Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tottenham v Liverpool: a litmus test match

It's straightforward enough: we're not as good as Man Utd or Man City, we're better than Wolves, but are we as good as Liverpool?

It's what pundits call 'a litmus test', I believe. It certainly was in 2009/10 when we beat them in blazing sunshine on the opening day and went on to finish fourth. We were, simply, better than them - that day and that season.

Same last year, when we smash and grabbed the points at the Lane with a late Lennon winner and then put in a fantastically professional performance at Anfield to complete the double. Again, we were just better than them. And finished above them. It was starting to feel quite natural.

For those of us who first started following football in the '70s or '80s, this was quite something. A psychological breakthrough of mammoth proportions. Liverpool were Man Utd before Man Utd were Man Utd: virtually unbeatable, relentlessly successful, and a fixture you more or less wrote off - home and away.

To be demonstrably better and regularly above them was some going - even if their decline played as much a part as our rise.

The consensus now seems to be that Liverpool are 'back'. Certainly Kenny Dalglish is back - and the media love him, especially in harness with "his beloved Liverpool", blah, blah, blah.

Yet they've had a stuttering start (all things are relative: if there's has been stuttering, ours has been more or less mute).

Their most impressive result was a 0-2 win at The Emirates, but that's subsequently been dimmed by context. It's like hearing someone's shagged Brigitte Bardot - and then finding out it was last week.

(For a second there I just had to check to make sure the Woman that God Created hadn't died. But then I thought, well, the point would still stand, right?)

Apart from that they've lost to Stoke, beaten Bolton and drawn with Sunderland. Ho fucking hum.

And their recruitment campaign has seen them fill their ranks with players from poor teams who certainly didn't frighten us last year: Henderson, Adam, Enrique, Downing, Carroll. Quake ye not, mighty Spurs, they wear red shirts but they are beige players.

So, Parker and Modric to continue in midfield, Adebayor and Defoe to be given a chance to form an actual partnership up front, Ledley and whoever's fit at the back.

It's taken most of my life for Spurs to become better than Liverpool, let's not throw it away in an afternoon.


  1. I love how the press have so conveniently forgotten how Kenny just walked off into the night a few years ago and completely left them in the lurch when it suited him... Enough years go by and all of a sudden it's his 'beloved Liverpool' again.

    It'd be sods law if Carroll rediscovers his touch against us this sunday, but if he doesn't and 'The King' keeps Suarez in his pocket like he did last May, I'd back Adebayor to make it two in two.

  2. I remember that great day in the 80s when we won at Anfield for the "first time since the Titanic sank" - we celebrated like we had won the double such was the achievement.

  3. Roll on Sunday. It won't just be the hangover meaning I'm peering between my fingers.

  4. I do recall Blackpool rather putting the shits up us last season, so we'd best keep an eye on Adam.

  5. Jazz15c -

    Great article, couldn't have said it all better myself.

    Agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments re: their purchases. With the exception of Suarez...would any of the rest get in our 1st XI...NOPE!

    20 mill for me a favour...! Villa spent 10 mill on Nzogbia, pocketed the rest and are still probably pissing their pants!!!

    Carroll is and never will be a 35 million pound footballer, he is a young Kevin Davies, nothing more.

    Expecting us to give them a proper shake up on Sunday.

    2 or 3vs1 Spurs

  6. So true. Liverpool was an absolute machine in those days. But Carrol isn't Ian Rush, and Dalglish will always be a better player than a manager.

    We must beware of Suarez though. That man's a handful.

  7. Good article. Linked to it from a Liverpool forum that appreciates good quality banter. Just to put Gosforth Dave straight however Dalglish did not just walk ‘off into the night a few years ago and completely left them in the lurch when it suited him..’ The guy suffered a near nervous breakdown from the cumulative stress of having been an Ibrox when 66 died, playing at Heysal when 39 died and then being manager at Hillsborough when 96 died. Thankfully that era is over, at least in Europe.
    Good to get a sense of perspective on things.

  8. @ anon 2034.
    To be fair I suppose, I have read that before about Dalglish' breakdown but I'm not convinced. I reckon he let a lot of players all grow old at the same time at Liverpool & when he realised following that 4-4 Cup draw with Everton, that the squad needed a lot of rebuilding, he bottled it and quit. He sure as hell felt better quick enough when Jack Walker offered him a blank cheque to buy the title at Blackburn. Meanwhile Graeme Souness thought Julian Dicks was the type of player to bring back the Glory days at Anfield, Hmm...

    Obviously the tradgedies that Dalglish witnessed was unbelievably sad, but I always felt he should have just seen out the season and not quit when he did. You are quite probably right about it all, but it's just my view.