clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Deconstructing Liverpool's Opener vs. Spurs

Some smart interplay on Liverpool's left side created the first goal of the afternoon, continuing the positive impact that Philippe Coutinho has had since arriving in January.

Michael Regan

Liverpool have scored some terrific goals this season, both from fairly direct punts and something that people like to call tiki-taka. Saying that out loud makes me feel too pretentious, though, so we'll just say that Liverpool sometimes pass their way into a goalscoring position and then manage to finish it off with a shot that goes into the goal. There, much better.

Sunday afternoon produced one of their prettiest goals of the season, probably nudging just past the pass-pass-pass-pass-shot that Jose Enrique finished off against Swansea a few weeks ago as the tiki-takiest(?) goal they've managed since their newest Spanish manager arrived. It was a stunning effort from start to finish, and one that's deserving of an extended look.

Glen Johnson carried possession in from a deeper position on Liverpool's right, but rather than choosing to play the ball up the pitch on the turf, he opted to punt it forward diagonally, where Philippe Coutinho was more or less on his own. Also, I just realized that "Diagon Ally" from Harry Potter is just the word "diagonally." I don't know that this changes anything from a goalscoring perspective, but it's certainly something.


Kyle Walker didn't have a particularly wonderful day, but he's not in an awful position here, as Coutinho tracks down Johnson's long pass and eventually turns his back towards Tottenham's goal. For the meantime that more or less kills Liverpool's break.


Or it doesn't. That blur of biceps and red just beyond a backheeling Coutinho is Jose Enrique, who's smartly followed play up the pitch and streaks into the space Walker vacated by closing down Liverpool's young Brazilian. We know that Enrique would prefer to be streaking in the truest sense of the word, but it's serviceable enough here, clothes and all, even though the neat pass is slightly underhit.

Enrique has to slow his run to latch onto Coutinho's pass, and yet again, it looks as though Liverpool's chance is gone. Tottenham have recovered well, with Moussa Dembele tracking Enrique down the flank and Walker able to recover after getting so tight on Coutinho.


After playing it back to Coutinho it really does look as though regrouping is the only option for Liverpool. They've got Sturridge on the far side, Enrique's got both Dembele and Walker in front of him, and Suarez has his path to goal blocked by Jake Livermore. If Coutinho follows the instruction of Suarez, it's a cross-field pass and hope for a win in the air at best.


Unfortunately for Spurs, both Dembele and Walker lose track of Enrique, and with Livermore committed so closely to Suarez, it leaves plenty of space for a run from the Spanish left-back. It still requires an excellent pass from Coutinho, but the winger makes no mistake, looking centrally before cutting back through the narrow space between Enrique and Livermore.


For the third time in a matter of seconds, at least in the freeze-frame, the move looks dead. Coutinho's firmly out of the picture after his sharply-hit pass is stalled by Enrique, and the only options are for a cross/shot across the face of goal in hopes that Daniel Sturridge can get on the end, or that Luis Suarez makes a well-timed run beyond a stagnant Spurs defense and that Enrique bends a weighted ball into his path.




Small window in the bottom corner to beat an onrushing Hugo Lloris, sure, but Suarez doesn't blink, flicking underneath Lloris at the near post with what's probably the best touch of the entire move and giving Liverpool a 1-0 lead in the process.

Canada was happy!


Latin America was happy! So happy they conspired to deny Daniel Sturridge a chance on goal, or at least that's what the commentator on my stream said, so it must be a fact.

And the moving picture for the sweetness of it all in one fell swoop:


Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liverpool Offside Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Liverpool FC news from Liverpool Offside