By AmericanKopite, 28-11-2012, 22:42:49
Seventh place Tottenham Hotspur welcomed Merseyside’s Liverpool FC for a clash of mid-table clubs looking to claw their way back to the top four. White Hart Lane saw a thrilling match of two lopsided halves to shake up the table.
|Spurs were off to a flying start only five minutes in, forcing a corner from a rocket of a free kick from Gareth Bale. But it wasn’t the end for Liverpool’s worries early on as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon caught the away defence sleeping and were able to make a quick one-two to knock in the first goal seven minutes in.Fortune favoured the Spurs as Clint Dempsey picked up a minor shove from Jordan Henderson in the 15th minute that led to a blistering free kick from Gareth Bale that caught goalkeeper Pepe Reina off guard and flew into the bottom left corner of the net for the two-nil.
Liverpool were not to be left behind in the dust as it took until the 35th minute for them to wake up and get good passing in. The away side gained valuable possession and made great use of it, slowing the tempo to their comfortable speed and landing shot after shot for the next six minutes, but to no avail.
Controversy struck soon after when Steven Gerrard received a push to the ground and into the knee of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but referee Phil Dowd shrugged off the challenge and allowed play to continue to the sound of a very frustrated Liverpool side. The frustration of the scoreline showed a minute later when Martin Skrtel was lucky to get away with just a yellow for his rash tackle from behind on Gareth Bale.
The halftime whistle was a much welcomed sound for the visiting side and the 15 minute respite would prove useful in their hunt for any points at all.
Liverpool were determined to change the story as the first half started with Jose Enrique taking his free-roam role with ferocity, charging to goal and landing a soft shot to the hands of Hugo Lloris 35 seconds into the half.
The Liverpool pressure continued to rain down with Brendan Rodger’s side making great use of wingers Jose Enrique, Glen Johnson, and Raheem Sterling to curve balls into the box all night.
54 minutes in is when Tottenham made their first second half attempt on goal through Moussa Dembele, but it was weak and miles above the net.
Moments later Jonjo Shelvey was seen having a chat with Brendan Rodgers over his job for the rest of the evening as a 62nd minute change would see him take the place of fellow midfielder, Jordan Henderson. A simultaneous change was made by Spurs as Gylfi Sigurdsson was brought on for American international Clint Dempsey.
Gareth Bale’s scoring intentions continued to look strong with another free kick that stretched Pepe Reina in the 70th minute, almost putting Spurs up three-nil. Jose Enrique was at the other end just two minutes later continuing his own scoring intentions with a weak header that was deflected for a Jonjo Shelvey corner.
The corner went to the head of Steven Gerrard on the far post who’s header was deflected down to the foot of Aaron Lennon who then rocketed a clearance straight into the face of Gareth Bale standing just inches away from Lennon. Bale, who assisted Lennon’s goal for Spurs was returned the favour and scored for Liverpool using his face.
Gareth Bale’s name remained on commentator’s lips as his dive earned him a yellow card in the 77th minute. In that same minute Brendan Rodgers made his second change with Moroccan international Oussama Assaidi coming on for Stewart Downing.
79 minutes in and the Liverpool corners continued to rain down with even more added pressure and clever play ending in a rocket of a shot from Luis Suarez standing right over the penalty spot that sailed over the net. Suarez’ kneeling expression of desperation said it all. Jose Enrique was determined to continue raining shots down when his 87th minute laser from 30 yards whistled past the left post.
88 minutes in and Tottenham used their final change when Tom Huddlestone came on for Moussa Dembele while William Gallas was receiving treatment for this injured thigh.
The pressure was ratcheted up when Luis Suarez was tripped in the area by the recently treated William Gallas, and the Tottenham was awarded a free kick away toward their attacking area after Raheem Sterling was charged will pulling a Spurs player down.
Phil Dowd’s questionable refereeing saw no end when the second yellow card was given out to Jose Enrique for Aaron Lennon’s dive on a touchline. But Liverpool didn’t give up, and neither did the away fans. Although their valiant second half effort was for nought.
This wild and controversial game of two halves ended Liverpool’s eight game unbeaten streak and their top four mountain only increase in grade.
Final score at White Hart Lane; Tottenham Hotspur 2 – Liverpool 1.
Weekend football resumes as normal on Saturday, 1st December, as Liverpool will host newly promoted Southampton. The Thursday after that will be a major test for Brendan Rodgers’ outfit as Liverpool travels to Italy for a win or go home Europa League fixture against Udinese.