Liverpool (Home)
Premier League

Sunday 28th November 2010

With Steven Gerrard missing injured on England duty, it will be interesting to see if Liverpool can function as a one man team relying on Fernando Torres, if the media attention is to be believed.

And of course, there is more talent in the Liverpool side than their current season's performances displays.  But Roy Hodgson has finally got them gaining results after a very slow start that saw them in the bottom three for a period of time that was not comfortable for the Reds' fans.

But a few wins on the trot have lifted them to the top half, although Liverpool fans I know claim that their away form is still a major cause for concern, with a defensive attitude employed to try and gain a point, but which isn't working.  Losing at Stoke City and Everton, while drawing with Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic have not been the best results, but they did win 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers, which now looks like a good result.

Goalkeeper Pep Reina has been rumoured to want to move on from the club. but had been performing well this season, as he has done for a few years now.  A great shot-stopper, who is not a confident keeper coming for crosses, Tottenham might employ Peter Crouch with a fit again Jermain Defoe up front to test him with shots and in the air.

He relies a to on his defenders Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel to deal with the aerial stuff around the penalty spot, while he will come for anything nearer that.  It might play into Tottenham's hands, if Crouch can get the knock-downs he has been getting for van der Vaart of Modric to get on the end of.  However, having spent time at Anfield, the central defenders will know how to play Crouch, with a bump here and a nudge there.  With Agger missing, it leaves them slightly short in numbers in the middle of the back four, so Hodgson might favour the more physical presence of Kyrgiakos rather than Skrtel.  The Greek is strong in the air in defence and a danger at set-pieces, which might suit Liverpool's away approach more.

At full back, Hodgson employs former West Ham United men Glen Johnson and Paul Konchesky, who both like to get forward, with the possibility of getting hit on the break, with our fast wide men able to take advantage of any up-field jaunts the defenders might make.  Spurs are the sort of side who can take the game to the other end of the pitch very quickly and while van der Vaart and Jenas might be missing, Modric has taken on the mantle of the mover of the ball in midfield to prompt the forward thrusts of the team. Other options at full back exist for Liverpool, with Fabio Aurelio just coming back from injury after initially being let go in the summer, along with young hopeful Martin Kelly, who has come through the youth ranks and is highly rated.

Midfield will feel the loss of the inspiration of captain Steven Gerrard.  There are players in this part of the team who have failed to live up to the expectations that greeted their signing and among those are Leiva Lucas, Maxi Rodrigues and Ryan Babel and that is why money was spent on toughening up the middle of the side with Raul Meireles came in from Sporting Lisbon and Christian Poulsen from Juventus.  Both players are primarily defensively minded, but have the ability to join in with the attack and were brought in to stiffen up the midfield.  Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, money was also spent on Milan Jovanovic, who has proved not to be the player they thought he might be and has said he wants to quit the club as soon as possible.  Charlton teenager Jonjo Shelvey was bought with an eye to the future, but the shaven headed midfielder has already been drafted in to the first team, with varying levels of success, but he is still finding his feet at this level and the Reds have big hopes for him.

Joe Cole will probably be fit to play in this match after a spell out with a hamstring injury and he is well known to Harry Redknapp, who gave him his start in football at West Ham United.  A player with nimble footwork and a good eye for a pass, he has tricks to beat players and a shot and accuracy with shots to score spectacular goals.  Having spurned Spurs for Liverpool in the summer when he left Chelsea, he might be out to prove he made the right decision by making Tottenham pay on Sunday.  

There is one more option they have available in midfield and that is Spaniard Daniel Pachecho, who doesn't get a look in, although all I hear from Liverpool fans is what a great young player he is.

That only leaves the forwards and one stands out head and shoulders above the others.  Fernando Torres, who might have been less than fit at the start of the season following a World Cup that saw his country lift the trophy in South Africa, but is now looking like the player he has been since signing for the Anfield club.  Strong in the air and on the ball, he has everything a top class striker needs.  Always a threat, wherever he is in the last third, Torres will need the full attention of Gallas and Kaboul during the 90+ minutes.

With young forward David Ngog still in and out in terms of form, it will be Dirk Kuyt who partners Torres and the wily Dutch forward is a creator as well as a scorer, so he cannot be allowed time on the ball or space to pick a pass or run with it.  Ngog is often used from the bench late on to utilise his pace against tiring defences, so Harry might need to use his subs accordingly to counter this threat.

Spurs are starting to get players back from injury (although they are losing others the same way) and the match-day 18 look as strong as most in the Premier League.  With an attacking outlook, they are playing to their strength and other sides either come to stifle or hit on the break.  Liverpool will probably do the latter, but how successfully remains to be seen.

It will be close, but I take Tottenham to edge home ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Liverpool    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (out - groin); Giovani dos Santos (out - groin); Michael Dawson (out - knee and ankle); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Rafael van der Vaart (doubtful - ankle); Jermaine Jenas (out - calf); - (-);  

LIVERPOOL :  - Jay Spearing (out - ankle); Steven Gerrard (out - hamstring); Joe Cole ( hopeful - hamstring); Daniel Agger (out - calf); - (-); 


Sky Sports 2 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.30 (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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   2    Liverpool   1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 28th November 2010
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,962
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (-)
Liverpool kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -   Bitterly cold; dry with some sleet flurries
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
13  Gallas (c)
  4  Kaboul (19  Bassong 20)
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon 
14  Modric
12  Palacios
  3  Bale  ( 81)

11  van der Vaart (18  Defoe 12 [30  Sandro 90+3])

15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
  9  Pavlyuchenko
21  Kranjcar

Liverpool :

25  Reina

  2  Johnson      
23  Carragher (c)        (16  Kyrgiakos  86)
37  Skrtel      (o.g)      
  3  Konchesky      

  4  Meireles      
21  Lucas
17  Maxi  
18  Kuyt

  9  Torres  
24  Ngog  (  6  Aurelio  74)

Unused subs: 
  1  Jones 
28  Poulsen
33  Shelvey 
14  Jovanovic
19  Babel

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Skrtel (o.g.)  65
Lennon 90+2


Skrtel  42

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  





Meireles (foul)  24
Konchesky (foul)  29
Carragher (foul)  40
Skrtel (dissent)  60
Johnson (foul)  88

Match Report : -  
In what is rapidly becoming Tottenham MO, they went behind, only to come back in the second half to grab a 2-1 win that looked unlikely when Jermain Defoe missed a penalty and the referee was having a bit of a mare.  But come back they did and left Liverpool bereft of points to take back on their journey to the frozen North and took themselves into fifth place in the table.

Frankly, this was one of the most open games I have seen this season and both sides could have had more goals.  Spurs had two cleared off the line and Liverpool were robbed of two Torres chances by excellent defending by substitute Bassong, but in the end, the reticence of the visitor's manager to press for a winner cost his side, who, at times, showed a cynical edge that we have only seen from European sides or the lower end of the table coming to the Lane this season.

With Liverpool kicking off, Spurs were pushed back for a couple of minutes, but when they did finally get moving forward, Aaron Lennon took on the Liverpool midfield and ran to the edge of the box, where he ended up stepping on the ball and leaving it behind him.  Within a minute, he was away again, but this time wide on the right, where he pulled the ball back low for Luka Modric, but the midfielder could only dig his shot into the ground and it bounced easily for Reina to catch.

In the ninth minute, Fernando Torres nicked the ball off Hutton on the Liverpool left tight to the dead ball line and pulled it back across goal.  Spurs half-cleared the ball and it dropped to Maxi Rodrigues, who shimmied and made a yard, ending up poking a shot at goal that beat Gomes, but flew about six inches past the post.  It was a wake up call to Spurs and Rafael van der Vaart broke in the box, running form right to left and as he tried to keep the ball in, he went off the pitch and was doubled over the advertising hoardings for a while, before the physio got to him and he walked slowly round the track, indicating that he would take no further part in the match.  Harry Redknapp chose to replace him with Jermain Defoe, which was almost a like-for-like swap, as VDV had been playing just behind Crouch up front.

And Defoe was keen to show how sharp and ready hew as to get back into the action, as Modric's 13th minute cross from the left, despite being under a lot of pressure, found the striker in the box.  Defoe swivelled on a sixpence and hit a volley, but failed to make a good contact on it and it was another straight-forward save for the Liverpool goalie.  Five minutes later in the other goal, Heurelho Gomes was proving his worth, when he got a good hand to a 25 yard shot from Rodrigues after he was set up by Torres. 

A ten minute spell followed, where Spurs ran at the Liverpool defence, who had to resort to some foul tactics to stop the progress the players were making.  There were two bookings for crude tackles on Gareth Bale.  That put Meireles and Konchesky on yellows and after Defoe had appeared to slip over on the edge of the box, the ball broke to Alan Hutton and his run into the area ended with him hitting the turf, but Atkinson failed to point to the spot or to book Hutton.  That was after 25 minutes, but five minutes after that, Modric made a good run down the right wing and he crossed low into the six yard box and for some reason, Reina inexplicably spilled the ball.  Defoe, like all good predators, was waiting and side-footed towards goal from ten yards out, but Jamie Carragher threw himself to block the effort and away went the ball and the opportunity.

A right wing cross from Kuyt at the other end was whipped in and Ngog got across his marker, but he was too far advanced in front of the near post to get it on target and it thumped into the advertising boards.

Spurs went to the substitute's bench once more in the 36th minute, as Kaboul came out of a challenge limping and he was replaced by an unprepared Sebastien Bassong, who rushed to get his tracksuit bottoms off, his shirt on and forgot his gloves, having to blow vigorously on his hands to get some warmth into them, until he had a chance to claim his hand-warmers from the coaching staff.  Spurs were almost behind with five minutes to go to half-time, as Meireles struck a low shot from 25 yards and Gomes got down to it and just got enough of a hand on the ball to take it wide for a corner.

Another weaving run from Bale ended with Carragher up-ending him and seeing yellow and the Welshman got up to take the kick, which dipped Ronaldo-like, but bounced up over the keeper, but was wide.  Then, three minutes before the break, Liverpool took the lead.  A Meireles free-kick was dinked into the mix and although Skrtel won the first header, the ball appeared to hit Ngog on the arm and it fell for the Czech defender to shoot past Gomes from five yards out. 

As the game entered added time, Spurs could have been buried by Liverpool.  Torres scooped a pass around the corner to put Rodrigues through, but as the Spaniard went to go round Gomes, he seemed surprised that the keeper was out to meet him and lost the communication to his feet, just let8ting the ball run through to the goalie.  And then, looking like he might be offside, but wasn't, Torres raced away towards goal and took one touch too many, allowing Bassong to make a recovery tackle that was superbly timed.

With former Spurs Steve Hodge and Tony Galvin coming out at half-time to talk about their times at White Hart Lane to the freezing fans, the talk was about the hang-over that Spurs might be suffering from the Champions League win.

And that was even more evident when, a minute after the break, Torres was once more clear through on goal, put away by Lucas, but, as before half-time, Sebastien Bassong got the ball as the Spanish forward was about to shoot from the right of the box.  Bale popped up a cross for Peter Crouch to head down and Defoe got on the end of it, but didn't make a touch on the ball and then in the 52nd minute, Lennon's cross was flapped at by Reina, who knocked it straight out to Bale inside the box and his shot was knocked off the line by Meireles's head.  It was a good effort by Bale, who took the bouncing ball well and managed to get the ball on target.

Assou-Ekotto tried his luck from distance and a deflection took the shot wide, a Bale cross was aimed at Crouch's head and Konchesky had a hand on his back as the Spurs striker tried to control the ball, but once more referee Atkinson turned a blind eye, with no assistance form his assistant.  When Spurs did get a free-kick nine yards outside the box for Carragher's hand in Defoe's face (bearing in mind the Liverpool defender had already been booked), Bale stepped up to have a shot at goal and with the ball travelling in that direction, it hit the wall and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.  Just like last week, a player in the wall (this time Ngog) raised an arm to stop the ball and there was some debate about where the handball took place, as the ref had moved them back 10 yards just inside the area, but they had edged forward as the free-kick was being prepared to be taken.  Justice was seen to be done, but then it was undone when Jermain Defoe took the spot-kick and dragged it wide of Reina's right hand post.  Justice had been undermined by the protests that Liverpool made to the linesman and the ref, with Skrtel getting booked and Reina getting away with the same level of dissent, while Carragher put his arm around the refs shoulders and Torres and others delayed the taking of the kick to heap pressure on Defoe.

Having missed penalties in both of the last two home games, it was becoming an unwanted habit.  Liverpool seemed to be getting the rub of the green, with Lucas' jump tackle on Palacios not being punished with a booking and then clattering into Modric a short while later.  But then, what looked like  a stonewall penalty for Liverpool was waved away by Atkinson, as Assou-Ekotto slid in on Kuyt as he ran down the right side of the box.

But that was five minutes after Spurs had drawn level.  Modric was determined in winning a bouncing ball, taking it on his chest and getting it down to run into the left side of the box before bringing a low ball back into the six yard box.  it was intended for Crouch, who was standing in the middle of the goal, but Skrtel got to it first and took the ball past Reina, as he dived out on the floor to collect it.  Another Liverpool game and another own goal ... only this time it hadn't been Carragher.

That was in the 65th minute and Liverpool signalled their intentions by bringing on midfielder Aurelio for strike Ngog.  Spurs pressed onwards and Palacios, who had a torrid time in the first half, being unable to find a white shirt with a large number of his passes, did better in the second half and one ball into Defoe saw him twist away from Skrtel and strike a quick shot just wide, with Bale hitting another difficult shot at goal in the 80th minute, following a cross from Crouch and this time Reina got in the way.

Liverpool did move the ball about well during the game, with Merieles put in by Torres, but his first time drive fizzed past Gomes' left hand post by inches with seven minutes of normal time left.  When Kyrgiakos came on for Carragher, who dislocated his shoulder trying to pull Crouch's shirt, Spurs might have had another penalty had the linesman been paying attention, as he shoved Defoe out of the way in the air with a shove in his back.  Johnson was booked for a crude studs up challenge on Bale and from the free-kick, Crouch headed on, Lennon won a header at the back of the box and Defoe was onto it in a flash to volley past Reina, who could not get enough of a hand o it to stop it hitting the net.  Luckily for the Liverpool defence, the linesman was watching this time and flagged Defoe offside.

With a minute of normal time remaining, that looked like that.

Gomes made a timely intervention to punch away a cross with Torres going for the header, with the move ending in a foul on a Spurs player.  BAE hit the ball long and it was headed on by Crouch, with Lennon reacting much quicker than Konchesky, who thought about bringing the player down, but thought better of it, but by then it was too late.  Lennon had taken it on his chest and raced into the area, where Reina came out, but the winger shot past his left hand and into the net in the second minute of added time to give Spurs a 2-1 lead.

Liverpool tried to get something out of the game in the remaining three minutes, but Gallas shepherded Kuyt out wide and then took the liberty of kicking the ball off him to win a goal-kick.  Lennon took hold of the ball deep inside his own half and set off on a run to eat up time.  Unfortunately, he lost the ball to Kyrgiakos, who then slipped over leaving Aaron a free run at goal and although he out-paced the defenders, his final shot went across the face of goal with Modric waiting at the far post for a squarer ball back to him to knock t into an empty goal.

In the end, it was a fantastic win against the odds, but it is still a bone of contention that Tottenham have to go a goal behind before they come back to win.  Modric was immense today, running the midfield with jinking little runs and also getting back to tackle or intercept the ball.  Gallas did well without being flashy and Bale and Lennon gave the Liverpool defence nightmares, as there was no pace in their legs to stop the Spurs wide-men getting past them, so they resorted to bringing them down.

In a way, it was good to see Spurs able to treat a team such as Liverpool like this, but the Liverpool are not the team they once were and it should be another confidence booster that they can go on to win games like this with belief in their own ability and not a fear of the opposition.

Purcell Cole


Fan Reaction : -



I suppose you can say that some of the Liverpool players went missing on Sunday ... predominantly Fernando Torres, who should have put the game to bed either side of the break, but thanks to some superb recovery work by Sebastien Bassong, the Frenchman's tackles robbed him of the chances when he took too long over getting the shot off both times.

And what was Maxi Rodrigues doing when he went around Gomes and then had a brainwave, leaving the ball behind ? 

Mind you, Defoe had a similar issue when he struck his penalty wide.  It is a bit like when he is in open play, that when he has too long to think about it, whatever he tries doesn't come off.  An instinctive player who can score with little back-lift if there is little time to take the chance.

Spurs did keep going and deserved the win, just about, as they pressed Liverpool back in the second half and coming from behind and scoring late goals are becoming a good habit.

Let's hope they can keep it up over the next six weeks, as it is a busy period of games coming up.

Paul Dennis




Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 4 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Blackpool 2 Saturday
Everton 1 West Bromwich Albion 4 Saturday
Fulham 1 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 7 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Manchester City 1 Saturday
West Ham United 3 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 1 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 15 8 7 0 37 18 31 +19
2 Chelsea 15 9 2 4 29 10 29 +19
3 Arsenal 15 9 2 4 32 17 29 +15
4 Manchester City 15 7 5 3 20 12 26 +8
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 15 7 4 4 24 21 25 +3
6 Bolton Wanderers 15 5 8 2 28 22 23 +6
7 Sunderland 15 4 8 3 19 18 20 +1
8 Stoke City 15 6 2 7 19 19 20 0
9 Newcastle United 15 5 4 6 23 22 19 +1
10 Liverpool 15 5 4 6 17 19 19 -2
11 Blackpool 15 5 4 6 23 29 19 -6
12 West Bromwich Albion 15 5 4 6 20 26 19 -6
13 Blackburn Rovers 15 5 3 7 18 25 18 -7
14 Birmingham City 15 3 8 4 16 18 17 -2
15 Aston Villa 15 4 5 6 17 24 17 -7
16 Everton 15 3 7 5 17 19 16 -2
17 Fulham 15 2 9 4 15 18 15 -3
18 Wigan Athletic 15 3 6 6 11 26 14 -15
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 3 3 9 17 27 12 -10
20 West Ham United 15 2 6 7 14 26 12 -12


Position before the match :  6th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


Back to homepage