COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 17th October 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane






Will Spurs suffer the new manager factor as Liverpool take to the field for the first time under Jurgen Klopp or will they carry on in their Brendan Rodgers inspired funk that has seen them bimble along this season being generally unconvincing ?

Well, they will have to do it without Jordan Henderson, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, John Flanagan, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings as injuries have hit Liverpool hard.  We have our own absentees through injury and will miss Eric Dier, who is suspended, but plugging Tottenham's holes might be slightly easier than those of the visitors.

With Daniel Sturridge returning to the team, they have a proven goal-scorer, who Tottenham will need to get close to.  His movement off the bal is not always all it should be, but he is a danger on it.  With Coutinho returning from injury, he is one who pulls the strings in the Liverpool midfield and is a dangerous player.  Put him in alongside Milner, Lallana and Can and the midfield looks solid enough, with some forward intent contained within it.  The defence has been shaky and the loss of key figures there might help give others the chance to stake their claim to a regular place.  Skrtel is a liability and one day referees will get wise to his shirt pulling and ignoring the ball in favour of attacking the player rather than the spherical object.  Dejan Lovren might be available as he has just returned to training, but he has failed to justify the huge fee Liverpool paid Southampton for him, while Sakho is also a player with a mistake per game (at least) in him.  Full back slots will be filled by Clyne and Moreno, both of whom like to get forward, leaving space to hit the ball into to launch counter-attacks.  The way that Tottenham attacked Manchester City shows that they have the ability to make the most of gaps left behind the midfield.

Simon Mingolet has been the barrier to Liverpool losing some games but has been the reason they have lost others.  Erratic, he often seems a good shot stopper, but then one will get past him that you feel he should have kept out.  At the other end, Divock Origi is another player who was brought in amid a wave of optimism, but like Spurs with the Bale money, Liverpool appear to have bought their fair share of duds with the income from Luis Suarez's sale to Barcelona.

I expect Mousa Dembele to replace Dier in front of the back four and while he is less defensive minded than the England Under-21 man, he has the ability to hold the bal and if he plays as well as he did before getting injured, then he could play a part in pushing Spurs forward.  With Harry Kane looking sharp for England in the week and Christian Eriksen getting back among the goals at Swansea, the options for scoring has come from a number of areas in the Tottenham team.  Hopefully that will prove to be the case once again.

Not content with Liverpool's new manager being in his first match, but Mauricio Pochettino has been given the Manager of the Month award for September.  Even though Liverpool have had the sign over us lately, that was also the case with Manchester City, who won big against us too often ... and look what happened to them.  I don't think it will be quite as comprehensive a win over the Reds as it was against the Light Blues as Klopp will have them well-drilled, but Spurs to win narrowly I reckon.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Liverpool    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Last season's corresponding fixture
Tottenham go into the game without Eric Dier (suspended for one game), Ryan Mason (knee), Nabil Bentlaeb (ankle), Heung-Min Son (knee) and Alex Pritchard (ankle).
Arriving at White Hart Lane without injured Jordan Henderson (foot), Roberto Firmino (back), Christian Benteke (hamstring), Joe Gomez (knee), John Flanagan (knee) and Danny Ings (knee), they will also assess Dejan Lovren (foot) and Philipe Coutinho (pelvis) before deciding if they can be picked.

BT Sport 1 - (live coverage)
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Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)                                                                       
Premier League
Saturday 17th October 2015
White Hart Lane
Liverpool  0 (0)

Kick off 12:45
None None
Lamela (foul on Moreno)  59  


Milner (foul on Rose)  35
Lucas (foul on Kane) 90+1


Crowd :   35,926 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee :  Craig Pawson (W. Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Salisbury; Mr. S. Ledger
Fourth Official :  Neil Swarbrick -
Liverpool kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Liverpool : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE

20  Dele ALLI
19  Mousa DEMBELE

  Erik LAMELA       (17  Andros TOWNSEND 87)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
22  Nacer CHADLI  (
14  Clinton N'JIE 11)

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
33  Ben DAVIES
27  Kevin WIMMER
29  Harry WINKS

  22  Simon MINGOLET

  2  Nathaniel CLYNE
37  Martin SKRTEL
17  Mamadou SAKHO
18  Alberto MORENO

21  LUCAS Leiva     
23  Emre CAN

  7  James MILNER (c)     
20  Adam LALLANA  (24  Joe ALLEN 81)
  Philipe COUTINHO  (33  Jordan IBE 87)

27  Divock ORIGI

Unused subs: 
34  Adam BOGDAN
  4  Kolo TOURE
48  Jerome SINCLAIR
53  Joao TEXEIRA
56  Connor RANDALL

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Jurgen Klopp
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Standard Chartered
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   New Balance
Match report

The game that was supposed to be all about Jurgen Klopp somehow got lost in a 0-0 draw that was frankly spoiled by the inept officiating of the person in yellow called " a referee".  For someone to put in such an appalling display makes the description of his job title a prime candidate for referal to the Trading Standards department of Haringey Council.

With Eric Dier missing from the side through a five yellow card suspension, Mousa Demeble returned to the starting line-up and he put in a performance with energy and good defensive awareness.  The rest of the team was as it had been for the bulk of the season so far, while Liverpool made a number of enforced changes, the latest being the omission of the late injury victim Daniel Sturridge (now there's something you don't hear every day !!).  That left them starting the unproven Divock Origi up front on his own, with a midfield of Milner, Coutinho, Lallana and Can backing him up.

The game started at a fair old pace and Liverpool had the better of the opening exchanges, as they pressed Spurs high up the field, forcing the Tottenham players to give the ball away far too often and too easily.  But for all the conceded possession Liverpool had, they failed to test Hugo Lloris often enough.  Their best chance came when Nacer Chadli lay injured off the pitch after being landed on by Sakho following an aerial challenge on the edge of the penalty area.  The ball was headed around the box from a corner until Origi put it towards goal, only to see his header come down off the under-side of the bar and Lloris instinctively slap the ball away as it almost bounced onto him on the goal-line before Harry Kane cleared the ball from danger. 

Meanwhile, James Milner was taking Klopp's press conference comments far too literally, with the "open our chests, run and fight and shoot" statement only registering the "fight" aspect with the Liverpool midfielder.  Twice he took Spurs players - Alli and Rose - out inside the first twenty minutes with late, cynical challenges and the weakness of the referee was exposed at these moments, with him failing to take any action against Milner for the crude tackles.  Unfortunately, this was just the start of an afternoon of lack of judgement from the main official, who was unabley assisted by his linesman with the yellow flag.  Between the two of them they failed to spot fouls that were so blatantly carried out that  it belies belief that they missed them.  If they genuinely did, they should not be running Premier League games ... or Sunday morning pub league games come to that.  When Skrtel pulled Kane's shirt half off him in the second half, when the ball came in from a free-kick, the shock that nothing was given was only superseded by the incredulity of the free-kick he awarded soon after when Moreno fell to the floor when hemmed in his own defensive corner, with a barely noticeable touch from Lamela.  There was no truly controversial decision made in the game as I think the official is incapable of making one in my opinion and frankly, it was an afternoon of easy money for the three people in yellow shirts, who did little for their pay.  But more of that later.

Anyway, back at the action, Chadli had to be stretchered off after a long period of treatment, as he could not carry on, so on came Clinton N'Jie, with just ten and a half minutes gone.  His introduction had taken a little while, as he wasn't prepared for an early entry into the game and his first few touches showed that, as he gave the ball away with most of his first half a dozen passes.  Spurs were finding it difficult to clear the ball effectively and it kept coming back, especially when pressured when trying to play the ball out from the back.  Vertonghen, Rose and Alli all had to make well-timed tackles in the Spurs box as the Reds moved into attack.  All that resulted from the visitors' intent, only two fairly weak, innocuous shots from Lallana and Coutinho straight at Lloris were what they had to show for it.  Tottenham were getting more into the game and stringing some passes together now, winning a couple of free-kicks around the box, but nothing came from them.  They did get a better chance when the ball broke to Clinton on the right hand side of the box and his drive was blocked by Sakho.  Then, good pressure from Spurs saw Kane get the ball from a pass by Lallana  that sold Skrtel short and he set up the Cameroon striker for a shot taken early with the outside of his right foot from inside the area, forcing Mingolet to a diving save to push the ball away to his right for a corner.

Dele Alli got caught a few times on the ball as Liverpool shut Spurs down quickly, but he got away on the right wing and put in a low ball to the near post, where Eriksen was blocked by Skrtel at the cost of a corner.  From it, it actually cleared the first man, but Vertonghen got under it and it soared way over the crossbar.  Liverpool caused more panic from a corner of their own, when Skrtel headed down, but the ball was cleared from in front of goal, leading to a Spurs breakaway that came to nothing.

The man with the whistle eventually booked Milner when he upended Rose once more.  By that time he should have been off the pitch anyway.  Spurs worked good space, with Eriksen playing a cute ball into Kane in the box and he shot low to Mingolet's left, but the keeper threw out a leg to keep the ball out.  It eventually fell to Dele Alli on the right side of the penalty spot and his half-volley was heading for goal until Sakho threw himself in the way of the ball to knock it away.  Clinton had another shooting opportunity when he got to the ball ahead of a dithering Skrtel and smashed a shot that flew a foot over the top.  Having had little joy with corners played into the box, a short corner was worked to Dembele on the edge of the box, but his shot flew high into the Park Lane end.

The half-time interval brought an interview with Lemar, the local boy who is now a big selling singer, who loves the club ... as he should !!  The rest of the interval was spent discussing how Liverpool had been working hard to shut down space for Spurs to play in, but how they were not as used to doing it as we were and how we should get the better of the second half as the Merseysiders tired. 

I fail to see how Martin Skrtel gets away with so many fouls.  He is the only outfield player who plays the game with his hands.  A foul on Kane saw him drag him over and Eriksen's flighted free-kick missed everyone in the box apart from Mingolet, who took the ball easily.  Liverpool broke on the left and Origi drew the ball into the path of Lucas, but his half-hit shot was no trouble for Lloris to gather.  The Liverpool keeper had a tougher save to make when Christian laid the ball into Kyle Walker's path and he struck a shot that flew two feet off the floor all the way and had to be beaten out as it swerved in front of the goalie.  The person "in charge" of the match was having a stinker and booked Lamela for a foul, which was fair enough, but when he had let worse tackles go earlier in the game, it was a bit of a joke.  His prime responsibility is the safety of players and he failed to honour that ... but more of that later.

Mousa Dembele was getting in some excellent tackles in midfield and even further back ,as he made a couple of very timely interventions as Liverpool looked to threaten.  The visitors were getting desperate and Lallana went down very easily (something he has been accused of before recently), but for once the man in the middle made the right decision to give nothing.  Rose put in a good cross at the other end, but Alli was going to meet it with an overhead kick, but Lamela was too close to him and in the end, both players missed it.  Harry Kane is looking desperate for a goal and slammed a shot at goal, with Sakho right in front of him, when a lay off might have been a more productive option.  Harry was doing better when the ball was played up to him and the way he  shrugged off Can and three other markers to win a corner showed his developing strength on the ball.  The ball was headed out and this time Walker's effort wasn't as dangerous as his previous one, slicing well wide.

Then, the one controversial decision (which in truth was a straightforward one) happened.  The ball went up in the air and Rose and Milner raced towards it.  Rose got there first and Milner then proceeded to crash into him, leaving Danny in heap on the floor.  I am not sure what Rose has done to upset the rest of the Premier League, but he always seems to be the one on the receiving end.  Anyway, expecting a free-kick and a second yellow for the Liverpool midfielder, most Spurs fans were left aghast when  play was waved on and Origi got away down the left to hit a low shot to the near post, which Lloris did well to get behind.  Even then, it had to be brought to the attention of the man in yellow that Rose was still down.  Boos cascaded down from the stands in a way I haven't heard since Barcelona hacked their way past Tottenham in the European Cup-Winners Cup semi-final in 1982.  It was astounding that someone could commit such a "challenge" and not get booked after the one he gave Lamela.  It was laughable that such a person is allowed near a football match.  Lamela was soon the victim of a foul by Moreno that was equivalent to the one he had seen yellow for, but Spurs didn't even get a free-kick.

Tottenham were now looking stronger than their opponents and Eriksen waltzed past a couple of defenders on the left corner of the penalty area (with something looking like a handball thrown in ... not that the joker with the whistle would have spotted it) before squaring the ball for Kane to hit first time, but Mingolet dived to his left to tip the ball out for a corner as it was heading just inside his post.  Heading into added time, Milner was tripped by Alli right on the right hand side of the penalty area and it looked that they would snatch a late winner as they piled up the numbers in the goalmouth.  As it was, Moreno hit the wall with the free-kick and the game petered out as a 0-0 draw.

Both sides were pressing hard and it led to a first half of possession being exchanged as teams could not hold onto the ball for too long.  As it settled down, Spurs had the better chances with Mingolet having to make three good saves to Lloris' one.  The Reds did hit the bar in the first half, but Origi should really have put the header away and perhaps showed why Jamie Carragher made the comment about Liverpool becoming Tottenham, because at the moment the Belgian striker looks like money poorly spent.  Some might have thought the same with Clinton when he first cam eon, but as the game went on, he grew in confidence and linked better on the left wing, which is not his natural position anyway.  Spurs might have missed the greater defensive reading of Dier, but Dembele was my man of the match, as he was strong and put in a real shift with a valuable contribution. 

The one issue of concern at the moment, bearing in mind Son might be out for three or more weeks, is that we don't look so threatening up front.  There was talk on the train going home that we need more free-kicks around the box, as that is the only way we are going to score at the moment.  I am not sure it is that bad, as Liverpool were going to be tighter at the back than they had been under Rodgers, but we need to finish the chances we make ... especially against the better teams in the table.  There was enough good moves to show that we are capable of opening up teams, it is getting midfielders up and around Kane when we break forward.

As for Liverpool, they looked a little the same.  Plenty of effort, but no cutting edge, although they had strikers missing too, but the team suffers with a number of their players being too similar.  For all the ex-Liverpool players and managers saying Klopp will win a title at Anfield, it is hard to see how, unless there is even more drastic investment.  The new manager has his eyes set on some of the top players in Europe, but then other clubs will have as well.  The attraction of going to Liverpool at the moment is ... ?  A new, charismatic manager, but then the Champions League is what players move for and in that respect, they are in the same boat as Spurs ... and it is one going to Europa League matches at the moment.

Well, it was an afternoon thoroughly spoiled by two out of the three officials and not for the players' want of trying to play.

Simon Holden




Liverpool's owners have clocked up an impressive grand total of 2,000 miles to see games and following their club from the US of A.

However, they did travel 20,000 miles flying between the two countries to over-see the sacking of Brendan Rodgers.


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What you thought
East Stan There was one incident you forgot in the second half, which was when Clyne tried to be too clever and fell over the ball on the corner of his own penalty area leaving Clinton to take the ball away from him.  Except he looked pleading up at the referee and he obliged by giving him a  free-kick to save his skin.  Shockingly awful is how I would describe the ref.

Oh, and shirt pulling outside the box is a booking, but inside it appears to not even be a foul. Weird that isn't it ?

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 West Ham United 3 Saturday
Everton 0 Manchester United 3 Saturday
Manchester City 5 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Southampton 2 Leicester City 2 Saturday
Watford 0 Arsenal 3 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 6 Norwich City 2 Sunday
Swansea City 0 Stoke City 1 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 9 7 0 2 24 8 21 +16
2 Arsenal 9 6 1 2 16 7 19 +9
3 Manchester United 9 6 1 2 15 8 19 +7
4 West Ham United 9 5 2 2 20 10 17 +10
5 Leicester City 9 4 4 1 19 17 16 +2
6 Crystal Palace 9 5 0 4 12 10 15 +2
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 9 3 5 1 11 7 14 +4
8 Southampton 9 3 4 2 15 12 13 +3
9 Everton 9 3 5 2 12 11 13 +1
10 Liverpool 9 3 4 2 8 10 13 -2
11 Stoke City 9 3 3 3 9 10 12 -1
12 Chelsea 9 3 2 4 14 17 11 -3
13 West Bromwich Albion 9 3 2 4 7 12 11 -5
14 Swansea City 9 2 4 3 10 11 10 -1
15 Watford 9 2 4 3 6 10 10 -4
16 Norwich City 9 2 3 4 14 20 9 -6
17 Bournemouth 9 2 1 5 10 16 7 -6
18 Newcastle United 9 1 3 5 12 19 6 -7
19 Aston Villa 9 1 1 7 8 15 4 -7
20 Sunderland 9 0 3 6 8 19 3 -11

Position before match :  8th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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