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Liverpool (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 24th May 2009

 
 

The last game of the season has come all too soon, now that Spurs are gathering points in May. A journey to Anfield and against a side who have just been deprived of a Premier League title that they so desperately seek, does not really hold much promise, but Tottenham are a different side now and even though they are one of two sides to have beaten Liverpool this season, this side is stiffer at the back and has a good chance of opening up opposition defences with good passing and movement.

When in full flight that applies to Liverpool too, so it should be some game if both sides play to their potential.

At one point, it looked like Spurs might be going into this game needing points to stay up rather than a win giving them an outside chance of European football.  It is testament to the way that Harry Redknapp has galvanised the players into playing for him in a way that Juande Ramos failed to.

Going to Liverpool without Huddlestone, Bent, Palacios and O'Hara limits the choices to take part, but the Lennon (if fit), Jenas, Zokora, Modric axis should do well, while the back four picks itself, which means Alan Hutton will miss out, unless Woodgate fails to overcome his groin strain.

With danger men Torres and Gerrard perhaps the most obvious men to watch, personally, I think Xabi Alonso is an integral part of the Liverpool side.  His movement and the accuracy of his passing make him a player who keeps the Reds moving forward and he has a great shot from a dead ball or a moving one from any distance.

Pepe Reina is in line to challenge Edwin van der Sar for the most clean sheets in the PL, while Carragher is a doughty defender in front of him, but one who often gets on the score-sheet for Spurs.  Martin Skrtel partners him with a good understanding and the Spurs forwards will need to try and pull them around to make an impact, while Arbeloa, Doessena or Aurelio will fill the full back slots, where Modric and Lennon will hope to give them a tricky time.

Alongside Alonso and Gerrard in midfield will be either Benayoun, Riera or Mascherano.  Most likely Riera and Babel will be on the bench to keep the midfield fairly narrow, with either Kuyt or Benayoun moving wide to stretch Spurs across the midfield.  Kuyt is an un-sung hero of the Liverpool side, as he works tirelessly and doesn't perhaps score as many as he should, but makes space for others and is difficult to pick up.

Robbie Keane will want o prove a point to the Liverpool management, while the Reds will want o put on a show in front of their own fans to display to them that next season will be another chance to challenge at the very top of the table again.

I think that is Tottenham can hold Torres in check, then a draw is a possibility ...

 

PREDICTION : -  Liverpool   1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 
 
PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

LIVERPOOL  :  -  Philip Degen (groin); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Tom Huddlestone (knee); Wilson Palacios (compassionate leave); Darren Bent (knee); Jamie O'Hara (knee); Adel Taarabt (knee); Michael Dawson (ankle); Aaron Lennon (groin); - (-); 

 
 
Coverage

TV
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Sunday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.20 - 23.50 (highlights)   Also available online.
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here
.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

 
 
 

Li

 

Liverpool   3   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Anfield
Sunday 24th May 2009
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   43,937
Referee :  Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Kop end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Sunny, warm
Teams : - 
Liverpool :

25  Reina

23  Carragher
  5  Agger
37  Skrtel
12  Aurelio

20  Mascherano
14  Alonso
  8  Gerrard (  4  Hyypia 84)
15  Benayoun 
18  Kuyt (11  Riera 66)

  9  Torres   (24  Ngog 78)

Unused subs: 
  1  Cavalieri
21  Lucas
22  Insua
27  Degen

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton    (o.g.)
22  Corluka
26  King
32  Assou-Ekotto

14  Modric
  4  Zokora
  8  Jenas (  5  Bentley 40)
  3  Bale (10  Bent 78)

25  Defoe (  9  Pavlyuchenko 70)
15  Keane  

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
16  Gunter
18  Campbell
21  Chimbonda

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Liverpool

Torres 31
Hutton (o.g.) 64
Benayoun 81

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 77

Cards : -  
Liverpool

    
   

    

Tottenham Hotspur 

    
Corluka (foul)    

     

Match Report : -  
Perhaps it was the sunshine, the less than walking pace of play or the chants fro Sami Hyypia's last appearance for Liverpool that made this seem like a bit of a meaningless pre-season friendly, but for Tottenham, there was still the dubious prize of a place in the Europa League and for Liverpool the runners-up spot in the table.  So, it was an odd game played in fits and starts, but one in which the strong home side won 3-1 over the depleted Spurs team, who had some good possession, but too often gave it away too easily.

Perhaps this game showed a few things.  One, as Harry claims, we are a way away from the top three or four in the division.  Two, that we need a few players to bolster the squad and three, we need to be more assured in our play.

Unfortunately, it showed that shorn of a few first team regulars in Palacios, Woodgate and Lennon, Tottenham lacked confidence and threat.  When they got the ball, there was a slow build-up that highlights the need for Aaron Lennon's pace to inject some urgency into the attack, while Luka Modric was perhaps showing some of the rigours of a Premier League season that were there last week against Manchester City.  Some of his play was very good, when he was running with the ball, but today (as last Saturday), his passing was not always as acute as it usually is.

It seems that penalty at Old Trafford has affected the way Tottenham are playing, with a return to the post League Cup win of last season.  Liverpool always seemed a yard quicker and more willing to move for the ball.  Tow chance sin the first five minutes, with Gerrard landing an effort from outside the box on the roof of the net as it fizzed over Gomes' bar and then Benayoun getting his shot higher than that from about five yards out when a corner fell to him.

It took 20 minutes for Spurs to get something on target and it was the unlikely presence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto who hit a long range shot at Reina, who took two goes to get hold of the ball.  Just before the 30 minute mark, Jermaine Jenas went down after having made a tackle and he had to leave the action ten minutes later, with David Bentley coming on to replace him.  With 50 minutes, you hoped the summer signing might show what Spurs had been missing while he was out of the side, but while he put some good crosses into good areas, he failed to pick out a Tottenham head on a number of occasions and sometimes seemed to run into dead ends without looking up to see where his team-mates were. 

It was just after Jenas' injury that Kuyt put in a cross and Torres lost King and got in behind Hutton to head home off the underside of the crossbar to give Liverpool the lead.  The game was being battled out in midfield, but a long through ball from Ledley King a few minutes before the break found Jermain Defoe running through unmarked, with only Reina to beat.  Unfortunately, as he tried to lob him, the Spanish keeper blocked his effort as he came out to the edge of the area.  Back at the other end, Yossi Benayoun made himself enough space to get a shot away and was unlucky to see it curl a couple of feet wide of Gomes' far post.

The second half started with Liverpool attacking in much the same style as the first 45 minutes.  Only Ledley's intervention prevented Fernando Torres sliding Gerrard's pass on goal, but King stretched out a leg to divert it for a corner.  After eleven minutes, Spurs got a rare free-kick on the edge of the area and it was Gareth Bale who hit his shot to the side that Reina was standing, but again, it took two goes to get hold of the ball, with Defoe closing in on the loose ball. 

When Liverpool put their passes together, they produced a lot of problems for Tottenham and in the 64th minute, one such passage of play gave Kuyt a shooting opportunity in the area and as Gomes went down to cover the shot, Hutton got a foot to it and diverted it over the Spurs keeper, with the effort seemingly going wide.  This was a throw-back to earlier in the season, when everything flew past Gomes, usually via a Spurs leg or body, as they tried to block it.

While Liverpool were good value for their 2-0 lead, they had a number of chances to get to that score.  They also failed to take the many more to open up a bigger margin which might have deprived Tottenham of eighth place.  Gerrard took a pass on his chest and turned past Assou-Ekotto, leaving him free a couple of feet from the dead ball line and about four yards wide of the goal on the right.  He quickly hit a shot across Gomes and beat him, but not the post, seeing the ball bounce out.  He had another go, shooting a yard wide, Riera snuck an effort through a crowd of players to miss by a foot and Xabi Alonso fires a shot that Gomes had to move his feet to get into a position to push it out as it looked as though it might go in at the top corner.

Defoe made way for Pavlyuchenko and within a few minutes, Tottenham had stunned the generally quiet Anfield crowd into silence with a 77th minute goal.  Modric played a ball over the square Reds defence and Keane was through on goal all alone.  As Reina came towards him, the Spurs captain shaped to shoot to the keeper's left, but sent him the wrong way and buried his shot into the bottom right hand corner of the Liverpool goal.  As is his usual policy of not celebrating goals against his former employers, he walked away and this, rather than the goal I assume, brought him applause from the home supporters.

Harry was ready to go for the win and brought on Bent for Bale, but apart from two headers, one from just inside the are and one from just outside the six yard box - both of which failed to hit the target, he failed to have much impact.  Then, just four minutes after being back in the game, Spurs were out of it.  King lost the ball as he tried to dribble it out and then Zokora had it taken off him, leaving Gerrard to thread a pass through the remainder of the Tottenham defence and Benayoun hit a low drive that Gomes got his knee to, but his angle allowed just enough room for the ball to still sneak home and make it 3-1.

The home crowd were making more noise calling for Hyypia to come on than for anything else in their play and even when Corluka brought down Gerrard as he went through, the award of just  ayellow card failed to stir them.  Perhaps they realised that Carragher should have been shown one when he went through on Assou-Ekotto a little earlier in the game.  Anyway, Gerrard fancied his chances from the dead ball, but could only hit it wide like his other efforts, this one by a foot.  Riera went close again and when the Finn finally came on, he almost marked his Anfield farewell with a goal from a corner, when his header was blocked on the line by a combination of Gomes and Assou-Ekotto.

The final whistle came as a relief, but the cheers from the Liverpool support at last overwhelmed the Spurs singing, which had rung around the ground for most of the 90 minutes, with "When The Spurs Go Marching In" being a particular favourite.

The end of a curious season that started with such promise and ended with relief, but also one which could have been even better.  One thing is for sure, that without Harry Redknapp, Spurs could have been where Newcastle were before the last game kicked off and with a game at Anfield usually ending up ion only one result, it would have been a tough ask to get anything when we needed it.

With such a "big club" ( The tabloids) as Newcastle United being relegated, it should send a message to all other clubs that without a proper structure in place, both behind the scenes and in the management of the team, things can soon turn into a shambles and end up in Geordie tears.

I don't think Spurs are far off being a top six club, but we have been here so many times before.  Will it be different this summer, when the club has a chance to build on what is in place ?

That's a question we all want the right answer to.

 

PETE STACHIO

 

RE

 
 

Reaction : -

 
 

RED RAGGED

 
 
It was a generally untidy performance by Spurs.  There seemed like an acceptance that we wouldn't get anything out of the game and that with only the hindrance to Harry of a Europa League place should we manage to win and Fulham lose to Everton (which did happen), then, there was not a great deal to play for.

Ledley looked shaky at times and was at fault for the third goal, with some culpability for the first with Hutton.  The second was not Hutton's fault, as he was trying to stop it ... but it was going wide and it was one of those goals only we manage to concede.

Keane took his goal expertly and if only Defoe had been a couple of yards further out earlier on, he might have had space to get the ball up and over Reina.

I am not sure what Harry thought of the performances of those fringe players who featured.  Zokora ran around with little aim, Bentley showed a little endeavour, but little quality in his crossing and Hutton was athletic down the right, but little came from it.  Bale showed some nice touches and a good free-kick, but ended up on the losing side again.

The end to a season, which could have been summed up by this performance.  Not bad, but need to do better !!

STIRLING PERFORMANCE

 
   
 
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Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 4 Stoke City 1 Sunday
Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 0 West Bromwich Albion 0 Sunday
Fulham 0 Everton 2 Sunday
Hull City 0 Manchester United 1 Sunday
Manchester City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Sunday
Sunderland 2 Chelsea 3 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 1 Portsmouth 0 Sunday
West Ham United 2 Middlesbrough 1 Sunday

   

 

League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 38 28 6 4 68 24 90 +44
2 Liverpool 38 25 11 2 77 27 86 +50
3 Chelsea 38 25 8 5 68 24 84 +44
4 Arsenal 38 20 12 6 68 38 72 +30
5 Everton 38 17 12 9 55 37 63 +18
6 Aston Villa 38 17 11 10 54 48 62 +6
7 Fulham 38 14 11 13 39 33 53 +6
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 38 14 9 15 44 44 51 0
9 West Ham United 38 14 9 15 42 45 51 -3
10 Manchester City 38 15 5 18 58 50 50 +8
11 Wigan Athletic 38 12 9 17 34 45 45 -12
12 Stoke City 38 12 9 17 38 55 45 -17
13 Bolton Wanderers 38 11 8 19 41 53 41 -12
14 Portsmouth 38 10 11 17 38 57 41 -19
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 10 11 17 40 60 41 -20
16 Sunderland 38 9 9 20 34 54 36 -20
17 Hull City 38 8 11 19 39 64 35 -25
18 Newcastle United 38 7 13 18 40 59 34 -19
19 Middlesbrough 38 7 11 20 28 57 32 -29
20 West Bromwich Albion 38 8 8 22 36 67 32 -31

 

Position before the match :  8th
Position after the match :

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