Liverpool (Away)
Premier League

Wednesday 20th January 2010

Without being able to beat Hull City, Spurs travel to one of their most barren hunting grounds in their history to face Liverpool.  The frozen off first fixture ten days ago might have proved harder for Spurs, but now the Reds have a chance to prove they are not just a two man team.  Gerrard and Torres are their best players, with their third best player Benayoun also among the missing players, all injure din the FA Cup defeat at home to Reading.

The Liverpool manager is currently one of the most pressurised bosses in the Premier League at the moment, with his side needing to put some silverware in the Anfield trophy cabinet this year, but it is unlikely to be the ones that the fans and the owners want.  Instead of the Champions League and the Premiership trophy, the Scouse fans might have to settle for the Europa League, with the FA Cup now a long distant memory.  With a backroom boardroom dispute over who calls the shots, the on-field performers are firing blanks, with the latest points lost in the last minute equaliser at the Britannia Stadium.

Liverpool still have good players, who have not flopped overnight.  A spate of injuries and a loss in confidence in a significant number of the players has left them struggling.  However, on their day, they are capable of beating the best sides, with wins over Manchester United and Aston Villa, but have lost to Portsmouth and the beach ball assisted Sunderland.

Inconsistent in a Tottenham like way, this is not the Liverpool that was rampant in the Seventies and Eighties, nor the one who was regularly top four in the Nineties and Noughties.  With players such as Ryan Babel unsettled, rumours of Gerrard and Torres wanting out if they don't qualify for the Champions League and Aquilani only just getting into the team after a number of months out injured following his signing, the team lack stability and confidence; a major factor in any successful side.  Reina is a good goalkeeper, with Carragher losing form alongside his new central defensive partners of Kyrgiakos and Agger.  Degen is not the sort of defender that the club have had in the past and with Aurelio and Insua good going forward, sometimes their defensive duties get over-looked.  In attack, Ngog is promising, but has not yet fulfilled his potential and Kuyt has been dropped back into midfield, although he does chip in with a few goals form there.  Lucas is picking up in his popularity at Anfield, but he is also popular with refs, as he picks up his fair share of yellow cards.  Mascherano is coming back form injury and suspension, so might not yet be 100%.

While Liverpool have been hit by injuries, so have Spurs, with Ledley King and tom Huddlestone doubtful and a key player - Aaron Lennon - out with his groin injury.  Much will rely on the supply to Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch up front, with Robbie Keane probably having to settle for an appearance on the bench at what has been a lucky goal-scoring ground for him in the past for Tottenham.  The supply lines were in good form on Saturday, but were met by the immoveable object of Boaz Myhill.  Maybe Tottenham will get a bit of luck to pick up a useful three point son Wednesday night.

This could be Tottenham's best time for a win at Anfield in a long time, but then we thought that earlier this season at Old Trafford, until it all went wrong.  However, more key players are missing form the Liverpool side than the Tottenham team, so even though, the home team will be desperate to win, it might leave Spurs space to play in and so, I reckon there might be an opportunity to widen the gap between the two teams.

PREDICTION : -  Liverpool  1     Tottenham Hotspur   2

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


LIVERPOOL :  - Steven Gerrard (out - hamstring); Yossi Benayoun (out - broken rib); Fernando Torres (out - knee); Glen Johnson (out - knee); Nabil El Zhar (out - ankle); Martin Kelly (out - ankle); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Alan Hutton (out - groin); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - groin); Tom Huddlestone (out - knee); Ledley King (doubtful - knee); - (-);


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

Premier League
Venue : -  Anfield
Wednesday 20th January 2010
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   42,016
Referee :  Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)
Liverpool kicked off and played towards the Kop end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold
Teams : - 
Liverpool :

25  Reina

23  Carragher (c)
37  Skrtel
16  Kygriakos
22  Insua

11  Rieira  (19  Maxi 81)
27  Degen
  (32  Maxi 90)
  4  Aquilani
  (24  Ngog 79)
20  Mascherano

18  Kuyt

Unused subs: 
  1  Cavalieri
26  Spearing
19  Babel
47  Pacheco

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka  (  2  Hutton 62)
26  King (c)  (19  Bassong 82)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale     

14  Modric
12  Palacios      
21  Kranjcar  (10  Keane  65)  

18  Defoe
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  dos Santos


Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Kuyt 6
Kuyt (p) 90+3

Tottenham Hotspur

Cards : -  

Mascherano (continued fouling)  39
Lucas (foul)  82  


Tottenham Hotspur 

Jenas (foul)   27
Bale (foul)  36
Palacios (foul)  50 


Match Report : -  
Disappointing is a word that has often haunted my support of Tottenham Hotspur and quite often it has come at a time when the next step seemed within their stride.  A 0-2 defeat at Liverpool was a little harsh, but the result was the outcome of a number of Spurs players not performing to the level that they can.

It wasn't as though Spurs played badly, but not as well as they can and with Liverpool shorn of the likes of Gerard, Johnson, Benayoun and Torres, the opportunity to put some distance between us and the Reds was there for the taking.  An early goal for the home team and the majority of the decisions going the same way denied Spurs that chance, but they failed when it came to the final ball and the final third.

Tottenham had a great chance to go ahead in the fifth minute, when Bale was released on the left by an astute pass from Kranjcar to fire in a low cross that Carragher, Reina and Kygriakos almost messed up, meaning the keeper had to react quickly to get the loose ball before Jermain Defoe.  From Reina's distribution, the ball bounced for Kuyt to find Aquilani and despite Michael Dawson getting a tackle in on him, the ball broke for Kuyt on the edge of the box to steer a shot wide of Gomes and into the bottom right hand corner of the keeper's net.

With six minutes gone, so had the clean sheet club record and also the hope of holding out and piling more pressure on the Merseysiders.  Tottenham responded well, with good possession and some neat passing moves, but they failed to produce a threatening effort on goal.  Bale's sliced effort in the 23rd minute was the closest and it wasn't that close.

Defoe was getting frustrated with the close attention he was being given by the Liverpool defenders and the lack of attention the referee was giving to the contact on him and Peter Crouch was also being bumped around by the Reds back four.  In midfield, Benitez's tactic of deploying five in that area of the pitch left Spurs little time and space on the ball, meaning Kranjcar and Modric were regularly quickly dispossessed and Palacios gave the ball away too cheaply too often.

Five minutes before half time, Crouch's astonishment was clear to see, as Kygriakos pulled his shirt into an XXXXXXXXXXL before dragging the striker onto the floor.  The outcome was a free-kick to Liverpool.  Why is it that the eternal question of homer referees still exists, until they come to WHL ?

Just before the interval there were chances at both ends.  From a corner Skrtel had an air shot at a half-clearance and then he was on hand in injury time when Kuyt's diving header was knocked away from the line by Gareth Bale, but the defender could only fire the ball way over the bar from an acute angle.  A good break at the other end ended with some accurate, first time passing that saw Jermaine Jenas release Luka Modric in the area, but he could not get any power behind his shot that Pepe Reina saved easily.

Tottenham's team talk would no doubt have included an instruction form Harry Redknapp to get back into the game as soon as possible and a minute and half into the second period, that happened.  Or so we thought.  A through ball found Defoe offside, but Kygriakos played the ball back to Reina and Defoe, back in active play closed him down, forcing the Spaniard to lose the ball and Jermain turned just outside the box to turn the ball past the keeper to equalise.  However, the linesman and the referee both got it wrong by waving for offside, but you can't be offside when the opposition player has touched the ball, let alone two of them having done so.

Nobody thought that a Mendes Man U goal situation could happen again, but once more Spurs suffer at the hands of the officials inability to do their job.

Albert Rieira went close twice in three minutes, with a free-kick just over the bar, as Gomes strayed from his line (but had the effort covered) and then going closer when he headed a Carragher cross onto the bar after out-jumping Vedran Corluka.  A couple of good passing movements created two shots on goal for Spurs just before the hour.  Firstly, the bal was laid into Defoe in the box and he put the ball into the path of Modric, whose shot was straight at Reina, while a couple of minutes later, Palacios found Defoe, who passed to Jenas and his shot from 25 yards out swerved before reaching Reina and the keeper had to awkwardly palm it over the bar.

Spurs were starting to over-play and Dawson and King got in a tangle on the halfway line, with Kuyt getting away to play Degen in on the right and the player tried to return the ball to the Dutchman, but the pass was behind him and Spurs cleared.  With 20 minutes left, Kuyt could have put the game beyond Spurs, as a free-kick was headed back to the far post by Skrtel and the striker's volley was high over the bar from close range.  Rieira also went close when he strode forward and thrashed a shot a couple of feet wide of the post.

The same fate also befell substitute Alan Hutton, as he got on the end of Bale's left wing cross and came in at the corner of the box to hit a full-bloodied volley that fizzed a yard wide.  But as the game came to the final five minutes, David Ngog had a free header that Gomes did well to beat out and then Kuyt put another volley over the bar from inside the six yard box.  Heurelho Gomes was on hand once more to stop Kygriakos' shot from a corner, but hitting it into the ground too ka  lot of pace off it. 

Into injury time, Spurs looked like they couldn't get the ball where they wanted it and having come on for Ledley King, Sebastien Bassong hadn't picked up the pace of the game.  Much like he hadn't picked up his shorts when he was summonsed to come on by Harry Redknapp.  With Ngog bursting forward, he touched the ball heavily and Bassong dived in to bring him down just inside the area.  A penalty was given even though the ball was way out of Ngog's reach, so heavy was his touch, but Kuyt tucked away the post-kick only for Webb to make him re-take it as players had encroached in the area.  The second spot-kick was also sent into the back of the net and that ended the scoring and the match.

Another chance to win away at a big "top four" club and another opportunity lost.  It might not affect the end of season placing, as there are plenty of points to be lost between now and then, but it might prove a kick-start to Liverpool's season, who have little to concentrate on and could join Aston Villa and Manchester City in challenging Spurs for that elusive fourth place.  Let's hope it is just a blip in Liverpool's campaign and in ours too.

the heathrow spur




Fan Reaction : -



That's ...

IN with the "big four"

While Spurs did themselves no favours with a timid performance, Webb cost Spurs two potential "goals" with Defoe's "offside" another example of Tottenham's failure to win against the "Big four" because we never get decisions going our way and the penalty, which would have been a free-kick if it were anywhere else on the pitch.

His farcical re-taking of the last minute penalty was just nit-picking and made no difference to the result.  Unlike the above two decisions, which could have changed the course of the game. 

His booking of Jenas, Bale and Palacios came for fouls, but the three that deserved a yellow card were early studs on foot challenges by Carragher, Mascherano and Defoe.

One of England's FIFA rated refs and linesmen ?  Goodness help the teams in the World Cup who pull this motley crew out of the hat.

stan chun

This performance is indicative of why the team will not break into the top four.

A great chance to go to Anfield and assert themselves over a Liverpool side lacking confidence, but the way the home team started, they were obviously more up for it than Spurs.  Closing down the Tottenham players on the ball, Spurs were too weak - both physically and mentally. 

While there were some nice passing moves, Spurs failed to test Reina often enough to see if he was going to perform like Myhill had to on Saturday.  The cutting edge in the box was lost, as Defoe was buffeted about and Crouch was prevented from jumping by being double-teamed or by having his short pulled.  How Webb failed to spot the penalty that Tottenham should have had and managed to give a free-kick against Crouch is a mystery to many.  This referee has cost us before and will again in the future.  Remember the dodgy penalty against Man U last season at Old Trafford ?

Big decisions and all wrongly decided.

In cricket, there would be a huge uproar.  As it is Rafa Benitez put as much pressure as he could on the fourth official and his players on the pitch on the referee to ensure they got all the major decisions going.

How Webb interpreted Defoe's goal as him being in the same phase of play as when he WAS offside I don't know and must mean that his interpretation of the laws of the game is lacking in basic common sense.

The only funny part of the game was when Benitez called Sammy Lee over to face off with Joe Jordan, as he obviously didn't fancy his chances in an argument.

vernon beckett





Other League scores this mid-week :
Arsenal 4 Bolton Wanderers 2 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 22 15 3 4 59 25 48 +34
2 Chelsea 21 15 3 3 52 18 48 +34
3 Manchester United 21 15 2 5 49 19 47 +30
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 22 11 5 6 42 24 38 +18
5 Manchester City 21 10 8 3 42 30 38 +12
6 Liverpool 22 11 4 7 40 26 37 +14
7 Aston Villa 21 10 6 5 29 18 36 +11
8 Birmingham City 21 8 6 6 21 19 33 +2
9 Fulham 21 7 6 8 26 24 27 +2
10 Everton 21 6 8 7 30 34 26 -4
11 Stoke City 21 6 7 8 19 26 25 -7
12 Blackburn Rovers 22 6 6 10 23 39 24 -16
13 Sunderland 20 6 5 9 27 34 23 -7
14 Wigan Athletic 20 6 4 10 23 44 22 -21
15 Burnley 21 5 5 11 22 43 20 -21
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 5 4 11 17 38 19 -21
17 West Ham United 21 4 7 10 28 37 19 -9
18 Hull City 21 4 7 10 20 42 19 -22
19 Bolton Wanderers 20 4 6 10 28 42 18 -14
20 Portsmouth 20 4 2 14 18 32 14 -14


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the mid-week games :  4th

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