By EddieC, 10-03-2013, 19:53:32
Liverpool are up to sixth place in the Barclays Premier League after Steven Gerrard’s penalty secured a massive 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.
|The Liverpool skipper netted from the spot with eight minutes remaining of a tightly fought contest to ensure the Reds walked away with all three points.
The game also saw Jamie Carragher notch up his 500th league appearance for Liverpool – becoming only the second player to do so in the club’s history.
Both sides had been in good form going into this fixture, and it was hard to predict the outcome of the clash – the TV Bet website was reporting Liverpool as favourites, but the 5/6 odds made it clear that the bookies had no better idea than the fans. The hopes of most Reds must have been dented a little though when the team news confirmed that Pepe Reina would be missing through injury, with Brad Jones deputising.
Liverpool started the game brightly in the opening exchanges, and Sturridge was the first to get the fans out of their seats when he knocked the ball around Lloris. His touch was too heavy though, and as a result Spurs were able to avert danger.
At the other end, Gareth Bale’s free-kick caught Jones offguard – the Australian keeper giving the Anfield faithful a scare as he failed to hold on to the ball at the first time of asking.
First blood went to Liverpool on 21 minutes when Suarez opened the scoring. Jose Enrique used his strength to keep the Spurs defenders at bay before playing a clever flicked pass through to the Uruguayan, who deftly tucked the ball underneath Lloris with one touch.
Spurs were quick to remind the Reds not to get complacent, with first Gylfi Sigurdsson going close before Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired his shot directly at Jones.
An equaliser did arrive for the visitors on the stroke of half-time. Bale found Vertonghen at the back post with his cross, and the Spurs defender was able to head the ball in under a weak challenge from Glen Johnson.
It was Vertonghen who netted again as Spurs then went ahead on 53 minutes. The Liverpool defence failed to clear their lines following Bale’s free-kick into the box and the Belgian international was in the right place to poke home from eight yards.
They almost extended their lead moments later when Sigurdsson strode onto Bale’s pass, but a last ditch challenge from Johnson was enough to see the midfielder’s shot deflected onto the post.
Just as the Liverpool players seemed to be losing a bit of their fight, Spurs gifted the home side a way back into the match.
Kyle Walker’s looping back pass from the halfway line fell short and left Lloris racing from his line to clear the ball. The Spurs keeper miscued his clearance and the ball broke for Stewart Downing to slot home through the legs of Vertonghen to level the scores.
Spirits were clearly lifted, and the Reds pushed on in search of a winner. Sturridge headed into the side netting from Downing’s cross before seeing an appeal for a penalty rejected – there was contact from the defender but his theatrical tumble probably didn’t aid his cause.
The winner came with eight minutes of the game remaining. Assou-Ekotto bundled Suarez over in the box, setting up Gerrard with the perfect opportunity to finish the game from the penalty spot. Anfield erupted as the skipper coolly fired the ball into the bottom corner to seal the win, seeing Liverpool leapfrog Everton in the league table – albeit having played one more game.