EPL Super Sunday: Liverpool's Campaign Begins With A Defeat to Spurs!

Salaar Shamsi@SalaarizationSenior Writer IAugust 16, 2009

Folks, if Saturday managed to spring about a few surprises, Sunday wasn't to be outdone either.

The first Sunday of the new English Premier League had two games being played, Manchester United hosted Birmingham City in the early kickoff while Liverpool travelled to Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United began their Premier League defense without several key defenders including Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Rafael Da Silva, and Nemanja Vidic, which meant Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to pair Jonny Evans with John O'Shea at the heart of United's defense.

Wayne Rooney partnered Dimitar Berbatov upfront while new signing Luis Antonio Valencia made his league debut for the Red Devils.

Birmingham had defensive problems of their own as Giovanni Espinoza, Scott Dann and Liam Ridgewell were all missing due to injuries.

Alex McCleish handed a debut to Scottish midfielder, Barry Ferguson while Ecuadorian striker, Christian "Chucho" Benitez looked on from the bench.

Cameron Jerome headed the attack on his own and was occasionally joined by James McFadden, Keith Fahey, and Sebastian Larsson.

United constantly troubled Birmingham's defense in the first half as Wayne Rooney's fierce strike was denied by the finger tips of on-loan Manchester City keeper Joe Hart in the opening minutes of play at Old Trafford.

Nani had a golden chance to put the Red Devils ahead minutes later but the Portuguese winger made a mess of Patrice Evra's cut back sending the ball into the stands.

Valencia tried to impress the Old Trafford faithful but failed to have any real impact on the game.

United eventually broke the deadlock when Darren Fletcher's long ball found Nani on the left wing, Nani's cross was met by Wayne Rooney, in the six yard area. Rooney's header teasingly rebounded after striking Joe Hart's post but Rooney was prepared and neatly tucked the rebound into the net, providing United, a much deserved lead in the 34th minute of play.

Birmingham came close when Frank Quedrue's header was saved off the line by Patrice Evra.

United lead the Blues going into the break but Birmingham came close to finding an equaliser after the interval when Cameron Jerome's long range effort went inches wide of Ben Foster's goal.

Foster also made a sensational save to deny substitute Christian Benitez late in the second half as United held on to take the three points.

Micheal Owen failed to score on debut despite being put one-on-one with Hart by Rooney's cheeky play-on.

Tottenham Hotspur played host to Liverpool at White Hart Lane and Harry Redknapp chose to leave new signing Peter Crouch on the bench against his former club.

Robbie Keane, though, led Spurs against the Reds, after his return to White Hart Lane from Anfield last season.

Liverpool started with Fernando Torres upfront, Steven Gerrard just behind him and the Dutch duo of Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel assisting the Spaniard from the flanks.

It wasn't too long before Liverpool started missing Xabi Alonso, who left for Real Madrid earlier this month.

His replacement Alberto Aquilani still faces time on the sidelines.

Lucas and Javier Mascherano were paired together in midfield in Alonso's absence and Liverpool appeared to be missing an air of creativity.

The only spark or two provided to the Reds were by new signing Glen Johnson, who caused problems for the Spurs defense whenever he charged up the right wing.

Surprisingly enough, it appeared Fernando Torres never came to the party. The Spaniard looked a little rusty, perhaps, still settling into the new season.

Spurs took a deserved lead in the first half when Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired in an unstoppable strike after Tom Huddlestone's freekick had struck the Liverpool wall.

Wilson Palacios was absolutely brilliant in the Spurs' midfield while Luka Modric, Tom Huddlestone, and Aaron Lennon had an equally good outing.

Robbie Keane missed out on not one, but two fantastic chances to score against his former club.

His header from a brilliant Modric cutback was expertly saved by Pepe Reina, who denied him again minutes later when he tried to apply the finishing touches to an Aaron Lennon through ball.

After the interval, Liverpool levelled the scores when Glen Johnson was unsportingly brought down by Gomes in the box and Steven Gerrard blasted the resulting spotkick into the roof of the net to give Liverpool, a much-needed equaliser.

The Reds fell behind again minutes later, when debutant Sebastian Bassong headed Modric's freekick passed Reina into the back of the net and White Hart Lane went up in a roar.

Yossi Benayoun came on for Ryan Babel and Peter Crouch replaced Robbie Keane to make his Spurs debut but the North Londoners held on to collect all three points.

Phil Dowd controversially turned down Liverpool's claims for a penalty after Assou-Ekotto appeared to have handled the ball in the area, but replays showed the touch was unintentional.

Spurs were brilliant, they created a lot of chances and deserved the win.

A horrible start, then, to Liverpool's title chase on the opening weekend but all of the other members of the Big Four—Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United—began their respective campaigns with victories.

Manchester City also got their campaign off to a winning start with Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland scoring in a 2-0 away victory against Blackburn Rovers.

That's a wrap, folks!

Here's Legendary Salaar (TM) signing off, saying, "Thank God, the Premier League is back!"


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