04 February 2018

Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham

Salah 3' 90+1'
Wanyama 80'
Kane 90+5' [pen]

Football is incredibly stupid and I hate it.

The thing is, a draw's probably a fair result. Liverpool were good in the first half in midfield and defense, but poor in attack, needing a mistake from Dier for Salah to open the scoring in the 3rd minute. Tottenham were so, so much better in the second half, with Liverpool pinned back for nearly 45 minutes. Tottenham's front six switched constantly throughout the match, but they were far more 4-2-3-1 that what was usually 4-Diamond-2 in the first half. And Liverpool's midfield tired dramatically, and Liverpool's substitutions didn't help, and an equalizer seemed inevitable.

But we're going to talk about little more than the referee and linesman. Jon Moss – the same referee who sent off Sadio Mané at Manchester City – and Edward Smart.

Let's just fast-forward to the 85th minute. Tottenham have leveled five minutes earlier through Wanyama's thunderbolt from absolutely nowhere. Karius punches Davies' cross out, Can can't complete the clearance, and Wanyama absolutely thwacks a shot into the roof of the net which ends up in the Kop 49 times out of 50. What can you do.

But we're nowhere near done.

So, Tottenham's first penalty. Yes. First. Alli's throughball. Lovren off-balance, unable to intercept, a slight touch on the ball. Kane in. Karius out. Kane goes down.

First, foremost, and absolutely everything, Kane's offside. But also Karius doesn't even make contact with Kane, who hurdles the keeper then drags his leg over his body and falls to the floor. But the penalty's given. Despite the linesman clearly saying "offside" with the camera close in on their conversation, Jon Moss overrules him.

And the penalty's saved. Straight down the middle, Karius keeps his position.

I can almost breathe again.

And then Mo Salah scores the best individual goal you will even see. With Liverpool's third shot of the half, the first in 20 minutes, and the only non-blocked shot in almost an hour.

Throw-in after Liverpool had launched it deep. Alexander-Arnold to Salah, surrounded by three. What looked to be handball ignored as Salah's first to the loose ball with everyone looking at Jon Moss. Around Davies, holding off Alli, breaking Vertonghen's ankles, chipping Lloris all in the space of three years. The footwork's beyond belief. The finish is almost as good. In injury time of a game you thought you'd lost just five minutes earlier.

I cannot breathe again, but for an entirely different reason.

That's a goal that deserves to win any game.

Jon Moss and Edward Smart had other ideas.

Right back down the field, where we'd been all half. In the last minute of added time, van Dijk swings a leg at an attempted clearance from Trippier's long throw, not knowing what's behind him. Lamela, in an offside position from the flick-on, goes down like he'd been shot. Jon Moss makes an exaggerated "LOOK AT ME" no-penalty gesture. The linesman flags furiously.

This time, Moss allows himself to be overruled by his assistant. This time, Harry Kane makes no mistake.

I mean, come on.

It is impossible not to feel deeply, irreversibly aggrieved. It is impossible to not to want to burn down the Premier League, FA, Jon Moss' house, and the universe.

But the fact remains that it's still two points dropped against a rival. Despite taking the lead. Twice. Like Everton, thanks to the referee and silk-soft penalty given. But also like Watford and Sevilla and Newcastle and Sevilla and Chelsea and Arsenal.

And in a match where you admittedly probably weren't good enough to win. The high-pressing system tired and faded, the substitutions off the bench either didn't help or actively hurt. The attack needed a mistake from Dier and a moment of irrepressible brilliance to score its goals, with all three stars off-form with the ball at their feet for the majority of the match.

But Tottenham – despite all the good they did in the second half – needed the referee to break through Liverpool's defense, which was surprisingly Liverpool's best facet of the game. Multiple times.

And that's what makes what might have been a fair draw absolutely unforgivable.


Anonymous said...

1st penalty shouldn't have been given because Kane was offside, but it was missed anyway and actually may have given Liverpool a lift that resulted in scoring. Before that they looked dead on their feet.

2nd penalty was a penalty in terms of it was a foul in the box, I think whether or not Lamela made the most of that contact is irrelevant. Why even give the referee/his assistant a decision to make? (I'm interested if you have a screencap showing he was offside as well, as I don't remember but happy to be proved wrong).

The true travesty is that the decisions will give Klopp an excuse. He now won't talk about why his substitutions didn't affect the game, and why Liverpool's defence constantly shot themselves in the foot.

All match long there were fouls given away for no reason, when the opposition was going nowhere (despite knowing the team has a set piece weakness). All match long there were panicked clearances. They should have been punished earlier.

Why is van Dijk rushing to smash kick that ball in the first place when there's a good chance Lamela beats him to it. He needs to process that the risk is not worth it to smash a ball out of play.

Anonymous said...

Just rewatched on MotD -

First penalty may have been correct (albeit soft) as well, what the assistant was saying to Moss is that if Lovren hasn't touched the ball Kane is offside. But Lovren in his miskick has got a nick on it, and thus Kane is fine. To me forget the penalty and focus on another panicked miskick from Lovren - why was Matip not playing?

Also Salah's goal is very Suarez-esque, gets better with a rewatch.