Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

Essays, Player Reviews, Scouting Reports, Events, Match Reviews, Statistics and Things of no Importance

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Liverpool FC 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Well it looked as though the players on the pitch were having just as torrid of a time as I was controlling their body temperatures in the killer heat in Baltimore today. The cloud coverage, which was few and far between, provided little relief from the humidity and the sky-high temperatures; something I am not used to coming from the frigid state of Washington. The boys still worked hard to put on a show and for many of them, merely showing up did the trick. Liverpool fans outnumbered Spurs supporters by about 4:1 and they were thrilled even by the likes of Andy Carroll, a player who fails to impress me still. Nonetheless, we were dazzled by the incredible talent of some of the young players both teams put on to the pitch. Nearly every single man was rotated in or out at some point in the game, partly for the entertainment of the 42,000 or so fans who had braved the temperatures, and partly because the boys were simply not conditioned for the heat.

The first half was a total snoozer. Tottenham in particular had fielded a Premier League quality side (meaning one that you would expect to see on match day one of the season) and Liverpool gave some of their most loved players a start as well. Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher were particularly popular and received a warm welcome from the fans as did regular Liverpool players Spearing, Flanagan and Jonjo Shelvey. Joe Cole and Jose Enrique were also welcomed and a fresh young face, Adam Morgan, was starting up top for the Reds. The young striker, who netted his first for Liverpool against Toronto last week, made some impressive runs and made a huge effort to check to the ball (if I were playing in that heat I would have made any excuse to NOT move). He had one of Liverpool's two goal attempts in the first half, making a great run down the wing, beating his man and facing only the Spurs keeper Brad Friedel. Unfortunately for the youngster, his near post shot was saved. Many of the people around me shouted "far post!!!!" but from where I sat, a far post shot at that angle was something only the ballsiest of strikers would have attempted.
Spurs fans certainly had something to cheer about as well, and it wasn't because their side had any more efforts on goal. Their starlet Gareth Bale started, donning his new number nine kit, and regular defenders such as Kaboul and Assou-Ekotto and center midfielders Jenas and Livermore were also in the starting eleven. New signing from Swansea, Icelandic playmaker Sigurdsson, also got a run around against the club he had been rumored to transfer to this summer after it was announced that his former manager was to take over at Liverpool. The former Swansea co-workers were not reunited in the end and Liverpool fans made it known that they were not happy with Sigurdsson's decision to pick London over Merseyside.With about two shots each taken the entire half, the two teams looked drained when they went in for the break. The stadium nearly emptied as well as the fans went to enjoy the shade and buy cold drinks. 
The second half was much more pacey. Both Liverpool and Tottenham introduced some promising young starlets to the lineup as well as new signings they've made in the transfer window. Tottenham put on Jan Vertonghen, a Belgian defensive player whom they signed at the same time as Sigurdsson while Liverpool put on their new striker Fabio Borini, a 21-year-old Italian striker who hardly showed the entire game. The standout players of the second half were the #31's for both sides. For Tottenham, it was Andros Townsend, a 21-year-old winger who has shone at the U18 and U21 international level. Liverpool put on their eighteen-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, whom they got a glimpse of in the closing games of last season. Both players demonstrated incredible speed and touch on the wing and fantastic vision for their age. They definitely added some much-needed spark to the match, which for the first half was played through the midfield and lacked the spark and pace. 
In the end, 0-0 was the final result with neither side coming terribly close to taking the win. It was a good transition from summer vacation into the season for the boys, who will surely enjoy the mild English weather when they return home for the start of the new EPL campaign. 

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