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Preview Spurs v Liverpool, 27.04.02

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Liverpool


Premier     Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home         9   4   3   2   14 -13  15
Away        10   1   2   7    9 -23   5
========================================
Total(Prem) 19   5   5   9   23 -36  20
========================================
Football Lge
Home(Div 1) 49  24  10  15   71 -58  62
Away(Div 1) 49   4  14  31   38 -95  24
========================================
Total(Div 1)98  28  24  46  109 -153 86
========================================
Total(Prem) 19   5   5   9   23 -36  20
Total(Div 1)98  28  24  46  109 -153 86
========================================
Grand Total 117 33  29  55  122 -189 106
========================================

Long gone are the days when the Park Lane or Paxton Road terraces (both were used for the visitors at one time or another) were awash with Liverpool red and white scarves as the Merseyside supporters sang :

"Walk on! Walk on!
With hope in your heart .....
And you'll never walk alone ......
You'll never walk alone ..........
YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE!!!

"Ee-aye-addio LIVERPEWL!

Long gone are the days when there were banners saying "SOME SAY GOD! WE SAY SHANKLY!" Long gone are the days when a wit could write on a poster underneath "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LORD COMETH?" "Move St John to inside left!"!!!

I have always admired the wit of the Scousers and the success of their club. Some of Tottenham's players could usefully sit down and study some of those old Liverpool videos. Why were Liverpool so consistent for so long? I believe it was simply because they drilled their players into believing they were unbeatable PROVIDED THEY SUPPLIED THE SWEAT OF WORK RATE PARTICULARLY OFF THE BALL!

Over the years, I have complained time and time again by the lack of Spurs players who are prepared to support a colleague off the ball. Defence does NOT start with defenders! It starts with Sheringham and Iversen, with whoever is up front, not aimlessly wandering around waiting for the ball to come to you for a chance to make a spectacular strike. Sheringham enjoyed success at Old Trafford : has he wondered why? Say what you like about Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool : they have players who are prepared to chase the ball around. Even Anelka is doing it at Liverpool and we all remember how lazy he was at Highbury!

There have been far too many memories down the years for me to even scratch the surface of Spurs v Liverpool games. The first time I ever saw Liverpool was at Brisbane Road when I travelled there to watch Leyton Orient play Liverpool on 17 March 1962. Both teams were promoted to the First Division that season. As I recall, Orient were the better team that day in the 2-2 draw. Liverpool had missed promotion in each of the preceding six seasons, usually by a point or two. They were very edgy that day. But they kept their nerve and went up as Champions.

The following season, we had to wait until Easter before we played Liverpool. We crashed 5-2 at Anfield but thrashed them 7-2 at Tottenham, with Mr Greaves shredding their defence so much that big Ron Yeats did not know whether he was coming or going.

As I have said before, the FA Cup replay of 1971 is the one that sticks out in my mind most of all the Spurs v Liverpool games I have seen. I remember Ray Clemence played a blinder that night, frustrating Tottenham completely. I still remember Steve Heighway jinking down the wing and scoring the only goal of the match.

But it was the side that Bob Paisley built that turned out to be the best of the Liverpool sides. Who can forget Toshack and Keegan? Or Kenny Dalglish? Alan Hansen was probably the most complete defender of his era. Seemingly slow of pace yet reading the game so well that he was able to anticipate the opposition's thrusts. And Mark Lawrenson was another defender who starred for Liverpool in the latter half of the successful years.

Where did it all go wrong for Liverpool? I think it was probably the twin disasters of Heysel and Hillsborough. I think Liverpool were just beginning to emerge from the trauma of Heysel when they were struck by the disaster at Hillsborough. My views on both disasters are well known. I know the Liverpool fans are no angels but they were certainly not the hooligans the media tried to portray them as. I think Dalglish was traumatised by both events which unbalanced his kindly soul. It is hard to concentrate on things when you are dreaming of both disasters as he undoubtedly was doing so. He was also a trifle too loyal to some of his players instead of getting rid of them as Shankly and Paisley would have done. Souness tried to hurry the pace along, patience never being a virtue with him, which didn't help matters.

But since Houllier took over, I suspect he has gone back to the principles Shankly laid down. That was evident when Houllier was forced to take sick leave from his beloved Anfield this season and Phil (Captain Beaky) Thompson took over. Thompson knows his limitations and knows he will never be a good number 1, preferring to be in the background.

Liverpool need to win tomorrow as Arsenal are four points ahead of them. I think that Tottenham will be found wanting in certain departments but I also think it won't be the walkover that Liverpool fans are probably thinking it will be. I take Liverpool to win 2-1 but it will be a late winner.

Cheers, Brian

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