Monday, 6 February 2012

Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham

Yes, the title sums it up. I don't even know where to begin. It was just so awful.

I have been told that Liverpool can realistically expect a return to the good life, starting with a top-four finish in this season's Premier League.

I have been told that Tottenham are realistic title contenders. With their strength in many positions, many have stated that Spurs could yet snatch the title from the big bad Manchester clubs.

I was told that this would be a great, attacking game between two teams who play football the right way.

I have been told that the Premier League is better than La Liga.

Wait, what?!

None of the above is true on tonight's evidence. Maybe I'm just tired, maybe when I wake up, I will be hungover and realise that last night's game was brilliant, a great "advert" for the Premier League - whatever that really means - and I missed a real cracker. But I didn't.

The match was played against the backdrop of the return of Luis Suarez. Suarez hasn't played a match since Boxing Day, having been found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, a decision Liverpool disputed...then couldn't be arsed to argue anymore.

Liverpool controlled much of the possession, but lacked a knock-out punch when it mattered, with Andy Carroll's usually silky touch and dazzling pace deserting him. Then Liverpool had a shot that went wide. That was about it in the first half. The second half wasn't much better, Liverpool pressed a bit, but not too much, perhaps scared to let Spurs advance into the Liverpool half...imagine that!

The introduction of Suarez did liven things up a bit. The poor buggar has been treated really badly by the big bullies in the press since the Evra incident. After all, all he did was probably racially abuse him, and Evra DEFINITELY lied to stitch Suarez up because he's a big meanie. (Umm, it's important to note at this point that my tongue is basically stuck to my cheek and Suarez remains a douchebag of the highest regard).

We didn't have to wait long for Suarez's first impact...which was on Scott Parker's stomach, missing a high ball by mere yards as his foot cannoned into Parker's midriff. I have since come to the conclusion that Parker is made of some kind of metallic alloy and derives sexual pleasure from being hurt, a bit like Max Mosley.

Although they were pretty poor, Liverpool at least kind of had a go, as proved by late chances for Suarez and Carroll. But Tottenham were so negative it was cringe-worthy. Shorn of the services of Jermaine Defoe, Rafael Van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon, their squad was made to look pretty crap. Playing five in midfield isn't necessarily a bad tactic when you have the pace of Gareth Bale and the apparent genius of Luka Modric - I say apparent because he doesn't seem all that good to me - and you are away at Anfield. But as the game became stretched and legs became tired, Spurs still refused to offer anything up front. They simply sat back even though Liverpool were hardly barging down the door. A late chance for Bale (who was earlier KO'd Mortal Kombat style by Martin Skrtel) aside, Spurs didn't create anything of note.

If Tottenham's ambition is to finish in the top four, then tonight can be seen as a point gained and a well marshaled, tactical, team effort. If they want to win the title - as so many people have said they do - they need to actually try and win these games. Spurs were more defensive than Ryan Giggs at a family party. The fact their players were all smiles at full-time was telling. Spurs won't win the league, and they never were going to. This season, I've thought of Spurs the same way we thought of Dick Dastardly in wacky races, when you thought "he can't win...can he?!?!"...and then he didn't.

Finally, the bit which may be controversial (if you've read this far, in which case, you're my friend). The Premier League is not better than La Liga. The Chelsea vs Man United game yesterday was amazing, but only really due to the laughably poor quality in the defending. Tonight was just crap, crap, crap.

The Premier League is allegedly better than the Spanish top division because it is more competitive. No-one wants to see the same two teams win the title over and over again.

Premier League Champions:
2004-2005 Chelsea
2005-2006 Chelsea
2006-2007 Man United
2007-2008 Man United
2008-2009 Man United
2009-2010 Chelsea
2010-2011 Man United

Wouldn't it be rubbish if the same two teams won the title over and over again?!

Yes, Man City lead the table this year, but they and Man United are now respectively seven and five points clear of third placed Spurs and a further seven points clear of fourth place Chelsea.

I love the Premier League, I really do. It is my favourite league in the world (mainly because it is convenient...I am British and I do support a team in that league...not that I or the press are biased?!) But it is not the best, unless we are judging on factors other than competitiveness and quality. Other than that it's right up there.

You're probably expecting a big, funny, satirical finish to this blog, much like we were all expecting a big finish to the game tonight as Liverpool finally began attacking. In fact, there nearly was; after wriggling past two Spurs defenders, Glen Johnson found crucial space for a cross with several team-mates waiting...surely this was it, surely there couldn't be an anti-climax?..

The scuffed cross travelled three yards before being intercepted. Tonight's game sucked.

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