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Premier League

Saturday 1st November 2008

Top meet bottom and not in the way we would have wanted it to be, but Liverpool have been making steady progress under Rafa Benitez, despite all his rotation within the team over the years.  At last, the Merseysiders look like a threat to the top three.

Having been a top four side for a number of years, they are finally producing a run of games where they are winning by the odd goal or coming back from behind to add a resilience to their natural game.

With Fernando Torres not likely to be risked with his hamstring injury, we can expect to be facing Robbie Keane, back at White Hart Lane for the first time since his unexpected summer departure.  It will be interesting to see what reception he gets and how, when we play Manchester United, it compares with that for Dimitar Berbatov.  He hasn't truly clicked at Anfield yet, so the greater threat might come from Dirk Kuyt, who is a player who uses his knowledge of the game to create and score goals.  He is the sort of player who will drop off his marker to make a couple of yards of space and cause the keeper problems.  It will need concentration by our defenders to keep track of his movement.

At the back, Reina is a very good keeper and Spurs will need to test him at every opportunity, but with four goals in midweek, it is something that the Tottenham players might have more confidence to do now.  Carragher is a rock in the middle of their back four and Dossena and Arbeloa both like to push on, so there might be some joy in behind them if we break and pass well.

In midfield Steven Gerrard is obviously the driving force.  His power on the ball and his running off it make it difficult for midfielders to stay in touch with him, but someone will need to track him and close him down as quickly as possible.  Maschereno does a great job of breaking up play and then starting his own side's attacks, while Benayoun prompts and darts around to pull players out of position.  The one player with real pace in their side is Ryan Babel and he can cross and finish too, meaning our full back will need to stop any progress he might make.

Tottenham will have gained a lot of confidence from the draw against Arsenal, even though it still leaves us bottom of the league.  A point today will not change that position, but it will give the team a huge boost for the games coming up ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    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 : -  Gilberto (knee); - (-); - (-); 

LIVERPOOL :  - Martin Skrtel (knee); Fernando Torres (hamstring); - (-); 


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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  
Saturday 1st November 2008
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   36,183
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Stoke on Trent)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Wet, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King (c)     
39  Woodgate
32  Assou-Ekotto (  2  Hutton 46)

  5  Bentley
  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone
24  O'Hara (  9  Pavlyuchenko 46  )
14  Modric (  7  Lennon 75)

10  Bent

Unused subs: 
  3  Bale
16  Gunter
18  Campbell

Liverpool :

25  Reina

17  Arbeloa
23  Carragher        (o.g.)
  5  Agger
  2  Dossena

  8  Gerrard (c)      
20  Mascherano
14  Alonso
11  Riera (15  Benayoun 78)

18  Kuyt 
  7  Keane (19  Babel 66)

Unused subs: 
  1  Cavalieri
  6  Hyypia
12  Aurelio
21  Leiva Lucas
31  El Zhar

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Carragher (o.g.) 69
Pavlyuchenko 90


Kuyt 3

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

King (foul) 75  



Gerrard (foul) 45
Carragher (foul) 67   


Match Report : -  
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 decisions going.

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 match.

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 1-1.

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 net.

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 !!



Reaction : -




My First Trip to ‘The Lane’:
Saturday 1st November 2008- Tottenham v Liverpool


1.      Why were you looking forward to going to the ground?

 Any opportunity to catch top-class Premiership action will be grabbed by me with open arms, and any opportunity to catch the current leaders of the Premiership, as well as a side beginning a renaissance under Harry Redknapp, will mean that I drop everything for a trip to London. Furthermore, I had never been to White Hart Lane, and wanted to tick the ground off my 92- club list. Saturdays like these do not happen ever week. If you could give me a perfect Saturday, this would be it.


2.      How easy was your journey/ finding the ground/ car parking?

 Difficult because none of the London Underground staff seem to know about the existence of Tottenham Hotspur, let alone White Hart Lane. At least three members of staff believed that Spurs played near Tottenham Court Road in Central London and one ticker clerk at Baker Street looked at me as if I had vomited over him, when I asked my simple questions. It was a difficult task, and was not helped by most of the underground system being shut down for ‘essential’ engineering works on this wet Saturday afternoon. 

I took a chance and travelled on the Victoria tube line to Seven Sisters, and an over ground train over the rooftops to White Hart Lane railway station. It is a case of following the fans when you emerge from the station, taking a right underneath the railway bridge, past some barbershops, kebab houses and the odd newsagent to the football ground. Police present was not especially extensive, despite this match being a grade A fixture, and the away end is at the southern end of the stadium. 

Due to excessive chatting with an old friend in a central London pub, I arrived relatively late for the game, and had little time to by check out the White Hart Lane grub. However, the smells told me that there would not be much different from the menus of other grounds. The programme was an interesting read, and the gift shop was nicely laid out for the credit-crunched Christmas shoppers. I nearly brought a box of six Tottenham crackers in readiness for Christmas. 


3.      What did you think when seeing the ground/ first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground? 

White Hart Lane is a ground with character and quite imposing from the outside. I sat in the home end at the north end of the ground, and enjoyed the enclosed nature of the arena. The Spurs faithful were in an expectant mood after the 4-4 draw against Arsenal of four days earlier, and the atmosphere was fairly friendly too. For a football fan that spends most of his time in stadiums that are half the size of White Hart Lane, it was a jaw-dropping experience. From my lofty position in the North Stand, I spent most of the first half watching the game and also the Tottenham support.


4.      Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies and toilets 

Although I was disappointed by Liverpool, and shocked at Tottenham’s overall performance in the first half of the game, the game was very exciting. It was a match that Liverpool should have won about 6-0 by the middle of the second half, but a combination of bad substitutions, the roar of the home fans, and the ability of Tottenham to start passing and moving for the ball meant that Spurs won 2-1. 

If I was a Liverpool fan, I would not understand how we lost the game. From the body language of Gerrard, Kuyt, Carragher and co, I am not sure that they understood either. The Liverpool fans that sung their hearts out throughout the game were bemused and would face a long journey back to Merseyside. The Tottenham fans were in delirium and it was a fantastic sight to see. It was a crucial win for Spurs, and arguably more important than the Arsenal draw at the end of October.


5.      Comment on getting away from the ground 

I had been prepared for another situation that I experienced at another London ground, where underground stations were shut due to ‘overcrowding.’ There were police horses everywhere and I had to walk around North London, with the hope that there would be an open station and an underground train to take me back home.  

There was a moving group of happy Spurs fans into White Hart Lane station, and there were frequent trains to take the supporters back into London. Many people had told me about buses to take yourself back into the city, but the only buses that I saw were jammed in the traffic gridlock around the stadium.  

My previous football trips have usually ended in a quagmire of rail replacement buses, cold nights spent on windswept station, whilst trying to interest myself in railway timetables like a deranged train spotter. This day out did not end in that sad way although reading the Spurs Christmas gift catalogue did not quite keep my interest from London Marylebone to Warwickshire.


6.      Summary of overall thoughts of the day out 

I had watched a decent game at an iconic ground, between two footballing teams that are part of the bedrock of English football. Saturday 1st November 2008 had been another dramatic football afternoon, and I had gained a ringside seat for the action. I knew that a trip to White Hart Lane was not a cheap experience.  

I knew that the ground was bigger than the average Championship establishment that I usually frequent. I also knew that Spurs fans are passionate about their football and desperately distraught about their lowly league position. As a neutral, I was not disappointed and hope that both teams achieve their dreams, which they so desperately wish for this season.  

tim sansom

Read Wyart Lane's comments on the game against Liverpool at Times Fanzine Fanzone by clicking here.



Other scores this weekend :
Chelsea 5 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Everton 1 Fulham 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Manchester United 4 Hull City 3 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Arsenal 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Blackburn Rovers 2 Saturday
Manchester City 0 Bolton Wanderers 2 Sunday
Newcastle United 2 Aston Villa 0 Monday



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




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