The very first comment from a reader of this blog following the Manchester City game last month was simply "I'm proud to be a Spurs fan". That statement no doubt reflected not only the way Spurs held their own in the backyard of the Premier League leaders but also how they conducted themselves in the face of thuggery. A repeat performance was required by the team at Anfield on Monday night and was duly delivered. And, unlike at the Etihad, Spurs emerged on this occasion with the point that their display merited.
Liverpool seem hell-bent on a policy of "nobody likes us and we don't care", as exemplified by the loathsome Suarez. How his kick into Scott Parker's midriff - preceded as it was by a sly shove in the back - did not merit a red card is beyond comprehension. At best it was reckless and, at worst, vicious. Of course, it would have taken a brave referee to send off a player who had only been on the field for a matter of minutes following an eight-match suspension. Yet what was even more astonishing was his manager's conjecture that "he should never have been out in the first place".
Although never renowned for his good humour and wit, these days Dalglish seemingly cannot give an interview that is not truculent or dripping with sarcasm. (What a contrast to Parker who, after the final whistle, preferred to simply brush off questions about Suarez's swinging boot). How the attitude of the manager trickles down to the team he puts out is an interesting question, but certainly they too are doing little to win the hearts of the neutrals. Adam appears unable to make a tackle without leaving his foot in, Suarez cannot contain his tedious histrionics, and the Liverpool players feel compelled to get in the face of the referee when a decision goes against them. Given those sort of antics, Spurs deserve praise for sticking to their task on the night.
Having said that, it was a dogged rather than fluent display. Certainly being kicked all over the field is not conducive to playing flowing football, but the chances created were few and far between. The absence of key players was undoubtedly a factor in that, although whether this was a stage for the likes of van der Vaart, even if he had been fit, is open to question. It was unfortunate that Sandro was also unavailable, since he no doubt would have relished the physical challenges on offer. Adebayor did make the starting line-up but - not for the first time in recent weeks - disappointed up front. And when it came time to think about making changes, the Spurs bench had a very thin look about it.
The likes of Lennon, van der Vaart and Defoe should, however, be back to full fitness in the not too distant future. Spurs will need to be at their best for the visit of Newcastle and their potent Senegalese strike force. Hopefully that fixture will produce not only three points but also a game where the focus is on the football.