luckily, Gonzalez was on hand to smash home.

Then Tottenham started to lose shape and players morale dipped. Luis Garcia was subbed on and was very active throughout. His assist to Kuyt's goal was brilliant and hats off to Kuyt, he took the ball down very well with his first touch and a very good finish from the Dutch.

Riise finished off Spurs with his trademark strike. It was an exciting game and the rythmn of the game was good. Spurs were again disappointing and didn't manage to put up a fight. But it could have been oh so different, if only Jenas took his chance.

Liverpool Player Ratings:

Reina 7 - Confident.

Riise 8 - Did alright defensively. Scored a great goal.
Hyypia 6 - Unconvincing. Looked shaky and poor positioning.
Agger 7 - Alright defensively, but wasted lots of possesion with his desire to go forward.
Finnan 8 - Offered lots of width and worked well with Gerrard on the right.

Gonzalez 8 - Showed some moment of brilliance and put in some wonderful crosses.
Sissoko 7 - As usual. Tackled and challenged well. Lost the ball too often.
Alonso 8 - Back to his best. Good passing.
Gerrard 8 - Finally able to impose himself on the right. Good energy level.

Kuyt 8 - Worked his socks off and got the goal.
Bellamy 7 - Will be disappointed by that miss.


Emma said...

Where is Crouch? Gar.

Drogballs said...

Aww..behind packing orders already methinks. Now Dirk's the Kuyt hero so Crouchinho needs to sit on bench. :D