Skrtel Scores At Both Ends In Hard To Take Defeat
Kyrgiakos finally gets on the field after Carragher with a dislocated shoulder still manages to yell some instructions to his defensive partner...
It wasn't just the wind that was bitter at White Hart Lane yesterday evening, it was the feelings of the travelling Liverpool fans too after a gutting end to an otherwise entertaining hour and a half of football.
Realistically before kick off not many fans or neutrals thought Liverpool were in with a chance here. A few thought the Reds would manage to get themselves a draw but nobody saw a win on the cards.
Annoyingly for Liverpool it appeared on a few occasions that we were going to prove everybody wrong, but luck hasn't necessarily been a partner in our league campaign and Tottenham eventually rose towards the end with a kick in the teeth for a hard working Liverpool side.
Spurs had early problems when Van Der Vaart who was believed to have been "50/50" pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury. Perhaps the risk from Harry Redknapp was a bad move but for Liverpool the removal of a goal threat from the field would only help things.
Liverpool had started with a good attitude and were willing to play a part in Spur's apparent tactics into forcing the Reds to play the ball. For the lads it's usually a case of that age old "pass and move" but with the pressure being applied it was nice to see that we could still play some threatening balls through and have players with the confidence to take on men on their own.
Shots were coming thick and fast in the first half with Meireles, Maxi and Fernando Torres all having efforts at goal. Some more promising than others but it sent out a clear message that we meant business, a goal was coming, that was for sure.
In the midst of the battles on field, Liverpool also unfortunately picked up three yellow cards in the first half. For me the first card to Meireles shouldn't have been. He played the ball and got none of the man but it was soon apparent that referee Atkinson was feeling card happy.
41 minutes and the Reds finally managed to convert all their efforts into something worthwhile. Martin Skrtel of all the people scores with a driven effort from inside the penalty box. Skrtel in all fairness is never usually on target with his head let alone with his feet, to see him score was not only a good feeling but for Spurs it must have meant something was wrong!
After reaching half time looking steady it was only a terrible missed opportunity from Maxi Rodriguez that was leaving a sour taste for Roy Hodgson's side.
More bad tastes were to come though in the second half in a moment of sheer despair when Spurs got themselves a penalty, thankfully it didn't end badly for Liverpool. A free kick awarded after a Carragher challenge (i didn't even think it was a foul) resulted in Ngog jumping up like he was doing the Mexican wave and blatantly hand balling in the area. Defoe however made a right meal of his penalty and sent his effort wide meaning Liverpool could regroup.
Spurs weren't looking completely beatable but in all honesty it was looking more promising from a Liverpool point of view. Ex employee Peter Crouch wasn't causing too much havoc for the defence and Gareth Bale was being held extremely well by Glen Johnson. The defence was going strong.
Disappointingly though it was the defence that was responsible for the equalizer from Tottenham an hour into the second half. When Modric left Johnson and Carragher for dead and whipped in a cross, poor old Martin Skrtel was left with no choice. If he'd of let the ball through it would have been straight at Crouch's feet, he had to do something, sadly for Skrtel he ended up turning the ball into his own net.
He never soddin' scores then he gets one at each end... Never mind ay Martin.
Even after this it still looked as though Liverpool would be able to get something from the game. Whether that meant holding on for a respectable point or getting a winner, we just didn't know but after our hard work we certainly didn't deserve to lose.
At 73minutes Hodgson thought it was time for a change. David Ngog who as always was valuable in hold up play was beginning to slow and i agreed with Roy's introduction of Fabio Aurelio.
At 85minutes things took another turn for Liverpool when Jamie Carragher went to the floor. Anyone who knows what type of player Carragher is will know that he does not go down unless he is near enough dead - no joke. I remember when he kept playing with i think two broken ribs and a pierced lung, this bloke will put everything on the line for Liverpool just like his last ditch block earlier on in the game to hold out Spurs.
It was clear it was a serious injury and it later turned out the the stalwart had dislocated his shoulder. The highlight of the game for me looking back afterwards was watching Carra being helped off the pitch like an old man crossing the road and then seeing him in a split second suddenly begin to shout his head of at Kyrgiakos to get on the bloody pitch. Absolutely priceless! Makes me proud that we have such a player in our team.
With Kyrgiakos on i still felt pretty comfortable with us holding on to this draw. The big Greek knows his stuff and there were only 10 minutes or so left.
However, Spurs decided they had other ideas and wanted the three points. An injury time winner from Aaron Lennon made all Reds hearts sink. Konchesky whatever he was doing should definitely feel somewhat responsible because by the time he'd realised the threat it was far, far too late.
What is most annoying about this defeat is that we actually played well, very well in fact. If it wasn't for missed chances and bad luck for Skrtel it could have been a very different story for Liverpool.
In all honesty i would have much rather seen us be absolutely thrashed by that Spurs side rather than holding them and then rolling over at 92minutes. Absolutely horrible.
With Steaua away on Thursday night and then Villa at Anfield on the 6th, it's going to be a tough couple of games for a Liverpool side without the likes of Gerrard and Carragher.