The scoreline flattered Spurs! Reira hit the bar, Skrtel missed a volley, Deggen turned down a shot, Kuyt miscued 2 tap ins, Ngog had one brilliantly saved. It could easily have been 4/5 (assuming you can never score every chance unless you are Arshavin).
Reina: 7 – Good save from Modric at end of first half, but mix up with Kyriakos could have been costly.
Carragher: 7.5 – Defensively very good and one lung busting sprint in first half set the tone for the Liverpool performance. Well played the Captain.
Skrtel: 7 – Man marked Defoe out of the game but was not always comfortable.
Kyriakos: 8 – Battled Crouch and made it difficult for him. Also popped up in great zone marking situations to pick up runners into the box and prevent opportunities. Could be what’s needed to shore up our leaky defence.
Insua: 6.5 – Not a busy day as he was up against Modric. Stuglled early on how to mark Modric cutting in from the right but did better when he realised it’s not his man when he cuts in (Rafa had a word).
Deggen: 7.5 – Industrious on both ends of the pitch. Was the target of repeated fouls as a result of good pace combined with good close control. Added balance by stretching the field and staying wide.
Lucas: 6.5 – Did enough without ever standing out. Did contribute with some good forward runs to create space for others.
Mascherano: 7.5 – The usual. Was all over destroying anything needing destroying. And had some good distribution and injection of pace into our passing game.
Reira: 7 – Added balance and was goo help in defence after he finally realised HE is meant to cover Modric when he cuts in. Had some neat touches and linked up well with Aquilani and Insua. Almost had a goal to cap up a welcome return to fitness.
Aquilani: 7.5 – Looked more comfortable out of the hustle and bustle of CM. Had some great touches and showed he’s ability to see creative forward passes. Really knitted together the team shape by going to the ball and making great layoffs. No goal threat though.
Kuyt: 8 – Great finish for the goal and super calm for retaken penalty (scored both). Hard work through our and linked up with Aquilani and wide players really well. Should have score 2 more.
Maxi: 6 – Had no impact on the game.
Ngog: 8 – High scored based on the fact he was instantly up to speed and showed trickery to get in on goal after embarrassing Bassong in the box. denied by a great save. Won the penalty (fouled by Bassong) and chased down all over the field during his cameo (not bad for 15min).
Darby: 7.5 – Only played in injury time but still managed to surge into space and provide the pass that lead to the goal (5min of really good work).
Rafa: 8 – Tactically the team was well set up with balance and width (which has been missing of late). went with a man marking scheme for central defence which worked perfectly in stifling one of the best partnerships in the league. The role given Aquilani caused spurs problems as they did not track him in his free role – popped up all over the pitch, including in defence). The substitutions were all good (including the Maxi one, he needs the game time right now). Also was quite aggressive on set pieces sending up the centrebacks even when the score was still 1-0 late on.
The point when he called over Insua to tell him not to be dragged infield by Modric showed he hasn’t lost his eye for the game.
Also worth noting the Kop banner in support of Rafa! He has managed to keep the support of the faithful and based on the display still “has the dressing room”. This is why I can’t believe anything I read in the British press (including the broadsheets). Plus Gerrard laughed at the rumours of him having had a bust up with Pelligrino!
TEAM : 7.5 – Some would say that is a bit harsh but at the end of the day it was a great win from a hard working display. There were definite glimpses of quality but it was not sustained. The confidence was definitely rising throughout.