December 1, 2010
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Yet another great result, and yet another comeback! An incredibly open game, in which both sides missed many chances (including a penalty). Liverpool created plenty of good chances – getting themselves into one-on-one situations on three occasions – but scored their only goal from a scruffy free-kick.
Raul Meireles chips a ball in towards the corner of the 6-yard box. Spurs have six defenders against four Liverpool attackers.Martin Skrtel is the obvious target, and so Crouch is given a man-to-man job on him. Crouch is the player furthest forward in this shot and, as you can see (and can see much more clearly in the video, linked above), Skrtel gets a run on him, which is the easiest way to lose Crouch in these situations.
Having made the run across Crouch, Skrtel easily gets to the flight of the ball first, and looks to head it back towards Kuyt, who is totally unmarked (left of the picture, having dropped off away from Bassong).
However, the ball hits David N’Gog on the back…
…and falls perfectly for Skrtel. Palacios is a little flat-footed in getting to it, but he does enough to make it difficult for Skrtel, as do Gallas and Bassong, who are in decent positions to make a block (more on them later).
Skrtel is quick to react and, despite the defenders closing on him, he gets his shot away.
It’s only a toe-poke, but it’s beyond Gomes before he can see it.
Liverpool got a bit lucky with the the rebound, but it was a decent ball from Meireles, and Skrtel will argue that he made his own luck with his run across Crouch. From a defensive point of view, Crouch should be staying goal-side – he’s normally great at defending similar situations, but is usually asked to clear from a standing start, and he is vulnerable when players are able to run off him. If Liverpool had noticed this and planned accordingly, then fair play to them.
One thing also worth mentioning is the way in which Torres gets away from Gallas. Watch the video again, and focus solely on the Torres/Gallas battle. Torres’ movement is excellent, but Gallas, strangely if you as me, just lets him run, and expects Bassong to pick him up (leaving Kuyt free). If the ball had fallen to Kuyt or Torres, I’d have been pointing the finger at Gallas.