|Saturday 17th January 2004
White Hart Lane, London
TOTTENHAM 2-1 LIVERPOOL
|After this game: Pos 5th Pl 21 Pts 32|
|MATCH REPORT - Spurs 2-1 Liverpool|
Keane 25 pen
Helder Postiga took up the challenge to prove himself in English football as he helped Spurs maintain their 100% start to 2004 - and shatter Liverpool's own record in the process.
The Portuguese striker earned his chance after Fredi Kanoute went off to Tunisia to play for Mali in the African Nations Cup, and he claimed his first Barclaycard Premiership goal since signing from FC Porto in the summer for £6.25million.
Robbie Keane fired Spurs into a deserved lead with a 23rd minute penalty after he had been fouled by Igor Biscan, and Postiga ended Liverpool's hopes of climbing into fourth place for the first time this season when he steered home the second goal after 53 minutes.
Harry Kewell ensured a tense finale when he pulled one back for the visitors with a lovely solo goal with 16 minutes remaining, but Spurs held on to claim all three points.
Both teams began this game with 100% records this year, so something had to give.
After four minutes Emile Heskey - who is wanted by Middlesbrough but according to manager Gerard Houllier is not for sale - nodded on a long clearance from goalkeeper Paul Jones for Owen.
The striker was playing his 200th Premiership game and was two short of 150 goals for the club, and he almost went within one of the mark as he flashed a 20-yard volley just wide of Kasey Keller's right post.
Play switched to the other end and in the sixth minute Postiga cut inside of Stephane Henchoz on the left and hit a low drive which Jones blocked on his six-yard line.
There was drama after 23 minutes when Keane deftly brought down Anthony Gardner's chip with his back to goal, turned and wriggled his way into the penalty area and had his heels clipped by Biscan.
Referee Uriah Rennie pointed to the spot and Keane confidently and powerfully drove the opening goal into the bottom left corner to give the Londoners a deserved lead.
It was Keane's third goal in successive games and the first Liverpool had conceded this year, and only the 10th on their league travels all season - a record bettered only by Arsenal and Manchester United before this match.
Spurs - who handed Michael Brown a debut after Ledley King went down with an ankle injury - were forced to make an change at the break as Stephane Dalmat picked up a knock and was replaced by John Jackson.
Heskey - one of the men being watched by England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson - was almost in after 50 minutes but Spurs skipper Steve Carr made an important clearance in his own six-yard box.
Spurs were celebrating again after 53 minutes when Postiga finally claimed his first goal in the Premiership. He ran on to a lovely pass from Jackson, held off Biscan and steered the ball past Jones.
Eriksson must have been impressed with Gardner, who after 57 minutes did well to dispossess Owen on the edge of the box, and was tidy throughout.
Kewell ensured an exciting finale when he pulled one back for Liverpool after 74 minutes. Running on to Heskey's knock-down on the right, he weaved his way into the area before squeezing a shot inside Keller's near post.
It was too little, too late, and to add to Liverpool's misery their Merseyside rivals Everton lost at home to Charlton, leaving The Reds further adrift of fourth place in the table.
Tottenham: Keller, Carr, Doherty, Gardner, Taricco, Brown, Anderton, Dalmat, Davies, Postiga, Keane.
Subs: Hirschfeld, Bunjevcevic, Zamora, Jackson, Kelly.
Liverpool: Jones, Henchoz, Hyypia, Biscan, Traore, Murphy, Hamann, Kewell, Cheyrou, Heskey, Owen.
Subs: Dudek, Finnan, Riise, Le Tallec, Carragher.
Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).
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|Match Report filed: 17th January 2004|