LIVERPOOL 1-0 SPURS
FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
Saturday 14 January 2006 (15:00) at Anfield
Harry Kewell's first goal of the season and his first since December 2004 saw Liverpool move ever closer to Manchester United in the chase for the Premiership's second spot.
A combination of Liverpool past and present helped achieve this step closer the runners-up place for Rafael Benitez's men, while Spurs finished with 10 men with Paul Stalteri sent off in the closing minutes for a trip on Kewell.
Former Kop idol Robbie Fowler's goal for Manchester City earlier in the day against United was greeted with a huge ovation from his former Anfield fans.
The current crop could not have had a better incentive. And although Spurs produced an excellent performance, they could not stop Liverpool winning their eighth successive home league game and moving to within one point of United, with two games in hand.
Next Sunday's clash between United and Liverpool at Old Trafford could not have been set up better.
Liverpool restored goalkeeper Jose Reina and striker Fernando Morientes to their side from the FA Cup win at Luton while Spurs made five changes from the side that lost in the cup at Leicester.
Returning after long term injuries were Ledley King (groin) and Edgar Davids (ankle), with Teemu Taino, Young-Pyo Lee and Mido - for his last game before joining up with Egypt for the African Nations Cup - all back in the side.
And the reasons for Spurs' impressive season were evident immediately. They started full of confidence with crisp passing and movement, Michael Carrick from deep and Davids strong in midfield.
But it was Liverpool who created the first chance when Peter Crouch met a Steven Gerrard free-kick on the far post and saw Paul Robinson produce an outstanding eighth-minute block.
Morientes was the next to almost profit from another Gerrard delivery from the right.
But that did not deter Spurs who kept possession well, were quicker about their work than Liverpool and had the majority of territorial play.
Liverpool had been allowed limited opportunities in the opening spell, but Morientes - with a looping header from Steve Finnan's 31st-minute cross - saw the effort bounce onto the bar and drop for Crouch, but his hook was easily held by Robinson.
Gerrard saw a curling free-kick from the left cleared almost off the line by Michael Dawson, but with Carrick and Jermaine Jenas finding space with ease, it was Spurs who still held the initiative.
Spurs should have taken the lead inside a minute of the re-start when John Arne Riise missed a ball down the right to let in Jenas for a run and low cross into an unguarded box. But Robbie Keane managed to shoot wide from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.
Spurs had clearly decided to attack Riise and produced another free-kick in that area, which cost Liverpool a corner. And when the flag-kick was only partially cleared, Tainio saw a swerving 20-yarder go just wide.
Liverpool hit back when a Gerrard corner was met by a Crouch header than forced Robinson into a flying save to his left. Robinson then held a 20-yarder from Gerrard two minutes later.
Spurs hit back, forcing Liverpool into deep and massed defence. Lennon replaced Davids on 78 minutes, but the flow towards the Reds' defence continued.
With seven minutes left defender Stephen Warnock replaced Morientes, with Kewell moving up front alongside Cisse and Riise to left midfield.
Spurs kept coming forward but were caught on the break when Riise sent Kewell racing away into Spurs' half. Stalteri clipped the winger's heels and was promptly sent off by referee Dermot Gallagher.
Robinson saved superbly from Sissoko with a minute left, Liverpool pressing now for their second. In injury time Jan Kromkamp came on for Sissoko.
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|Match Report filed: 19 January 20056|