Just a week, but what a difference it has made, it is a seven point week
for Tottenham under new manager Harry Redknapp, who oversaw this 2-1 win
over Liverpool with another great comeback.
With the Scousers top and Tottenham bottom,
you might have thought a red win was a foregone conclusion, but things
are not that simple any more. While Liverpool had the
opportunities to score more than the one that they got in the opening
minutes, it was the chance taking of the Spurs players that won the day.
Before the game had drawn breath,
Liverpool were ahead. From a throw-in that Benoit Assou-Ekotto
failed to reach, Robbie Keane slipped in Dirk Kuyt on the right hand
side of the goal and his ferocious shot beat Gomes from a narrow angle
in the second minute. It was a blow after the last two results and
one which looked to have stunned Tottenham for a while.
Heurelho Gomes just about got to a cross
to beat it away for a corner, then produced a reflex save, as a low ball
into the near post from a corner saw Bent slice the ball towards his own
goal and hit the post. As the ball bounced off the woodwork, the
Brazilian goalie managed to keep the ball out. It took until
halfway through the first half for Spurs to get a decent threat on the
Liverpool goal, with Bentley taking Modric's long pass on the volley and
knocking it back for Corluka to swing in a cross into the six yard box,
which no white shirt was on the end of. It was five minutes before
half time that Pepe Reina was called on to make a save, when Modric
drove a low shot through some defenders legs and the Spanish keeper got
down to it well and palmed it away.
Just before the break, we saw a decision
that was one of many that Phil Dowd got wrong today. Steven
Gerrard dived in two-footed on Modric and it was nothing short of a red
card, as shown to Michael Dawson at Stoke and to Didier Zokora last
season at Manchester City. but because he is Gerrard and plays for
Liverpool, he only got a yellow card. And the Liverpool number 7
constantly backed into our defenders without getting a free-kick given
against him for most of the time, but last season that earned a
free-kick against Spurs. Funny how the top three get most of the
Luckily, the referee does not influence
substitutions. Harry's half-time reshuffle saw Hutton on for
Assou-Ekotto and Pavlyuchenko on for O'Hara. A more comfortable
4-4-2 formation was adopted, but the changes disrupted the shape of the
side, whereas they were just about holding their own in the latter
stages of the first half and Liverpool enjoyed their best spell of the
Three quick chances came Liverpool's way
and they failed to take any of them. Kuyt and then Gerrard both
had shots blocked on the edge of the area, with the latter's coming off
King's elbow as he turned his back on the ball and it popped up for
Gomes to react well to touch it onto the post. Luckily, Woodgate
was on hand to clear. Five minutes later and Heurelho showed the
less acceptable side of his game, when he played a pass with his feet to
Ledley, who was five yards away and the ball didn't make it. Keane
laid it into the path of Gerrard on the right hand corner of the box and
his chip hit the bar and bounced away.
It was another let off for Spurs and much
as it was poor defending, that was also the cause of the next opening,
with Arbeloa's low right wing cross flicked on by Keane to Kuyt at the
far post and although stretching, he could only volley wide. A
free-kick from Gerrard then found Alonso at the far post and he had a
free header, but failed to get it on target from a yard out and he hit
the side netting. Even then, Gerrard could have made it 2-0 as a
Keane overhead kick dropped kindly for the England midfielder and he
curled a shot just wide, although it flicked off a team-mate.
Those chances plus the subsequent
substitution of Robbie Keane by Ryan Babel made by Benitez gave
Tottenham a bit of hope. Babbel failed to trouble the Tottenham
defence in the way Keane had and Carragher picked up a yellow card for a
cynical foul on Modric, with Kuyt lucky to escape the same fate for a
similar foul earlier in the Croat's run.
While it had seemed Liverpool would be
the more likely team to score. it was Spurs who equalised in the 69th
minute. When a decent ball came in from a corner by David Bentley,
Ledley King rose to head the ball goal-wards at the near post, but
unfortunately, he was beaten to it by Jamie Carragher, who headed down
and across the goalkeeper, just as you are taught to. Luckily for
Spurs, Carragher's third own goal in this fixture down the years made it
At the Spurs end, Huddlestone threw
himself in the way as an Alonso volley looked destined for goal and the
Tottenham captain Ledley King was given a booking for jumping at the
ball when Reina had thrown it out of his hands to kick. As the
goalie had no control over the ball and King did not touch him, I fail
to see where the offence was. Mr. Dowd did and continued his three
bookings a game average.
When Tommy looked up and saw Roman alone
at the far post, it seemed that his ball would provide a goal-scoring
chance, but it was just too long for the Russian and he could not
stretch to control it. and then, with ten minutes to go, Reina had a
rush of blood and came flapping for a cross, which dropped to
Pavlyuchenko and he tried to cut inside to hit a shot into the roof of
the net, but in fact, he blazed it over as a defender closed him down.
It took a few minutes for another chance
to fall to Pav, but when it did, he took it neatly. Scoring goals
would only be a question of time and he seems to have settled in with
the squad well now and probably has sorted some of his domestic
arrangements out too. As the ball was worked down the left,
Bentley cut inside Arbeloa and cracked a fierce shot at goal.
Reina got a hand to it and deflected it wide of the goal. but it was
kept alive by Darren Bent and he showed good calm play in pulling it
back from the by-line to the near post, where Roman turned it into the
90 minutes on the clock and 2-1 to Spurs.
Four minutes of injury time to be played, as Razor Ruddock watched on
after making the half-time raffle draw, it must have been as
nerve-racking as playing.
Babel scuffed a shot wide off a defender,
then clattered into Gomes to conceded a free-kick, while a couple of
passes into the Spurs box were cleared away or were too long in the
Liverpool haste to retrieve the lost points. With the final
whistle a cheer as loud as nay on Wednesday greeted an unlikely win, but
then nothing is straight forward with Tottenham Hotspur !!