Liverpool 0 (0)
Saturday 28th July 2012
Venue : M&T Bank Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur 0 (0)
Kick off 13:00 local time (18:00 UK time)
Gerrard (foul on Smith) 87
Bassong (foul on Sterling) 76
|Crowd : 42,723||Weather : Sunny, very hot|
|Referee : - (-)||Assistant Referees : -|
|- kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Liverpool :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Naughton ( -
|Manager : Brendon Rodgers||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Standard Chartered||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : Warrior Sports||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
In temperatures over 100 degrees and on a pitch more suited to the Horse of the Year Show, Spurs and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw in front of a large crowd in Baltimore that failed to half fill the stadium that is normally the home of the Baltimore Ravens. The normal surface is artificial and that is why the long strips of turf, which were badly jointed, made it look like a patchwork quilt and led to an errant bounce of the ball off the spongy grass and off the upstanding seams.
While both teams are keen to contest a place in the top four next season, it was a reasonably half-paced work-out which was still too fast for the lumbering carthorse that is Charlie Adam, who once more set about Gareth Bale with a studs first challenge on the Welshman's ankle. There was rarely a bad challenge in the match apart from a few pull-backs as players seek to find their fitness. But Adam once more excelled himself. He really is a player that I am glad we failed to sign, as it would have been a huge waste of money and a huge embarrassment to Tottenham.
But less of players with lack of talent and onto those who might shine in the future and that was what this match was mostly about. With Liverpool still without some of their players involved in the Olympics, they had a youthful aspect to their team that was later matched by Spurs, once the substitutions started to kick in. With this being Liverpool's third game in the US and Tottenham's second, the heat had a major effect on the pace of the game, with both teams trying to get their fitness to match-playing levels at different times. The Reds have a Europa League qualifier next week, while Spurs' first competitive game will not be until the opening fixture of the season on 18th August.
With young striker Adam Morgan leading the line, Liverpool's main threat was through this forward. But he really only worried twice, with a shot being blocked and when he released over the right side of our defence, he came inside, but Friedel beat his shot away for a corner. Apart from that, a Shelvey shot straight at our keeper and a second half shot from Skrtel which Friedel caught was the sum total of their efforts on goal. The much heralded arrival of Fabio Borini on the pitch saw the Roma man provided with a shooting chance from Henderson's cross late in the game, but he volleyed it way across goal and the threat disappeared.
As for Spurs, their attacking threat was the greater, even though the main striker for the 90 minutes was the only one we had left on tour, Harry Kane. Despite his lack of top flight experience, he did well in holding the ball up against strong defenders and even produced a moment of skill, turning Skrtel to pull a shot from the right across Jones in goal and the ball just went wide of the keeper's right hand post. That had been the best chance of the half until Bale dinked in a cross that Kane went for, but was underneath it. Aaron Lennon was coming in unmarked behind him and met the ball, but maybe he had an eye for the post that he was running towards and his shot hit the upright, while he made sure he didn't.
Shortly after, another Bale left wing cross found Gylfi Sigurdsson, who glanced his header towards the bottom corner of the goal, but Brad Jones dived to hold the effort. Both these attempts came just before the break, when Tottenham had looked reasonably comfortable, with them passing the ball well on the uneven surface. The side only looked poor when a long ball had to be played forward, with the Liverpool players working hard in the heat to close them down. Without an experienced target man and with Kane not having a lot of support from behind him, that out ball was not likely to gain a lot of advantage.
The second half was a much more slow paced game, with the changes starting at half-time, with Bale not re-appearing after Adam's kick, but then the aggressor failed to turn out for the rest of the match too, although that may have had something to do with his lack of fitness.
With Skrtel's run and shot, it was defenders who had the best chances, as William Gallas went on a similar nose-bleed territory run that saw Huddlestone find him with a straight ball over the middle of the Scousers' back line and as it got to the penalty area, Gulacsi came out to close the Spurs man down. William just got to it first, prodding it over the goalie but also wide of the goal. it came at a rpice, as he pulled up holding his hamstring and he eventually was replaced, but then all but Friedel and Kane were.
There were few dangerous goal attempts after that, with only Bassong pulling Raheem Sterling down by the neck and Steven Gerrard pulling back Adam Smith after the Spurs defender had palmed him off, earning any attention and that was from the referee who yellow carded them.
Another useful fitness exercise, but I am not sure AVB is learning too much about the players team play as the conditions and the lack of first teamers is hindering the development ready for that Newcastle game. With new signings hinted at in the papers, I guess the Modric move is the key to that. Moutinho might be out of reach now, but Lloris is mooted as being affordable and Adebayor might or might not arrive, so perhaps the club need to shell out on another striker.
This match will have no bearing on any meeting with Liverpool in the coming season, as both sides will no doubt be much changed by then, as they both seem to be chasing the same players !!
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