As Jay Rodriguez danced through an almost nonexistent Liverpool midfield and shrugged off Lucas Leiva’s feeble challenge before finishing past Brad Jones at the second attempt, he consigned Brendan Rodgers to a ninth defeat of his debut season at Anfield.
It was to be the final defeat of his first year at Liverpool but one that emphasised the failure to learn from mistakes that had defined it. Liverpool lined up in a 4-2-4 that day, as Rodgers attempted to blitz through Southampton by shoehorning Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez into the starting XI and pairing Steven Gerrard in midfield with a half-fit Joe Allen.
Beware the Ides of March. It resulted in a miserable 3-1 defeat, with the away side overrun in the middle and overworked by Mauricio Pochettino’s high-pressing style.
England arrived in Perth 2-0 down, having been obliterated in Brisbane by 277 runs and succumbing to final day jitters in Adelaide as their batsmen collapsed to 129 all out, en route to a six-wicket defeat.
The tourists recalled Monty Panesar and Sajid Mahmood in place of Ashley Giles and James Anderson, with the spinner making an immediate impact, taking five for 92 as Australia were bowled out for 244. Steve Harmison also returned to form, taking four wickets after harrowing match figures of one for 288 in the first two Tests.
The hosts gained a 29-run first-innings lead however as England crumbled to 215 all out, with only Kevin Pietersen passing 50. By the end of play on day two, Australia were looking ominous as they reached 119 for one, and an overall lead of 148.
Three points separate Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the table as the Premier League prepares to enter its energy-sapping and momentum-swinging festive period. Both top-four pretenders have won two league games in a row and they meet at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon. Yet despite the minute differences, they are separated by a chasm of perception.
Tottenham, goal-shy and lacking a leading edge, have supposedly lurched from crisis to crisis, with the manager André Villas-Boas apparently on the brink of his losing his job just a fortnight ago before winning three of the next four in all competitions. By comparison, Brendan Rodgers’ team have been free scoring in steamrollering the bottom half of the Premier League and sit in second place, just five points shy of Arsenal.
Victory for the home side on Sunday, however, will see them draw level with their rivals, although the eight-goal swing required to see Spurs leapfrog Liverpool is unlikely. Should Tottenham prevail, a glance at the festive fixture list suggests they may pull away, with the Reds facing trips to Manchester City and Chelsea between Christmas and new year.