That's not how it went in my head.
Funny, all Harry Redknapp did the past couple weeks was bitch about how if they couldn't back in the Champions League than it would be a crown of thorns to be in the Europa League, and Thursday nights are Harry's pub night (judging from the look of him, every night is pub night for Harry). And yet, there was Ledley King with new, bionic parts to start a game for the first time since October. And there were Spurs coming out of the blocks with their ears pinned back. 5th doesn't mean anything?
That's a roundabout way of complimenting Tottenham, because they were the better team today. And if they weren't as a whole, then Michael Dawson and King sure were. You wonder how different Spurs's season would have been had Ledley King been made of more than the dreams of poor children. He really is a monster, and the fact that he didn't look out of place after so long off is a tribute to him.
Beyond that central pair, Sandro and Modric, as I think we all feared they might, got the better of Lucas and Spearing. Modric is a wonderful player who can play just about anywhere across the midfield, and ours won't be the last midfield he leaves behind. Nor the first.
And there's Meireles's absence. Just his clever running would have opened up more space, as would his superior set piece delivery. He also would have provided a threat from outside the box, which Lucas and Spearing don't. And his late-runs into the box would have required someone to look out for him, creating openings for others. Spearing may be that one day, but he is not now.
After the first 15 minutes, I thought Liverpool really came into the game. But the fact that I can't recall Carlo Cudicini having a save to make pretty much says it all. It's one thing to have the ball, but Liverpool couldn't do much with it that was defining in any way. Kuyt had one of those games on the wing where nothing really comes off for him, and against a swift Danny Rose his lack of pace and touch was telling. Andy Carroll was just a bit off, which was to be expected after so long out, again. And whatever magic Suarez tried to produce was snuffed out by the axis of death that was Dawson and King today.
Maybe it would have been different if that penalty wasn't given. Seems Pienaar and Flanagan were equally shouldering each other, and they both ended up on the deck. Flanagan certainly didn't barge into his back, in my mind that makes it a 50-50 and thus not a foul. Howard Webb disagrees, as he's wont to do. But when was the last time Pepe saved one of these? That's unfair as all get out, but we could have used that today.
It's not all over yet, though. With Birmingham still in hot relegation five-way action and Spurs's habits of being goofy at home, they could still biff it. But I was sure this was going to be all wrapped up today. The fact that Ledley King probably won't play for like a year now after this is going to sting.