Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Liverpool 0 Tottenham 0

Spurs, without their manager and a number of first choice players took a hard-earned point from Liverpool at Anfield and having defended for much of the  game could have won it late on with the best chance of the match.
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Liverpool 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Team: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar (Rose), Livermore, Parker, Modric, Bale; Adebayor (Saha). Subs (unused): Cudicini, Nelsen, Khumalo, Fredericks, Luongo, Lancaster

Brad Friedel
Spurs were satisified with a point at Anfield considering the injuries to crucial players which greatly weakened the team.  Without manager, Harry Redknapp, stranded in London due to fog causing the postponement of his flight to Liverpool, Spurs had also lost Younes Kaboul, Rafael Van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Sandro to injury.  The players who came in as replacements gave their all as the whole team battled to take a deserved point, led by Scott Parker who was everywhere especially during the last fifteen minutes when Liverpool increased the tempo and their efforts to snatch the win. 

In the first half Spurs comfortably repelled Liverpool's attacking threat which mostly involved hoisting high balls towards Andy Carroll.  Michael Dawson stood up well to this test and it was Spurs who had the first shot on target after thirty minutes - a Niko Kranjcar effort which the goalkeeper saved at the second attempt.  

The final fifteen minutes of the half brought a number of attempts on goal without causing either goalkeeper any great difficulty.  A couple of minutes later Liverpool caused their first major threat when a shot from Spearing curled wide with the former Liverpool goalkeeper, Brad Friedel at full stretch.  

As the commentator said, to this point, 'Spurs were coping impressively' and then Friedel had to scramble across his goal to deal with a cross from Johnson.  At the other end, a good run by Emmanuel Adebayor released Kyle Walker on the right and his cross was flicked towards goal by Gareth Bale.  After a long series of passes, Spurs again found Walker whose run and shot was blocked for a corner and in the last action of the half Friedel saved well from Johnson.

In the first half Spurs had been content to sit back and deny Liverpool but after the interval they came under increasing pressure and were finding it difficult to make any forward progress, with Adebayor isolated, and as they looked to threaten Bale was booked for diving.  This seemed to spark Bale and Adebayor into action as Spurs looked more purposeful for a few moments but then Liverpool regained the ascendancy with Friedel being called into action.

With an hour gone, Friedel made a good save, for a corner, from a shot by Kelly and then Agger headed wide from a corner.  Carroll had a header from a corner saved by Friedel.  

Liverpool brought on Luis Suarez with twenty five minutes to play and his introduction lifted the crowd and he was immediately in the action dispossessing Benoit Assou-Ekotto and heading towards goal.  He was then booked for kicking Parker in the stomach, having been on the pitch for only five minutes.

With twenty minutes to go Louis Saha made his Spurs debut replacing Adebayor and he played a good ball to Bale whose shot went wide.  Carroll had a shot over from a cross from the right.  Friedel again bravely punched clear from a dangerous free-kick and earned a free-kick for dangerous play.  

As Liverpool increased their efforts, with six minutes to play, the best chance of the evening fell to Spurs when Bale was put through by a lovely pass from Kranjcar.  Bale had got behind the home defence for the only time in the night to be one on one against Reina but the goalkeeper got a foot to block the shot and the ball was cleared. 

Spurs withstood Liverpool's final efforts to score with Scott Parker putting himself on the line time and time again - to block shots, put in a tackle or get the ball cleared.  As is often said in these circumstances, that was a game Spurs would have lost in the past but it's also a game other 'top' teams would have won, given that late goal scoring opportunity.

Overall, it was a well won point by Spurs, taking into account all the circumstances, and it keeps them just behind United and City but ahead of the chasing pack.  Brad Friedel, Michael Dawson, Scott Parker, Niko Kranjcar and Jake Livermore worked tirelessly throughout the game to deny Liverpool while Ledley King was his usual calming influence, organising those around him in defence.

Scott Parker
The stats from last night show Scott Parker's contribution to Spurs earning a point at Anfield, with many of the blocks and clearances coming in the final minutes at a time in the match when Liverpool were making a fianl effort to take the three points and  and when traditionally Spurs would have wilted under the pressure:
2 tackles
5 interceptions
7 clearances
3 shots blocked
89% passing accuracy

If Tottenham are to put in a challenge for the title then they need to win against Newcastle United on Saturday evening at White Hart Lane and then put together a winning sequence that really threatens the Manchester teams.



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