Friday, November 28, 2008

Liverpool's Torres injured again just after comeback

Liverpool's Premier League title push suffered a setback on Thursday when their Spanish international striker Fernando Torres was ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain.
Torres, who had only just returned to the side after five weeks out with a similar problem, picked up the injury in the 1-0 Champions League win over Marseille at Anfield on Wednesday.Defender Fabio Aurelio will be out for a fortnight after picking up a calf problem in the same game.

A club spokesman told "Fernando has a strain in his right hamstring and will be out of action for between two and three weeks. Fabio has a calf strain in his left leg and will be out for two weeks."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gerrard salutes Torres after victory over Marseille

STEVEN GERRARD saluted strike partner Fernando Torres after Liverpool guaranteed their passage to the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Marseille at Anfield.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez chose to play Gerrard in an advanced position just behind Torres and the move paid off as the England midfielder scored the Reds’ winner after 23 minutes.
After the game, Gerrard said he had enjoyed playing alongside Torres and hoped Benitez would continue with the tactic in the future.
"He (Torres) is the key. Playing behind him is great for me," Gerrard said. "His runs are great. Tonight I scored the goal but I’m sure if the manager keeps playing us together I will provide him with a few."
Despite dominating the first half, Liverpool had to endure a nervy second period before they sealed the win.
Gerrard said he was disappointed with the second-half performance, but was glad the Reds had ensured their passage to the knockout stages of the competition.
"It was a nervy match but still a job well done. We wanted all three points and a clean sheet and we got both of those," he said.
"It was a frustrating second half for us. We lost control a bit and there are a few things that need looking at.
"They are organised and fighting to stay in the competition. We knew that it would be a difficult tie but we stuck together and hopefully in a few days the second-half performance will be forgotten."
Benitez admitted he was relieved to see his side come away with the victory.
"The second half was a bit scary and it was definitely not the best game of football but the most important thing is that the job is done," the Spaniard said.
"We were a bit scared but we knew we had the quality to win and go through.
"We were giving the ball away too easy in the second half and we were failing with the final ball."
The Reds now travel to Eindhoven for their final group match against PSV in the knowledge a win would see them top the group.
Benitez refused to say whether he would field his first-choice side for the match.
"We know we have the quality to win the match," said Benitez.
"It’s just about finishing the job now. I’m not sure what side I will play. We have won the group before and lost in the second round to Benfica so you never know."

Liverpool 1-0 Marseille

Steven Gerrard's first-half goal sent Liverpool into the Champions League knockout stage with an unconvincing win against Marseille at Anfield.
Gerrard headed in at the far post from Xabi Alonso's cross after 23 minutes.
It was the highlight of a poor Liverpool display, with Marseille dominating possession for long periods.
Taye Taiwo had a long-range shot turned on to the post by Pepe Reina before the break, and Liverpool's keeper also saved superbly from Hatem Ben Arfa.
Liverpool now enter their final game of this section, away to PSV Eindhoven, battling with Atletico Madrid to finish top of Group D.
Benitez's side have made patchy progress to the last 16, but they have followed a similar path in the past and still navigated their way through to the final stages of the tournament.
Gerrard was restored to Liverpool's line-up after missing England's win in Germany and a goalless draw with Fulham at Anfield with a groin injury.
Dirk Kuyt had an opportunity to give Liverpool the lead after 21 minutes when Fernando Torres provided a perfect cross, but his header was saved at the second attempt by keeper Steve Mandanda.
It was only a temporary reprieve for Marseille, with Gerrard putting Liverpool in front two minutes later. He stole in unmarked on the end of Alonso's ball to the far post to head powerfully beyond the helpless Mandanda.
Marseille were stringing some impressive passing moves together without delivering an end product, but they gave Liverpool a scare after 35 minutes when Reina touched Taiwo's long-range shot on to the post.
Ronaldo Zubar then headed the resulting corner wastefully wide when he was left unchallenged at the far post.
Marseille more than matched Liverpool in the second half, with the gifted Ben Arfa a real threat.
He fired a dangerous cross just beyond Benoit Cheyrou then forced Reina into a stunning finger-tip save from an angled free-kick.
Liverpool were desperately out of sorts and Mamadou Niang wasted an opportunity with 10 minutes left, heading off target when well placed.
But Liverpool's defence, superbly marshalled once more by Jamie Carragher, held out and can now concentrate on topping the group and avoiding some potentially hazardous opposition in the last 16.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio (Dossena 46), Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt (Leiva Lucas 85), Gerrard, Riera (Benayoun 63), Torres.Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Keane, Babel, Kelly.
Booked: Mascherano.
Goals: Gerrard 23.

Marseille: Mandanda, Bonnart (Samassa 89), Zubar, Hilton, Taiwo, Ziani, Cana, Cheyrou, Ben Arfa, Niang, Kone (Valbuena 78).Subs Not Used: Riou, Rodriguez, Zenden, Kabore, Grandin.
Booked: Niang.
Att: 40,024
Ref: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Liverpool 0-0 Fulham

Liverpool endured a frustrating afternoon as they were held to a goalless draw by Fulham at Anfield.
The best chance of an even first-half fell to Robbie Keane, but the Republic of Ireland striker shot straight at keeper Mark Schwarzer from eight yards.
Fulham were not just content to soak up pressure and Andrew Johnson and Jimmy Bullard both tested Pepe Reina.
Liverpool dominated the second half but failed to capitalise and remain second behind Chelsea in the table.
If Rafael Benitez's side harbour serious ambitions of challenging for the Premier League title this season, however, then they will need to perform better than they did against the Cottagers.
Before Saturday's encounter the visitors had collected just one point on their travels but they turned in a disciplined and confident performance and for the first half at least, looked capable of adding three more to that total.
Liverpool were boosted by the return of striker Fernando Torres, but Steven Gerrard was ruled out because of the the injury that also saw him miss England's win in Germany on Wednesday.
With his inspirational captain absent it was a surprise to see Benitez bring in Lucas Leiva in to sit alongside Javier Mascherano in midfield, with Xabi Alonso left on the bench.
Alonso has enjoyed a good start to the season and after a lacklustre opening 35 minutes, with Liverpool looking sluggish and devoid of creativity, the home supporters were calling for the Spaniard's introduction.
They had started brightly enough as Dirk Kuyt shot wide when well placed, but it was another 15 minutes before Keane forced Schwarzer into his first save.
Fulham were rarely troubled and enjoyed plenty of the ball themselves as Bullard and former Anfield favourite Danny Murphy pulled the strings in midfield.
Reina had to be alert to save Johnson's effort after Bullard's hooked through ball and Schwarzer was out bravely to block Keane's shot at the other end.
The action swung back and forth and once again it was Reina's turn to prevent his side from going behind, brilliantly tipping Bullard's fine 20-yard effort wide after Bobby Zamora had cut the ball back.
Liverpool were much brighter after the interval and looked to pin Fulham back in their own half.
Torres was always a threat and after beating John Pantsil on the left, he cut inside before unleashing a shot at Schwarzer's goal that the Australian parried away.
Fulham dug in to frustrate the home side and the biggest cheer of the day came as Alonso replaced Mascherano with 25 minutes to go.
It was Alonso's Spanish team-mate Albert Riera who set Kuyt up for Liverpool's next chance, but Schwarzer was on hand to turn his dipping effort over the bar.
Kuyt then blazed wide after a good ball from Jamie Carragher as Liverpool laid siege to Fulham's goal.
Lucas saw a shot deflected wide in the final minute, and the game ended after Daniel Agger's header from the resulting corner drifted harmlessly over.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:"It was a bad day, we did not have enough energy and we did not pass the ball well enough.
"And then when we got back into the dressing room we discovered that Chelsea had drawn and Arsenal had lost.
"Those results would have been good for us had we won this one. I would assume Chelsea feel the same way about our result and Arsenal's defeat."
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson: "The game was even particularly in the first 45 minutes.
"The longer the game went on the more they started to throw the kitchen sink at us.
"A 0-0 score is a good result at Anfield and I am really happy with it. We are getting stronger and are starting to gel with every passing week."
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Kuyt (El Zhar 81), Leiva Lucas, Mascherano (Alonso 64), Riera (Babel 78), Keane, Torres.Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Benayoun.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey (Gera 84), Bullard (Baird 90), Murphy, Davies, Johnson, Zamora.Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gray, Stoor, Kallio.
Att: 43,589
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bolton 0-2 Liverpool

Liverpool's Premier League title challenge gathered further momentum with an impressive victory at Bolton.
Dirk Kuyt brilliantly headed the visitors in front from Fabio Aurelio's cross after 28 minutes.
Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard both missed open goals before captain Gerrard headed in substitute Fernando Torres' cross with 18 minutes left.
Bolton's Gary Cahill had a header ruled out for a foul and Ricardo Gardner missed two good opportunities.
The win ensured Liverpool maintained the pressure on their rivals as they seek their first title since 1990.
Bolton were outplayed for long stretches, but mounted a spirited effort after the break, only for any hope of a comeback to be snuffed out by Gerrard's close range header.
Liverpool kept Torres on the bench as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury but he emerged for the last 30 minutes to great effect.
All the other big guns were restored after a weakened side lost in the Carling Cup at Spurs in midweek.
The opening half was a tale of almost unbroken Liverpool domination, with Bolton restricted to isolated attacks.
Kuyt almost gave Rafael Benitez's side the lead after 21 minutes when his powerful rising drive from Gerrard's pass struck the bar with Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen helpless.
He had better luck seven minutes later when he crowned a lengthy period of Liverpool possession by directing a superb header past Jaaskelainen from Aurelio's cross.
Keane should have doubled Liverpool's advantage almost instantly when he somehow failed to make contact with Kuyt's inviting cross from only four yards with the goal gaping in front of him.
The lingering fear for Liverpool was that their failure to score a second goal would leave the door open for a Bolton side that had been distinctly second best.
And they were almost punished on the stroke of half-time when Cahill headed in from a corner, only for referee Rob Styles to rule that goalkeeper Pepe Reina had been fouled.
It was a decision that infuriated the home crowd, who had clearly not forgiven Styles for the infamous penalty he gave against Bolton at Manchester United earlier this season.
Bolton boss Gary Megson made a change at half-time, introducing Gardner in place of Fabrice Muamba - who had been detailed to do a man-marking job on Liverpool captain Gerrard.
Gardner made an immediate impact and almost levelled after 51 minutes when he ran on to Kevin Davies' pass, but slipped after rounding Reina and the chance was lost.
There was a much more passion and purpose from Bolton after the break, but it was Liverpool who wasted another gilt-edged chance to score just after the hour.
Torres was the creator, seconds after being introduced, with a perfect cross that Gerrard somehow slid wide.
But there was no mistake after 73 minutes, when the Spanish international produced a perfect delivery with the outside of his right foot for Gerrard to steal in and head past Jaaskelainen.
Liverpool were suddenly restored to the dominant force of the first half and Jaaskelainen had to be at his acrobatic best to save a 25-yard effort from Xabi Alonso with 10 minutes left.
Gardner had been a lively presence since his introduction, but he wasted another chance by lofting a finish over the onrushing Reina but off target.
Liverpool had further opportunities to finish with a flourish, but Torres hit the outside of an upright and substitute Lucas headed wide when it seemed easier to score.
Their generosity in front of goal did not prove costly, as Liverpool cruised to a deserved three points.
Bolton boss Gary Megson: "We didn't get in their faces in the first half.
"In the second-half we did much better but we made a couple of elementary mistakes and you have huge problems at 2-0 down against a team like that.
"We gave everything we got, missed two fantastic chances, had a goal disallowed that shouldn't have been but we were culpable for both their goals."
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez: "We knew it would be difficult but we tried to keep the ball.
"We were under pressure so that goal was very crucial for us. After that, the game was over.
"We had two or three clear chances in the first half and at the end we could have had a couple more, but the second goal was the key."
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor (Smolarek 84), Nolan, Muamba (Gardner 46), McCann, Elmander, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Helguson, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi.
Booked: Nolan.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt (Leiva Lucas 84), Gerrard, Riera (Benayoun 89), Keane (Torres 59).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Babel, Darby.
Booked: Carragher.
Goals: Kuyt 28, Gerrard 73.
Att: 24,893
Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tottenham 4-2 Liverpool

Carling Cup holders Tottenham strode into the quarter-finals with a clinical win over Liverpool in a thrilling tie.
Three goals in six first-half minutes put the hosts in control, Roman Pavlyuchenko drilling in the opener.
Fraizer Campbell then got his first goals in a Spurs shirt when he clipped home before heading in from 12 yards.
Damien Plessis and Sami Hyypia headed in replies for Liverpool after Heurelho Gomes errors, but Pavlyuchenko tapped in his second in between to wrap it up.
It was an excellent performance from a home side that have been rejuvenated almost beyond recognition under Harry Redknapp, and only three matches now stand between the north Londoners and a return to Wembley where they won the trophy last season.
Liverpool, with some justification, may point to the fact that their side featured 10 changes to the side that beat West Brom at the weekend - but then Spurs themselves had made seven changes to the team that overcame Manchester City on Sunday.
Still, from the off only one side appeared to be in it.
Spurs were effervescent, closing Liverpool down at every opportunity and stringing passes together with a confidence that was so absent under Juande Ramos's reign this season.
Ryan Babel was a bright spark for Liverpool, epitomised by an excellent run into the home box, dribbling past three players, before the attack petered out.
But that was it, with Fernando Torres ineffective on his return from injury, and Spurs took full advantage in a stunning six-minute spell to end the half.
Lennon had come closest to rewarding Tottenham's dominance in the first half hour when he cut inside and saw his shot blocked well by Daniel Agger - but few expected what was to come.
Pavlyuchenko and Campbell had also gone close early in the match and it was that combination that broke the deadlock, the latter latching onto Gareth Bale's pass, out-muscling Sami Hyypia and laying the ball back for the Russian to hammer home.
Three minutes later and it was 2-0 as Campbell made the most of a collision between Reds keeper Diego Cavalieri and Andrea Dossena to collect Jamie O'Hara's pass and roll home.
Gomes is stretchered off the field, but the injury is not as bad as first fearedWhen Campbell headed in Lennon's far-post cross on the stroke of half time, Spurs fans were in dreamland, but Liverpool were thrown a lifeline at the start of the second 45 when Plessis caught Spurs keeper Gomes in no man's land and headed in Babel's corner.
Liverpool's renaissance lasted precisely four minutes, though, as Pavlyuchenko tapped into after Didier Zokora's shot had been deflected.
If Tottenham thought they could relax, they reckoned without another woeful spot of keeping from Gomes, Hyypia the one to benefit this time as the defender nodded in Babel's corner with the Brazilian flapping.
And the mood at White Hart Lane was further dampened minutes later when Gomes went down heavily under Phillipp Degen's challenge and had to be stretchered off after over seven minutes of treatment.
Liverpool sensed an opportunity to get back into the match but, despite Nabil El Zhar causing problems, the visitors' best hope appeared to be when Degen went down under Bale's challenge in the box late on - but replays showed the defender clearly got the ball.
As it was, Spurs saw out a deserved win - their second over Rafael Benitez's side in a fortnight - to make it five victories and a draw for the hosts under Redknapp so far.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:"It was a good win and a good performance - even if we could have done better on corners!
"That's 18 goals we've scored in my five matches in charge - we're bringing in Les Ferdinand as a striking coach and I've told him if we stop scoring it's his fault!
"In all seriousness, though, I've been so pleased with the players. They have tremendous quality and want to win every game - the desire is brilliant.
"Winning's a great habit and we have three strikers who are firing on all cylinders. I'm happy."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:"We did not play well, we did not defend well, and we did not deserve anything from the game.
"In the second half we were a little better, in commitment and in our quality, but after the first half it was impossible.
"I'm happy with my selection - the side was good, we just didn't perform. The only bonus from the match is that Fernando Torres played some minutes, which is good."
Tottenham: Gomes (Cesar 74), Hutton, Dawson, Corluka, Bale, Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone, O'Hara, Pavlyuchenko (Boateng 90), Campbell (Bent 90).Subs Not Used: Bentley, Modric, Gunter, Rocha.
Booked: Pavlyuchenko, Campbell.
Goals: Pavlyuchenko 38, Campbell 42, 45, Pavlyuchenko 52.
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Degen (Darby 84), Babel, Leiva Lucas, Ngog, Plessis (Alonso 66), Torres (Insua 56), El Zhar.Subs Not Used: Gulacsi, Riera, Benayoun, Carragher.
Booked: Plessis, Torres, Babel, Leiva Lucas.
Goals: Plessis 49, Hyypia 63.

Att: 33,242
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Liverpool 3-0 West Brom

Robbie Keane scored his first Premier League goals for Liverpool as they beat West Brom to go three points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table.
A combination of Scott Carson's body and Jonas Olsson's arm prevented Yossi Benayoun's shot opening the scoring.
But there was no stopping Keane when he latched on to Steven Gerrard's pass before clipping the ball over Carson.
Keane scored his second goal when he rounded Carson and slotted home before Alvaro Arbeloa curled in a late third.
Keane will be delighted to get off the mark in the league, following his £20m summer move from Tottenham.
And the Republic of Ireland international took his goals well as Liverpool made sure there would be no repeat of the collapse that saw them lose a lead and fall to defeat at Spurs a week ago.
It helped that this time they were up against a team in West Brom who have not won at Anfield for 41 years.
Once Liverpool went ahead, it never looked as though the visitors would bring an end to that poor run.
The Baggies did make a decent start to the match, enjoying more of the possession, but as soon as Liverpool kicked into gear, they took control of the match.
Keane had the first opening, but shot tamely after Javier Mascherano had prodded the ball through to him.
As Liverpool pressed, the lively Benayoun, starting in place of Xabi Alonso, went close to a goal when he saw his shot hit Carson and then Olsson's arm.
A goal for Liverpool looked inevitable and when Gerrard rolled the ball into the path of Keane, he finished off the move with a deft strike.
Nine minutes later, Keane latched on to Fabio Aurelio's pass, took one touch to go past the onrushing Carson and passed the ball into an empty net with his second touch.
From the sidelines, Fernando Torres - back on the bench after a six-game absence because of injury - would have been impressed with his strike partner's clinical finishing.
There was a sense that Liverpool took their foot off the gas after the interval, while West Brom toiled as they attempted to get themselves back in the game.
Had Ishmael Miller shown a better touch, he might have given the Baggies a lifeline but his poor control when clean through meant a rare chance went begging.
On 72 minutes, Liverpool replaced goalscorer Keane with Torres, with both players receiving rapturous applause from the home fans.
Torres had little chance to make an impact, as Liverpool coasted, but the Spaniard will be relieved to have made his comeback.
In the final seconds, Arbeloa scored with a curling left-foot shot to seal the win, which sees Liverpool leapfrog Chelsea at the top of the table, with the Blues playing at Blackburn on Sunday. Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:"I have had no doubts that he would start to score regularly for us. "Robbie has told me he has got a monkey off his back, not an expression I had heard before but I understand it.
"It was only a matter of time before he scored in the league. He is quick and can punish any mistakes that defenders make, and that is what he did."
West Brom manager Tony Mowbray:"We intended to be positive, to ask Liverpool some questions and go for it."We intended to be attack-minded and for long spells we held our own.
"We had a sloppy 10 minutes and we were punished for that.
"But we had some young strikers out there against top-class defenders. They were a little naive at times."
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Agger, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Gerrard (Alonso 80), Riera (Babel 65), Keane (Torres 72), Kuyt.Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Insua, El Zhar.
Booked: Arbeloa, Mascherano.
Goals: Keane 34, 43, Arbeloa 90.

West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Donk, Robinson, Koren, Borja Valero, Greening, Kim (Filipe Teixeira 56), Bednar (Moore 56), Miller (Brunt 71).Subs Not Used: Kiely, Hoefkens, Dorrans, Pele.
Booked: Olsson.
Att: 43,451
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

Liverpool 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Steven Gerrard rescued Liverpool with a 95th-minute penalty after Maxi Rodriguez's opener had looked set to secure victory for Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool were denied a penalty early on despite Luis Perea appearing to foul Daniel Agger, and instead they went behind when Rodriguez volleyed in.
The Reds felt they were again denied a spot-kick when Perea seemed to handle.
They got their chance at the third time of asking and Gerrard smashed home after he was fouled by Mariano Pernia.
A victory for Liverpool or Atletico would have secured them a place in the knockout stages as PSV Eindhoven were beaten by Marseille in Group G's other match.
And it looked as though the Spaniards were going to seal their progress, until Gerrard's late, late intervention.
Rafael Benitez's men will feel that they should have been awarded a penalty long before that and they had strong cases for two spot-kicks.
As it turned out, the one they were given looked very soft indeed, not that Liverpool will feel an injustice was done given the earlier decisions.
And it rescued a point for Liverpool who are now second in the group, behind Atletico on goal difference.
Atletico enjoyed some good fortune early on when Perea seemed to pull down Agger as he was about to shoot but was not penalised.
But there was nothing fortunate about the move from which they scored their goal.
Johnny Heitinga's driven pass was taken down superbly by Guerrero Antonio Lopez, who then picked out Maxi for an emphatic finish after his first touch took him past Jamie Carragher.
Previously, Liverpool had been warned when Sabrosa Simao volleyed over from 10 yards from Pernia's low cross.
They had responded to that by carving out two quick chances of their own.
Perea took the ball off Steven Gerrard's toes to prevent him getting a shot in and a minute later Robbie Keane latched on to a through ball and tried to round the keeper but was pushed wide.
But then they were stunned by Atletico's strike.
Liverpool stepped up the tempo as they searched for an equaliser, and shortly after the break Keane screamed, unsuccessfully, for a penalty as the ball appeared to hit Perea's hand.
Yet from open play, Liverpool lacked a sense of urgency and penetration, while Atletico maintained their discipline and their counter-attacking threat.
From a set-piece, Agger was unlucky to head just over and later the Dane again nodded off target.
As Liverpool pressed even more, Gerrard went close with a drive, while Dirk Kuyt - not at his best throughout the evening - shot tamely.
With time running out, Carragher saw his shot palmed over by keeper Leo Franco and it looked like being a frustrating night for the hosts.
But then Gerrard went down under a challenge from Pernia and the Liverpol skipper stepped up himself to dispatch the resultant penalty and salvage a draw.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano (Leiva Lucas 77), Alonso, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera (Babel 61), Keane (Ngog 71).Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Benayoun, Degen.
Goals: Gerrard 90 pen.

Atletico Madrid: Franco, Antonio Lopez, Perea, Heitinga, Pernia, Raul Garcia, Paulo Assuncao, Maniche, Maxi, Forlan (Aguero 71), Simao (Luis Garcia 90).Subs Not Used: Coupet, Sinama Pongolle, Banega, Pablo, Camacho.
Booked: Maniche, Perea, Heitinga, Pernia, Aguero.
Goals: Maxi 37.
Att: 42,010
Ref: Martin Hansson (Sweden).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored a late winner as Tottenham came from behind to beat Liverpool and haul themselves off the foot off the Premier League table.
Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool ahead when he smashed in a shot on three minutes.
Darren Bent sliced a clearance against his own post before Steven Gerrard hit the post with a deflected shot and then saw his lob cannon back off the bar.
Jamie Carragher headed into his own net to give Spurs hope and Pavlyuchenko tapped in from Bent's cross to win it.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Tottenham, whose fortunes have been completely revived under the stewardship of new boss Harry Redknapp.
And just as they had against Arsenal in midweek, Spurs seemed to be staring defeat in the face against Liverpool only to come back from the dead.
The visitors, who have now been overtaken by Chelsea at the top of the table, will feel they should have won the game as they largely dominated on a rain-sodden pitch in torrential conditions.
But they were made to pay for missed chances, while Spurs deserve credit for hanging in at times before finishing the game with spirit and belief.
The way Liverpool started the match, it seemed the floodgates were set to open and Spurs were about to be swept away.
Former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane wasted no time in reminding the home fans what they have been missing since his summer switch to Liverpool.
Within three minutes of his return to White Hart Lane, the striker turned sharply away from Ledley King and laid the ball off to Kuyt, who smashed the ball into the top corner from a tight angle.
It was very nearly worse for Spurs when Bent attempted to clear Gerrard's corner but he sliced the ball on to his own post.
With Liverpool enjoying most of the possession, and passing the ball around confidently, there was little for Spurs fans to enjoy.
Their only pleasure may have been to boo Keane every time he touched the ball.
But for all Liverpool's greater fluency, they created few real opportunities.
That said, Tottenham's only effort of note in the first half was a Luka Modric volley from the edge of the box that Pepe Reina dived full length to save.
After the interval, Liverpool stepped up through the gears and created a succession of chances.
First Gerrard struck a volley that Heurelho Gomes did well to on to the post after the ball had been diverted by King's arm.
If that was Gomes at his best, the Brazilian soon showed his worst side when he sold King short with a pass and Gerrard almost scored with a shot that hit the bar.
As Liverpool poured forward, Kuyt sent a shot just over the bar as he slid into the box to connect with a low cross.
Another goal looked a certainty, but it was a total shock when it came as it was Tottenham who got it - and from an unlikely source.
Carragher rose highest to meet a Spurs corner but succeeded only in directing his header into his own goal.
Although the Tottenham players barely celebrated, the goal did have the effect of galvanising their spirits.
And they almost went ahead when Reina spilled the ball to substitute Pavlyuchenko, but the striker blazed over the bar.
However, he was given a chance to redeem himself when Bent saw his shot saved by Reina but reacted to deliver a cross for the Russian to make a hero of himself by notching the winner.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto (Hutton 46), Bentley, Zokora, Huddlestone, O'Hara (Pavlyuchenko 46), Modric (Lennon 75), Bent.Subs Not Used: Cesar, Bale, Gunter, Campbell.
Booked: King.
Goals: Carragher 70 og, Pavlyuchenko 90.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Dossena, Kuyt, Mascherano, Alonso, Riera (Benayoun 78), Gerrard, Keane (Babel 66). Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Aurelio, Leiva Lucas, El Zhar.
Booked: Gerrard, Carragher.
Goals: Kuyt 3.
Att: 36,183
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).