Good morning and welcome to another Monday. They just come around so quickly. All we can do is get on with it though, and hope the weekend is here before we know it. There’s plenty of football to get us through the week either way, with Watford hosting Chelsea tonight and FA Cup replays during the week. Yesterday had a couple of good games, so I’ll have a look at those now.
We’ll start with the late kick-off, which was Liverpool vs Spurs. It was a brilliant game, and it finished 2-2 at Anfield. Liverpool controlled the first half, and went into half-time 1-0 up thanks to Mo Salah. He scored after just two minutes, and that was the Egyptian’s 20th goal of the season. The ball was played into his path by Eric Dier, and the winger made no mistake with his finish as he guided it past Hugo Lloris and into the goal. The Reds were well on top in the first half, and Spurs struggled to get into the game.
As the second half went on, Spurs got better and better. They began to pin Liverpool in, and there was a lot of pressure on the Liverpool defence. Every time Liverpool got the ball, they looked for that quick counter attack but lost the ball every time. That ensured more Spurs attacks, and maybe Liverpool could have slowed things down a bit and tried to take control of possession. They didn’t, and to me it felt like a Spurs goal was inevitable.
The goal did come in the end, and it was a rocket from Victor Wanyama that drew Spurs level. The move began as Wanyama picked the ball up in midfield. He played a good ball out to Eriksen on the left, who whipped a good ball into the box. Loris Karius got a good punch on it, sending it outside the box, but when the ball fell to Wanyama he let a thunderous shot go. He absolutely drilled it into the top corner from almost 25 yards, and there was nothing Karius could do about it. There was a bit of focus on Karius after the game, with it being mentioned that he could have caught the ball. Maybe he could have, but he opted to punch it. It was a good punch, as he sent it out of the danger area, and the majority of the time the danger is cleared with a punch like that. It was just an amazing strike, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Spurs had the chance to go 2-1 up when they were awarded a penalty after Harry Kane went down in the box. Kane was offside, and there was barely any contact from the onrushing Karius on him. He chose to go down though, and the referee pointed to the spot. For me, there definitely wasn’t enough contact there to make him go down. I know there was some contact, but I’m not having it. Kane felt the slightest of touches, and decided he’d take the penalty. It shouldn’t have got that far anyway, because he was clearly offside. The assistant even pointed this out to the referee, but he said that if Lovren touched the ball on the way through, the offside doesn’t count. Lovren did touch the ball on the way through, so then Kane wasn’t counted as offside. In that case, the referee made the right decision with the offside, but in my opinion that is an absolutely ridiculous rule. If Kane hadn’t been offside in the first place, Lovren wouldn’t have had to try get a touch on it, and could have let Karius come out to claim it. But it comes down to the rule that the player has to receive the ball before being called offside. I think it’s ridiculous to be honest, and there’s no way it should be seen as onside because Lovren touched it. Even if Kane is onside, I still don’t think there’s enough in it to bring him down, but there you go.
Anyway, it didn’t really matter because Kane missed the penalty. Maybe all the waiting around for a decision played in his mind, and he looked nervous stepping up. He opted to go straight down the middle, but Karius stood firm and palmed it away. The rebound fell to Erik Lamela, but he couldn’t hot the target.
Before the penalty was given, and before Wanyama scored, Dele Alli was booked for diving again. He’s always at it, and it takes a lot away from him. He’s a brilliant player – even if he hasn’t been in great form this season – but the diving and the sly little kicks, stamps and poor tackles from him really give him a poor reputation. I’d love to see him take that away from his game, because it’s stuff we don’t need to see, but that’s probably just how he is. I hate cheats and I hate diving, as most people do. He should be retrospectively banned for the dive, but it doesn’t seem like the FA want to ban players for it. If they want to stamp it out of the game they really have to do more. There’s no deterrent there if you’re only going to get booked for it.
In the end, it looked like Liverpool had won the game when Mo Salah scored his second in added time. He picked the ball up out wide and went at the Spurs defence. There were appeals for a penalty when the ball struck a Spurs players’ arm – Dele Alli I think – but Salah decided to play on. He took it past two defenders before putting it over Lloris, and it looked like Liverpool had won the game. It was another brilliant goal from the Egyptian, he really is something special.
The game wasn’t over yet though, and yet more drama unfolded. Kieran Trippier put a long throw-in into the Liverpool box, and the ball fell close to Virgil van Dijk. As van Dijk tried to clear, he caught Erik Lamela on the back of the leg. Lamela went down, and the referee went to play on. He spotted his assistant waving his flag, and awarded another penalty on his advice. I don’t think this one was a penalty either to be honest. Again, there was contact, but I don’t think there was enough to bring Lamela down. It was soft once again, but Harry Kane stepped up for his second attempt. He didn’t make any mistake this time, sending Karius the wrong way, and the points were shared.
Jurgen Klopp was understandably furious after the game, and he said:
It’s not a penalty. I’ve heard Lamela was offside with one leg, running into Virgil van Dijk. Virgil sees him at the last moment, stops the movement but still touches him. Lamela is already on the way down. The referee says keep on going and the linesman makes the decision. That’s what everybody saw.
It was obviously not his day. The first penalty, it was one of the clearest offside situations I have seen. Unless there’s a new rule. Is there? When the ball left the foot of the Tottenham player, Harry Kane is offside. This situation has never changed. Dejan touched it. My defence put Kane offside, that’s good defending. I don’t know what they discussed this time, I would be really interested what the referee and assistant were saying.
It was not a dive of Lamela. He jumped in the situation, he wanted the contact. He didn’t look back in the situation; he didn’t even look at the ball.
I am angry but I can’t change anything. What’s my job now – to create headlines? To be punished? To pay a fine? If I say what I think, I would pay the biggest fine in world football. That makes absolutely no sense. I have no problem with people making mistakes but, if you don’t see the situation, step aside. At the end I’ve learned something new and now people will think I know nothing about football because I thought it was offside. But the second one, it’s not about who is where. In the 93rd minute you whistle a penalty when you are 100% sure. There were no other incidents in the box apart from the Alli situation. It’s clear in these situations the opposition wants to go down, wants to cause these type of problems.
Mauricio Pochettino didn’t agree with Klopp’s analysis, and he said the match officials “were right in every single decision. Sometimes you complain but, when they are right and show character, I think it is important to recognise and congratulate them, because they have a difficult job.”
I’m not having it to be perfectly honest, and I thought they were quite poor. I don’t think they got either decision right, but what can you do. Liverpool fans will agree with me, but Spurs fans will disagree. It’s a game based on opinions, and I’m just giving mine. I have nothing against Spurs, but Liverpool really deserved to win that game. I suppose they just have to get on with it, and hope that two points dropped don’t come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
I wanted to write about about the Crystal Palace and Newcastle game as well, but I’ve spent too much time on that one and can’t get too far into it unfortunately. They drew 1-1 at Selhurst Park, and it was a decent game. Mohamed Diame scored first, neatly finishing at the back post after everyone missed the ball from a corner. It was very poor defending by Palace. Luka Milivojevic equalised for Palace from a penalty. Palace definitely did enough to win the game, but they couldn’t find a second goal in the end.
That’s all from me for now, but keep an eye on Twitter throughout the day for any news doing the rounds. I hope to talk about the game tonight on there as well, but we’ll see how it goes. Have a good day, and let’s hope Monday is over before we know it.