So finally, Spurs win their opening fixture, which is sweet enough. And when the defeated opponent just happens to be Liverpool (making it three consecutive victories at White Hart Lane), its sheer icing on the proverbial cake.
After a scrappy half hour, Spurs began to dominate Liverpool as an attacking force, with Modric pulling strings and Liverpool’s central defence being less than optimum (after hilariously colliding with each other for no reason at all). Then a trio of spurned chances by Keane made it look as if Spurs were going to miss the boat, from out of the blue, left back Assou-Ekotto flashed a rocket past Reiner as the Lane erupted with joy. A great way to celebrate Spurs’ first goal of the season.
Half-time came and went and the fear was that Spurs would fold in the 2nd half (as they have too many times in the past) and when Gomes lost his head and gave away a silly penalty – which Gerrard duly put away – it was a case of ‘here we go again’. All credit to this Spurs team for forcing their way back into the reckoning and yet again, a defender – this time debutant Stephen Bassong – scored from a set piece, brilliantly floated in by Modric.
With 30 minutes left, Liverpool tried their best to claw back into the game but despite a couple of penalty appeals, Spurs defence stood firm, even as Benayon’s appearance failed to liven up the sleepwalking Gerrard and Torres. Crouch would soon make his league debut for Spurs which signalled a flurry of long high balls, most of which did not reach their intended target – a worrying development. Spurs held on and a historic win was earned.
Yes, it’s only the first game of the season but having put one of the so-called Top Four clubs to the sword with such conviction bodes well for this solid Spurs squad. Of course, there is much room for improvement but the positives outweigh the negatives. The defensive solidity and the magnificent form of Modric and Palacios provide a promising platform for an exciting season.