Houllier: Doherty handled deliberately
Gerard Houllier accused Tottenham's Gary Doherty of
deliberate handball after seeing his Liverpool team
beaten 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Michael Owen screamed for a penalty in the final minute,
claiming Doherty had handled, but referee Uriah Rennie
instead awarded a corner.
"The referee got it wrong because Doherty stretched out
his hand and stopped the ball going through for Owen to
possibly equalise," said Reds boss Houllier.
"Deliberate hand ball in the box is a penalty. My
players said that he did deliberate, and that is where
we could have got something out of the game.
"I told the referee, without animosity, and he'll see it
on television tonight, but what is that going to
Houllier had no complaints about the penalty decision
which went in Tottenham's favour after 23 minutes which
allowed Robbie Keane to fire his team ahead from the
spot, after he had been tripped by Igor Biscan.
It was Biscan again who made the mistake after 53
minutes which allowed Helder Postiga to steer home his
first Premiership goal. Harry Kewell pulled one back
after 74 minutes but Liverpool's hopes of rescuing a
point went when the handball decision went against them.
In Tottenham's defence, they would have felt hard done
by had they not held on for all three points, and
Houllier admitted: "We could have done better, that was
not a performance we are proud of and we lacked a bit of
Tottenham's acting boss David Pleat praised his
team's "spoiling" tactics and said he had been worried
before the game about the height in the Liverpool team.
"I looked at the height in the Liverpool team and it was
daunting," said Pleat. "We were missing three of our
taller players - Fredi Kanoute, Gus Poyet and Ledley
King - and it was a massive headache worrying how we
would pick up their giants.
"They won every header in midfield but we showed
terrific character, attitude and determination and with
a bit of spoiling we came out on top.
"Our central defenders, Doherty and Anthony Gardner,
were fantastic and I told them that when the go to bed
tonight they should think of each other.
"They are Nationwide players who have come in and done a
terrific job because that is the way we are building,
and I wish more managers would give players like that a
Pleat reserved the final word for Postiga, who finally
broke his Premiership duck, and added: "He took his
opportunity today, his football was good and his
workrate was excellent."
Liverpool slip up at Spurs
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool sank to their first defeat of 2004 as
Helder Postiga scored his first Premiership goal for
The Portuguese striker guided the ball home soon after
the restart to give Spurs a two-goal cushion.
Spurs had taken the lead in the first-half through
Robbie Keane, who powered a penalty home after the
Irishman was fouled by Igor Biscan.
Harry Kewell's dynamic shot and run pulled a goal back
Before that Liverpool's best chance had fallen to
Michael Owen, playing his 200th Premiership game, as he
flashed a 20-yard volley just wide after Emile Heskey
nodded on a Paul Jones' clearance early in the game.
Owen set Liverpool on the attack again after 20 minutes
with a neat turn inside Gary Doherty and Darren Anderton
before feeding Kewell on the right, but Doherty
recovered well to cut out the return pass.
With Frederic Kanoute away on international duty with
Mali, Postiga was making the most of another opportunity
to impress manager David Pleat.
The Portuguese striker cut inside Stephane Henchoz and
hit a low drive which Jones blocked on his six-yard
Liverpool won their first corner after 21 minutes and
Kewell's cross was deflected off the head of Biscan
before looping into the arms of Kasey Keller.
Biscan was soon in the thick of action again, but for
all the wrong reasons as he gave away the penalty.
Keane wriggled his way into the penalty area and Biscan
clipped the Spurs striker's heels.
The Republic of Ireland international picked himself and
dusted himself down to drive the ball into the corner.
Liverpool rallied and won a free-kick after 34 minutes
when Michael Brown fouled Kewell on the visitors' box.
The Australian curled the cross towards Heskey, but it
was just too high for him to get a header on target.
Liverpool were on the ascendancy, winning two corners on
their right, but Keller cleared the first and Steve Carr
Spurs were forced to make a change at the interval as
Stephane Dalmat picked up a knock and was replaced by
The young midfielder did not take long to make his mark
slipping an intelligent pass through to Postiga, who
steered the ball past Jones.
On 75 minutes Kewell gave Liverpool a glimmer of hope
with a superb individualistic goal, running with the
ball, before guiding his shot past Keller.
Late in the game Owen claimed a penalty, arguing Doherty
had handled the ball.