Club Focus – Liverpool – Spurs edge out Liverpool

Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool side fell to yet another defeat away from home in the Premier League; however the manager’s decision to tinker with his tactics meant that the Reds looked much more threatening and adventurous than they previously have been on their travels.

Despite the absence of inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, the visitors created several chances and could have been comfortably ahead at half-time. Hodgson’s decision to start with Fernando Torres and David Ngog up front allowed for a more positive performance from the Reds and if the former Fulham boss is bold enough to continue with a more attacking outlook in away games, Liverpool will certainly start picking up more points.

Raul Meireles, so often deployed in a wide position by Hodgson this season, occupied a more familiar role in central midfield and the Portuguese international looked more comfortable orchestrating from the centre of the field. Argentinian winger Maxi Rodriguez combined well with former Atletico Madrid teammate Fernando Torres throughout, though when the latter flicked a beautiful ball in his direction Maxi disappointed with his strike.

Despite such an encouraging midfield performance, it was a defender who scored, with Martin Skrtel netting for the Reds in the first half. Unfortunately for the Slovakian, he also let Spurs back into the game with an own goal. But it was Hodgson’s summer signing Paul Konchesky who disappointed the most from a defensive point of view. The left-back was caught ball-watching and out of position on many occasions during the game, therefore it was unsurprising that he was at fault for Tottenham’s last minute winner. With January fast approaching, the Reds boss must surely be on the lookout for a more competent full-back.

Nevertheless, Liverpool performed admirably throughout and had Torres converted the excellent couple of chances he was given, the Merseysiders could have leapfrogged their opponents in the Premier League table. It was not to be, but similar performances in the future will eventually lead to victories.

However, key defender Jamie Carragher, who captained the side for this game, has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a dislocated shoulder. The Reds are already without Daniel Agger, therefore Hodgson will be forced to use Kyrgiakos and Skrtel at the heart of the Liverpool defence for the foreseeable future. Without arguably their first choice centre-back pairing, Liverpool may be vulnerable at the back over the next few games. Also, another injury could see them resort to rookie defenders Danny Wilson and Martin Kelly, who may be bright talents for the future, but in truth the Reds could do without the increasing injury list ahead of such a busy period in the season.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have been drawn against arch-rivals Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The tie will see Hodgson’s men travel to Old Trafford in January, looking to progress to the latter stages of the competition. Although a plum tie for the neutral, both teams would probably have been hoping to be kept apart so early on in the tournament.

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