With both teams hitting a
bit of form since the turn of the year, this could be a closer encounter
than it might have been a few weeks back.
The match at Anfield
earlier in the season saw Tottenham take a surprise point at a ground
they hardly ever do well at, but the two sides have had disappointing
campaigns so far, with Tottenham's more so than Liverpool's. Both
sides have been injury hit and the players have pulled themselves
together for the last three games all of which both sides have won.
The younger elements of
the teams have given the fans hope for the future, with Liverpool's
Sinama Pongolle, Le Tallec, John Welsh and Chris Kirkland replacing some
of the older French guard as Diomede and Traore ready to move out.
There is a lot of potential in the imported and home-grown youth players
and this means that the side could be strong in coming years.
The bulk of the side is
one that Houllier has bought. Heskey and Smicer get stick, but do
work hard off the ball, while Gerrard and Owen are the star names who
take the glory. Baros is coming back from injury and might not
play, but he is a young striker with an eye for goal and has great skill
with quick feet. If Owen did go, he will be a ready made
replacement, although it looks like Djibril Cisse is the one they will
bring in during the coming summer as the new forward.
The goalkeeping position
has been a bit of a poison chalice lately, with both Dudek and Kirkland
getting injured, resulting in the arrival of Paul Jones from SCBC on
loan, to provide cover. If Jones does play, he might remember the
seven goals we out past him on a visit with his other club a few years
back. Dudek is a good stopper and Kirkland will develop into a
fine all-round goalie when he gets a permanent run in the side.
With Carragher just about
coming back from a broken leg and unlikely to feature, the Reds will
depend on Hyypia, Henchoz, Riise and Biscan in defence. Sami
Hyypia is one of the most respected central defenders in the top flight
and wins most things in the air. If Zamora is played up against
him, he might find it a demoralising experience, while Postiga will
prefer the ball on the floor, as will Keano. Henchoz blends well
with his Finnish partner, although on his own lacks a little pace and
can be rash in the tackle. Biscan had a long period out of the
side and is not well appreciated by the side's supporters, as he did not
establish a position of his own in the team. Slipping into defence
has given him a run in the side, but he might still be on the fringes
once everyone else comes back.
Didi Hamann is
approaching the veteran stage, but still can command the midfield, with
the ability to pass and move, then get forward to hit accurate shots
from distance. His value to the side is in making the play tick
over and a player like that could work wonders for Tottenham.
Harry Kewell always plays well against Tottenham. He has great
skill and vision and has blended in with his team-mates after a sticky
patch at the start of his Liverpool career. He will need to be
watched very closely by the Spurs men. England midfielder Danny
Murphy is hugely under-rated for what he does ... mainly because he does
it so effectively without fuss. No Liverpool fan I talk to can see
what Houllier does in Bruno Cheyrou. Even though he recently
scored the winner against Chelsea, they think he would be better off
somewhere else. Still young, he might need to settle in a bit
more, before winning the fans over.
Poyet will be missing
serving the first match of his suspension, which might open up the
midfield for Michael Brown to start. A busy player, he could be
what is needed to mix it with the visiting midfielders. Up front
we will be missing Kanoute who is away with Mali. The like for
like choice would be Zamora, but I think Postiga might be given a go up
front with Robbie, although Pleat might prefer Bobby's hard-working
style to shut down the wing backs of Liverpool. The defence should
be the same as the last few games, with Richards still recovering and
that could be for the best, as speed will be needed if Owen or Pongolle
While Spurs have hit a
patch of good form, I would like to think that the side will have enough
pride to put in a good performance against Liverpool after seeing off
lesser opposition. Liverpool are on the up as well, so my
prediction is for a sharing of the points ...
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 1 Liverpool 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
VIEW FROM THE OTHER
How do you think your team have played so far this
That depends on what games you pick out. We've been so up and down
this season it's unbelievable. The moans and groans against
Houllier have increased as the season has gone on and rightly so when
you see the rubbish we've produced far to often. In saying all
that you look at the way we can play sometimes and you see why we get so
frustrated. We tore Arsenal apart at Anfield in the first half but
never scored and succumbed to the killer goal. We battered Bolton
at Christmas but then we looked ordinary say against Charlton away and
What are your hopes for the outcome of this season
Finishing fourth in the league obviously would be our biggest aim this
year and that says so much about us. The top three look gone
although Chelsea may yet waver enough that we really should look to push
them for third. A decent run in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup would be
good as well although it will only serve to save Le Boss if we really go
for it and win something.
Who do you think is your best player at the
Sadly he's missing for this game and that's Steven Gerrard. Stevie
has really moved on a step since getting the captaincy. The real
man in form for us though at the moment is Didi Hamann who is simply
awesome at the moment. Hamann just sits and mops everything up in
front of the defence and then moves the ball on to the creative players.
We so missed him in
the early stages of the season.
Which player isn't playing as well in recent
El Hadji Diouf but thankfully in a sense he's off to the ANC. He
started this season well but just drifted as the season moved on.
At least him being away on international duty it saves the referee time
Any exciting players who have come into the squad
that we should look out
Florent Sinama-Pongolle - with the injuries to Baros and Owen this
season he's come on quicker than expected but he's a real hard working
player and needs a run in the team a bit. With a run in the side
he would relax a bit more as the one thing I've noticed with him so far
is he often mis-controls early on in moves which lets the move go a bit.
Have you been hit by the call on your players
by the African Nations Cup ?
Diao has gone which really doesn't affect us one bit cos he's so poor
anyway. Diouf going will perhaps have an effect on us but as I
said he hasn't played as well of late to be fair. Who replaces him
will be interesting.
Heskey - for or against ?
I think that sums that one up nicely. Heskey in fairness has
actually picked up a little in the last two games but it's only since
he's realised his career is on the line. Non Liverpool fans wonder
how he gets to play for England. I wonder how he gets to play for
the Reds. A bag of chips and a mars bar and you can have him :o)
And what is your view on Houllier's tenure as
Houllier came in and moved us forward quickly and also seemed to be building
a decent base for the future. That really leveled out though and
his signings for big money have really concerned me. We play dull
football but the players are the ones who make a side. The players
who have come in as a result of our injury list have shown that they
simply aren't good enough. The manager complains about the injury list
but it's the same man who has brought the replacements in as well.
Quite honestly he's coming up with more excuses these days than your
enemy man down at Highbury.
Does he have as tempestuous a relationship with
Phil Thompson as it looks like ?
Tommo is too much of a glove puppet to Houllier for me to be honest.
He's a fiery character - as if you didn't work that one out eh. He
backs Houllier all the way though and if you look in the club both are
just as likely to fall out with players and ship them on.
Westerveld, Camara, Fowler, Litmanen etc;
Are you surprised that Tottenham have been scraping the bottom reaches
of the Premiership this season ?
The whole premiership has been a surprise to be honest. Take the
top three out and exclude Wolves a couple of wins or losses can really
push you up and down the league. There's ten points between us and
Portsmouth at the moment in 17th. That said I did expect a little
more from Spurs this season in terms of scoring. The front line
looked far better. For me the
big weak link is the midfield. It lacks something which then
exposes the defence to more attack and they'll crumble after a while as
well. Someone like Hamann would be a god send to you lot to sit in
front of the defence. Having Anderton and Poyet isn't the way forward
really. Experience maybe but old and decrepit on the other.
Which Spurs player do you think will cause
problems for your side ?
Robbie Keane can be a right handful up front for you if he's in the mood
and I've been impressed with Dalmat of late to be honest. He looks
a decent player. Getting a top manager in could be the key to
keeping him though.
What is the line-up expected to be ?
Paul Jones will continue in goal and based on last week will do us a
good job again. Henchoz, Biscan, Hyypia and Traore I suspect will be in
defence although Riise may keep his place. The left back slot has
been a problem to be honest since Carragher broke his leg. Neither
player is consistent enough and offer different things. Traore is
more defensive yet Riise attacks more.
Midfield will see Murphy, Hamann, Kewell and I suspect Smicer if he
recovers from his ankle twist in time. If Smicer doesn't recover
then I'd be expecting either Cheyrou or Le Tallec to come in and start.
Up front Owen and Heskey with Pongolle itching to come on for the last
twenty for Owen off the bench.
What do you reckon the score will be ?
I'm always optimistic and despite my love of stats always ignore them
end expect us to win. I'll carry that on and go for a 2-0 win.
Spurs will miss Kanoute more than they would hope I think up front and
Thanks to Andy at Liverweb
Christian Ziege (thigh);
Jonathan Blondel (knee); Jamie
Redknapp (knee); Dean Richards (calf); Gus Poyet (suspended); Fredi
Kanoute (international duty)
LIVERPOOL : - Milan
Baros (ankle); Salif Diao (ankle); Steven Gerrard (thigh); Chris
Kirkland (finger); Steve Finnan (knee); Jamie Carragher (recovering from
broken leg); El Hadji Diouf (international duty)
TV : No live UK coverage. Highlights on "The
Premiership" - ITV Saturday evening (10.30 p.m.) and Sunday morning
Sport 1 HU
Premiere Sport 1
ART Sport 2
Sky Sport 1 (Italy)
TV Sport RO
ART Sport 2
C+ Deporte 1
PPV on many US Channels.
Radio : None found
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
Live webcast (Subscription service only);
Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1
(Half-time score : 1-0)
|Saturday 17th January 2004
|Venue : - White Hart Lane
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Cold, light rain in
|Crowd : - 36,104
|Referee : - U. Rennie
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Carr (c), Gardner, Doherty, Taricco;
Davies, Anderton, Brown, Dalmat (Jackson 46); Keane, Postiga (Zamora 79)
Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Bunjevcevic, Kelly
Liverpool : - Jones; Traore (Riise 61), Hyypia (c),
Biscan (Finnan 67), Henchoz; Cheyrou, Hamann, Murphy,
Kewell; Owen, Heskey
Unused subs: Dudek, Le Tallec, Carragher
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - Keane (pen) 25,
Liverpool - Kewell 76
|Cards : -
Tottenham - Carr
Liverpool - Hamann
The last time Tottenham took four points
from Liverpool must have been when I was a boy !! But today, the
team ... and I emphasise team, played really well and despite a late
scare held onto what they had earned in the first hour of the game.
Tottenham to be two up against another side who had a 100% record this
year is quite an achievement considering what they were playing like
before Christmas. For them to beat a form side like Liverpool and
one from the top ten in the league is a major improvement on what had
gone before this season. The club's record against top half teams
was very poor and while it is important to pick up points against the
teams around you, to gain points from the sides at the top of the table
is necessary to boost confidence and to improve the standing of the
As the teams lined up, the
absence of Ledley King was of concern, playing as well as he had been of
late. With Poyet suspended, Michael Brown came in for a debut full
of effort and running, which will stand the team in good stead to have
someone like him doing the hard work. The Doc kept his place in
the back four and he has a prescription to be included on the team-sheet
now, with his recent fine form.
first action of the game came at the Tottenham end, as Liverpool
launched a route one attack on the Spurs goal. Jones kicks long,
Heskey heads on and Owen turns to strike a fine volley that fizzed past
the right hand post of Keller's goal. With Tottenham playing the
ball about confidently, sometimes, it looked a little too comfortable,
with Doherty and Gardner both nearly conceding possession in dangerous
positions, before redeeming their errors.
was in for the Mali striker Kanoute and he was determined to make his
mark on the team. In the fifth minute he took the ball well on the
left corner of the box and cut inside Henchoz. With little
back-lift he hit a shot that Jones just about managed to get behind as
it swerved laterally as it got near him. Both sides were trying to
establish supremacy and were passing the ball about with abandon.
The one concern from Tottenham's point of view was that Keane seemed to
want to do everything himself and was not overly bothered about passing
to Helder. The reverse also showed itself to be true in the second
half, but there needs to be some understanding between them if we are to
maintain the good run in Fredi's absence.
all seemed so simple when Anthony Gardner strode forward and picked out
a pass through the middle of the Liverpool defence, allowing Robbie to
run at Biscan and getting away from him, manoeuvred the ball between him
and the defender, so when the red-shirted number 25 got a tackle in (or
should that be at the second attempt), he only succeeded in falling on top of Keano. It was still a shock when Rennie pointed to the penalty
spot and it must have been against all he holds to be true to give Spurs
anything, let alone a penalty !! Anyway, Keane got up to hit the
ball sweetly and even though Jones almost got to it, it wasn't enough to
stop Tottenham taking the lead.
Liverpool had a short spell of pressure with corners and long throws
into the Spurs box that they could not adequately clear, the first shot
that Keller had to save was right on half-time, when Hamann laid the
ball into the path of Cheyrou and his shot went low and was grasped to
Keller's midriff as he got everything behind the ball.
star of recent matches, Stephane Dalmat had been fleetingly involved in
the game, but had not produced his usual dynamic running from
midfield. In fact, it took ten minutes before he got the ball
!! He did show a couple of fleet-footed shimmies to go past 'Pool
players, but a heavy tackle saw him replaced at half-time by Johnnie
Jackson, who put in a good effort on the left side of midfield, while
Davies moved to the right. This gave Tottenham a nice balance and
Jacko's left footed delivery can be a potent weapon.
were pushed back a bit more by the red tide in the second period, but
there were few moments of panic in the defence. Heskey climbed
over Carr to head wide just after the interval, while Stevie had to be
alert to clear the ball from the box with the Boro-bound striker
lurking. Liverpool were picking up the ball in midfield a little
too easily when the ball was cleared and the waves of attacks threatened
to open Tottenham up, but they mostly foundered on the twin
centre-halves of Gardner and Doherty. Anthony produced one
memorable tackle on Owen as he went through (although Cheyrou got in a
tackle that nearly took the ball in) and Doc was determined to be first
to as many balls as he could get to. The feeble fallings of Hamann
and Kewell were bought by Rennie every time and perhaps by good wall
placement and by poor shooting, Tottenham escaped suffering from any of
the free-kicks they were awarded. Hamann entered the book for a
shameful slash at Brown, while Carr joined him for a trip on Hamann.
It seemed every time that someone went near the German, he simply
stopped playing and made a pleading face at the ref to gain a
free-kick. He did not even give up at the end, taking time to give
Rennie his view of how Liverpool should have own the match.
reason they didn't was the second goal by Spurs. Almost ten
minutes into the second half, Johnnie Jackson got the ball out on the
left and picked out an astute pass that bounced nicely for the
on-running Postiga. Biscan who was with him almost got alongside,
but Helder waited for him to make a move and as he tried to tackle,
Spurs' Portuguese striker hung out a foot to guide the ball away from
Jones' right hand and inside his post. He didn't go for power, as
he had done a few minutes previously - leaving Keano furious in the
middle, wanting a pass rather than Postiga's shot that flew over from a
very narrow angle. The finish shows that the boy has touch and
finesse and is not all about scoring powerhouse goals. It will add
confidence to his undoubted ability and will go a long way to shutting
up those, like the "experts" on the radio, who said that
Liverpool were so bad that Postiga scored against them !!
one decent attack developed from their defence, was played through to
Heskey's head, which won out over Taricco and the ball dropped to Kewell
in the outside right position. He took the ball and cut inside in
one movement, producing a shot that left Keller sprawling as it went in
at his near post. With 14 minutes left, Tottenham looked suddenly
to be hanging on. Some desperate defending kept the ball out of
the box and some poor final balls aided the cause. Even a helping
hand from ref Rennie who failed to spot a handball from Gary Doherty as
the game came to an end went a long way to ensuring that the points came
our way. To lose two points after being in control for so long
would have been typically Tottenham, but maybe the new Spurs will make
sure that given a lead they will hang onto it until the end.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - ANTHONY GARDNER
|Two goal-scorers of differing
pasts and differing presents gave Tottenham a win over the
under-achieving one-time giants of Liverpool in this absorbing match.
Robbie Keane is known for his
goal-scoring across the world. Having done it in the Premier
League, Serie A and in the World Cup finals, he is a player you would
stake a large amount on as first goal-scorer in any match.
Therefore, his move to get onto a through ball from Gardner and his
skill in taking it away from Biscan before inducing the Croatian
defender to foul him, was a typical Keane manouevre. He grabbed
the ball, put it down on the spot and stuck it away to the keeper's
right and with just enough pace to take it past his dive.
Helder Postiga has unfairly being
given a "super-flop" tag since his arrival at White Hart
Lane. A regular scorer for both Porto and Portugal's Under-21s, he
has made the decision to come to a different country to expand his
footballing experience and to look to improve. At 21, he has the
best years of his footballing life ahead of him, but the media expect an
instant return on the £6.25 million Spurs shelled out for the
striker. His goal against Manchester City was warmly welcomed, but
this was a vindication of the wait. Papers have carped on about
him not scoring in nearly five months, but he has been in and out of the
side and has been accustoming himself to the physical nature of the
Premiership over the more sedate surroundings of the Portuguese
league. but the way that he took his goal was class. He
didn't snatch at it. He didn't try to take the back of the net
out. He just waited for the right moment and met it with enough
placement to see it hit the net. From the look of his first touch
in the match here against Leeds early on in the season, he showed that
he has great technique and there are few enough forwards who can score
from almost nothing. You get the feeling that when Helder fits
into the side and feels comfortable with the way the English game is
played, he will make sure everyone knows about it.
From what was on offer today,
Gary Doherty looks like someone made to step into the boots of the oft
injured Dean Richards and Michael Brown showed more in this game than
his opponent in midfield Danny Murphy, who is almost an England squad
regular. Anthony Gardner showed real England class too and in
front of Sven Goran Eriksson, he must have been as happy with his own
performance as that of the team that earned the result. Every time
the ball went forward, Anthony picked it off and started to move
Tottenham forward. His silky running with the ball out of defence
was a feature of the game and only once, when he got the ball tangled up
between his feet in the first half, did he look trobled. Taricco
stuck to what he should do most of the time and that is defend and that
was what he did very well today, while Carr was willing to get forward a
lot more than he had earlier in the season. Not only does he
provide a threat down the right when he does this, but he also pushes
back their wing-back, thus blunting any attacking potential there might
be down that flank.
Simon Davies is looking like he
hasn't been away, with a dynamic display and one that showed his value
to the side, while Anderton wasn't outstanding today, but kept things
ticking over and chased back when required to do so. As Stephane Dalmat
saw little of the ball and was the target for some crunching tackles,
his ability had little opportunity to shine, but the one bright spot in
midfield was the debut of Michael Brown. Again, nothing
spectacular, but he shut people down, got tackles in and when he got the
ball, he made sure it was passed on to someone who could do something
with it. Another link player in midfield, who used his abilities
to add to the performance of the team. When players used to get
the other side's players moaning about them tackling them, it used to be
known as "letting them know you're there". Well, Michael
Brown is here !!
As for our more illustrious
opponents, their are shades of red which they will exhibit more than
their heroes of the past. Many of the side were just not up for it
on the day and others switched off at vital moments. Biscan has
been out of the side for long periods since his arrival at Anfield, but
it is not hard to see why. I thought he was a midfielder, but his
selection in the back four looked to unsettle what is usually a sound
partnership of Henchoz and Hyypia. He was involved in both
Tottenham goals and was guilty of other errors which must have put an
element of doubt in the minds of his team-mates. Hamann tried to
drive his side on, but his concentration was more on begging the ref for
free-kicks rather than on the game. The midfield was missing the
presence of Steve Gerrard and that was a crucial factor in Tottenham's
They came strong towards the end,
but then they had to at 0-2 down and time running out. The long
ball game was their most effective tactic, using Heskey as a focal
point. From the fourth minute punt downfield from Jones, he headed
on for Owen to swivel and hit a cracking volley a yard wide through to
the 75th minute long ball that the unpopular striker headed on to Kewell
out on the right to take the ball on and rifle a low drive in past
Keller's attempted stop.
It wasn't a vintage Liverpool
performance, but then it isn't a vintage Liverpool side. Disrupted
by injury and calls from the African Nations Cup, changes had been made,
but then Tottenham were in the same position and have been for about
four years on the injury front.
The only thing that saved
Tottenham was Uriah Rennie ... and I never thought I would say those
words !! however, the fact that he missed Owen's touch onto Gary
Doherty's hand was entirely in keeping with his performance on the
day. The fact that he awarded nearly twice as many free-kicks to
Liverpool was testament to his view of the game. It looked like a
whistle was going to be blown every time a red shirt hit the turf, while
all a Spurs player got when a white shirt hit the ground was
muddy. The ref had failed to send off Biscan when he brought down
Keane for the penalty, as the striker bore down on goal, but with one
wave of his hand to dismiss the penalty appeals, the last Reds chance
had gone. The reaction from some of the players to him, with hands
being laid on him, should have seen the book brought out again, but in
my opinion, Rennie appears to believe that if he doesn't book too many
players he has had a good game. Nothing could be further from the
truth and the sooner that he is removed from the Premiership list, the
more I will enjoy matches, as I don't come to watch him.
My one abiding memory of this
game will be Helder Postiga's relief in getting his first Premier League
goal, but also of the team's joy in the striker getting his first in the
league. The celebration of his goal was one of a team rather than
an individual who scored it and that is the way that Tottenham will
progress. As a team. It doesn't have to be about stars, as
Doherty has shown. His grit and determination have seen him play
blinders for a few games on the trot. It might not last, but he is
willing to spill blood for Tottenham and mixed with other players who
are willing to put in as much effort combined to the natural skills that
others bring, the side could go far. I hope it doesn't blind the
management to the fact that we still need to add to the squad in certain
positions, but things have suddenly turned around and it is now up to
the team to keep that going to prove there is more to it than a flash in
this weekend/week :