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Match Reports
Liverpool v Spurs, 22.09.01


Litmanen, 57

Attendance:- 44,116

Referee:- Dermot Gallagher


Liverpool (4-4-2):- Dudek; Carragher, Henchoz, Hyppia, Vignal; Barmby, Biscan, Hamann, Riise; Litmanen (sub Owen, 67, sub McAllister, 83), Fowler (Capt) (sub Heskey, 59)

Subs not used:- Kirkland; Wright

Booked:- Vignal (Foul on Rebrov)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Sullivan; Taricco, Perry, King, Ziege; Poyet, Freund, Anderton, Davies (sub Rebrov, 73); Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand

Subs not used:- Keller; Thelwell; Leonhardsen, Etherington

Booked:- Freund (Foul)

On the back of their midweek win at Sunderland, and facing a Liverpool side without the suspended Steven Gerard, and his rested England colleagues Owen and Heskey, Spurs were entitled to feel confident about getting something out of this game, despite the fact that Anfield has been a fortress that Spurs have not pierced for League points for so long. Indeed, Spurs did have a good share of the possession, particularly in the first half, but they failed to convert that into solid chances, whereas Sullivan was kept busy by the likes of Houllier's most recent outfield signings, Jari Litmanen (getting a rare outing here), and John Arne Riise, enjoying more freedom to go forward from his left midfield position today.

Michael Owen did make a substitute appearance, but was on the field for only 15 minutes, before limping off with a pulled hamstring that will keep him out of England's forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Greece. Spurs played some pretty football, and when it works they look very good. Their vocal away support was often frustrated by a wayward final ball, though, particularly today from Darren Anderton. It was Les Ferdinand who nearly got first blood when he headed towards the target at the back post from a Ziege corner, only for ex-Spurs Barmby to be stationed at the post and clear the ball.

After 7 minutes, Vignal struck from deep with a dipping shot that landed on Sullivan's bar. Riise was the main early danger though, and forced a Sullivan save after winning a battle with Taricco on the edge of the box. The Norwegian was to be the provider of a dangerous cross, and to force another save with a header from a right field cross. Spurs made a very nice move from the back with a clearance to Ferdinand, who quickly brought Taricco into the play. From Taricco's ball, Poyet tried a first time shot, which lacked power, and accuracy.

Steffen Freund was gifted the ball from a poor clearance, passed to Sir Ted, who provided the chance for Ferdinand, only for Les to shoot straight at Dudek, who should have been more stiffly tested. Once again, Ferdinand was to be given several golden opportunities, only for them to go wanting. After 32 minutes, Robbie Fowler flicked to Litmanen, whose shot was saved by Sullivan, and pushed into the side netting. Mr Gallagher failed to give the corner that was warranted. Barmby then gave Fowler an opportunity, but Sullivan saved the shot comfortably under his bar.

Barmby was out to make the most of his chance to shine, and cleverly beat Ziege with a fine piece of chest control, to race into the box and be thwarted by Ledley King and Chris Perry, both of whom had fine games. Dean Richards was watching from the stand, and on this form, will need Glenn to start with three at the back to be sure of a place against the Champions next week. Litmanen's run from left to right across the defence was spotted by Hamann, and Litmanen was through in a one on one against the Spurs keeper. Sullivan saved, but I also think the ball was going just wide anyway.

Spurs responded through the twin pronged veteran attack - always strong in the air, and Ziege had a powerful shot saved by Dudek. There was time before the interval for Litmanen to give Ziege the slip, but Sullivan had an easy save to make. After the break, Spurs had a fine move starting through Poyet on the left, and continuing through Anderton and Taricco. Les Ferdinand made it to the bye line and sent a cross beyond the keeper but only Liverpool defenders were in the path of the ball.

Liverpool gained the lead after breaking when Anderton lost the ball outside the Liverpool box. Riise was the provider for Litmanen who was given too much room by Spurs and cracked a right foot shot across Sullivan from fully 22 yards. The ball rebounded into goal from the post, and the Finn ran into the Kop to celebrate.

Spurs were allowed ages to take a free kick whilst Sheringham tied his laces, and Poyet got on the end of the Anderton kick, only to be adjudged to have fouled on the way. The ball was saved anyway.There were to be more frantic efforts by Spurs, but to be honest, they once again lost the level of composure that they had displayed before going down. Owen was the source of some excitement in the little time he was on the field, beating Ziege on the right, and sending a low cross into the 6 yard box which just eluded Heskey. Owen did his hamstring when racing onto a ball lost in the middle by Ferdinand, but hit the ball wide when overstretching.

As mentioned earlier, the away support was marvellous throughout, and acknowledged by Hoddle and the team, who I think continue to be lifted by the support given. Next week's game against Manchester United should be a real humdinger!

Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions

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