Liverpool (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 30th December 2006

With Blackburn having beaten Liverpool last time out, Spurs will face a side determined to get back into point gathering mode and also to do better away from home than they have done so far this season.

For Tottenham, the home form has been very good with our travels yielding far too few points.  However, injuries are depriving us of some of our star performers, with Lennon being a big miss wide on the right.  If Berbatov is missing and Mido is also deemed a doubtful starter, it will leave Defoe up front on his own and that will not work as a lone striker at Newcastle proved last Saturday.

Gerrard is the powerhouse who drives Liverpool on and with Dirk Kuyt settling into a striking role alongside Craig Bellamy, they have pace and power up front.  Hopefully, our defence will be able to counter that, but the Reds will also have the not so secret weapon of Peter Crouch to bring on and that will mean our defenders will be required to close down the wide positions quickly to stop crosses coming into the area.

With Didier Zokora finding a niche for running directly into the heart of an opposition defence, his work might be needed to push Gerrard back and to track his runs.  Hossam Ghaly will need to be more precise with his passing, as losing possession will be punished much more harshly than Aston Villa did.

While there may be more pressure on Liverpool to win this, as the expectation is that they will finish above Spurs come the end of the season, I think we can protect our home record, but might not have enough to win if key players are missing.

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 : -  Teemu Tainio (ankle); Robbie Keane (knee); Jermaine Jenas (ankle); Aaron Lennon (knee); Paul Stalteri (knee); Mido (groin)

LIVERPOOLBoudewijn Zenden  (knee); Mohammed Sissoko (dislocated shoulder); Harry Kewell (septic arthritis)


Sky Sports 1 -  Football First (highlights) 20.25
Match of the Day (BBC 1) - 22.45 (highlights)  -  repeated 08.30 Sunday morning BBC 1
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   0    Liverpool   1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 30th December 2006
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,170
Referee :  M. Halsey (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Mild, but heavy rain
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Robinson (c)


Zokora (Murphy 56)

Mido (Berbatov 59)

Unused subs

Liverpool :



Luis Garcia
Gerrard (c)
Aurelio (Gonzalez 79)

Bellamy (Pennant 49)
Kuyt (Crouch 66)

Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur



Garcia 45

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  






Match Report : -  
The news of Ledley King and Dimitar Berbatov's absence from the Tottenham starting line-up hardly filled me with hope and the poor playing conditions swayed me more towards pessimism as Liverpool proved, by snatching a scrappy winner, in a match they scarcely deserved to win.

With Mark Halsey having a match where he
a)  decided to let play go on at every opportunity ... except when Spurs looked like they might have a good chance
b)  got in the way consistently ... even to the extent of knocking the ball forward with his arm, when Spurs tried to get a pass to one of their players
c)  letting some bad tackles (and Gerrard's assault on Davenport) go, as he seemed determined to go 90 minutes without using a card of any colour
it made it even harder for Spurs to achieve the goal they needed to get a deserved draw from this game.

But they had enough chances to earn a point.

The problem was that the team was set up in the first half to counter Craig Bellamy's pace and it played into Liverpool's hands.  Sitting deep, it let the Reds push onto our midfield, who were stationed 5-10 yards outside our own area.  The gap between them and the forwards was too big and therefore, it was difficult to get the ball to stick when it hit the forwards and the midfield found it hard to link up with them by getting forward to support them.

The tactic allowed Gerrard huge expanses of midfield to exploit and he seemed to be dictating play, although Liverpool produced few efforts that made Robbo save.  Apart from having to hurry to clear a poor back-pass from Lee, a low effort from Bellamy and a deflected effort off Davenport saw him brought into action.  Other than that, it was only to pick the ball out of the net that made ENO work.  That was right on half-time, when Chimbonda played a short pass to Zokora outside our own area and he attempted a pass that Gerrard picked off and his shot was half blocked by Davenport into the path of Garcia, who could only bumble the ball in a way that confounded Robinson and slowly crawled over the line.  It was a poor goal to give away at any time, but just before the break made it even more of a cheap one to concede.

Spurs could have been going in level if Mido had taken a great opportunity that came his way.  Defoe went in for a ball with Agger and it dropped to Mido, with Reina in front of him, but he hit the shot well wide, despite it being on his favoured left foot.  Then again, Kuyt should have scored when he was set up by Bellamy, but his deliberate shot curled inches the wrong side of the post, with Robinson stranded.  Alonso struck a low skidding shot a yard wide and Mido rose to head a Lee cross wide, but it looked as though he took his eye off the ball at the vital moment.

The rain had fallen in the first half to speed up the pace of the ball off the turf, but a massive downpour into the second half left the crowd soaked and the players splashing around on the sodden grass.  it is a testament to the players that there were few bad tackles, with players diving in, but Gerrard was guilty of that twice on Davenport and Huddlestone, as he was frustrated in the second half, when Spurs pressed forward with more conviction.

Bellamy brought a low save out of Robinson early on, but Benitez's selection peculiarities continued by replacing the Welshman three minutes into the second half and then playing Kuyt up front on his own.  This helped Tottenham get a foothold back in the match.

Gerrard was forced to drop deeper and the ball was being turned over more often in their last third.  With some good passing, Spurs started to get into the Liverpool half more often and although Mido was having a bit of a mare, others were coming up from behind to give weight to the Tottenham attack. 

Signs of the impending pressure building on the Liverpool goal came when a free-kick was floated into the area by Huddlestone and Reina, under no challenge, dropped the ball behind him, but there was no white-shirted player to take advantage.  When such unforced errors occur, it is surprising that Spurs failed to put the keeper under greater test by firing shots in at him, rather than trying to walk the ball into the net.

Just before the hour, Jol introduced Berba in place of the disappointing Mido, with Murphy already having replaced Zokora.  Danny got stuck into his former team and showed some good passes, always making himself available to receive a pass.  Crouch was brought on for Aurelio, mainly because he was the player furthest away from the tunnel and therefore, his slow walk could waste more time than the Scousers had already done by kicking the ball away at almost every occasion.  I suppose it should be taken as a compliment that they wanted to run down time from early in the second half, but to me it indicated that they did not have enough faith in their own ability to keep their lead and that they should try to put in a "professional" performance to ensure they took the three points.

Unfortunately for them, Spurs woke up and tested their defence in the last quarter of the game.  It was only a couple of Garcia chances that broke the pattern of play.  One an opportunistic overhead kick went straight at Robbo, while he should really have done better with a free header after a cross went over Dawson's head, but the Spaniard could only pick out Robinson's hands.

Five minutes after Berbatov's entrance, he conjured a fine cross from a tight space on the dead ball-line and Finnan, running back towards his own goal, smashed a header against the bar and out.  Twice Ghaly was in front of goal and twice failed to hit the target.  One when Reina fumbled a shot from Defoe, Hossam failed to wrap his foot around his shot and it went straight, but wide of thegoal and the second opportunity, again from a Reina save to a Defoe shot was a tougher one and his reaction volley went wide with the goal gaping in front of him.  Berbatov missed out on a long ball through the middle of the Liverpool defence, with him only being able to get a light touch on it and directing it through to Reina, but he had earlier slid to try and get the ball as it went towards goal, only for him to slide off the pitch and into one of the rotating advertising hoardings.

Five minutes from the end, it seemed as though we might have got something out of the game, but the linesman's flag denied us that.  Lee put in a good cross from the left and it found it's way to the far post, where Ghaly lurked and put the ball back into the six yard box.  Berbatov stuck the ball in the net, but offside was given against the Egyptian.

The rain continued to pelt down and the ball continued to be played into the Liverpool box, but they put in a rearguard action that kept Spurs at bay.

On this evidence, Liverpool are not streets ahead of Tottenham in personnel or ability, but the first half tactics handed then the initiative that became hard to wrest back from them.  It was certainly a game of two halves, but in the first half Spurs played it like it was an away game.  And we know what happens away from home.





Other scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 2 Middlesbrough 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 3 Portsmouth 2 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Fulham 2 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 2 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Everton 3 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Reading 2 Saturday
Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 0 Saturday
Watford (waterlogged pitch 45 mins.) 1 A Wigan Athletic 1 A Saturday
West Ham United 0 Manchester City 1 Saturday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 21 17 2 2 47 13 53 +34
2 Chelsea 21 14 5 2 37 17 47 +20
3 Bolton Wanderers 21 12 3 6 27 18 39 +9
4 Liverpool 21 11 4 6 29 16 37 +13
5 Arsenal 21 10 6 5 37 19 36 +18
6 Portsmouth 21 10 5 6 32 21 35 +11
7 Everton 21 8 7 6 26 20 31 +6
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21 9 4 8 25 27 31 -2
9 Reading 21 8 3 10 24 29 27 -5
10 Manchester City 21 7 5 9 17 24 26 -7
11 Fulham 21 6 8 7 22 32 26 -10
12 Aston Villa 21 5 10 6 23 25 25 -2
13 Newcastle United 21 7 4 10 21 26 25 -5
14 Blackburn Rovers 20 7 4 9 21 29 25 -8
15 Sheffield United 21 6 5 10 16 26 23 -10
16 Wigan Athletic 20 6 4 10 23 29 22 -6
17 Middlesbrough 21 5 6 10 18 26 21 -8
18 West Ham United 21 5 3 13 12 27 18 -15
19 Charlton Athletic 21 4 4 13 17 36 16 -19
20 Watford 19 1 8 10 12 26 11 -14



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