Misery mounting for Reds
By Paul Walker - PA Sport
Steven Gerrard identified Liverpool's growing misery,
despite a whole new attacking style, that still leaves
them without a victory this season and facing their
worst league start for over 90 years.
The 0-0 draw with Tottenham at Anfield means this is the
worst start under boss Gerard Houllier and their worst
opening three games points tally since the 1997-98
season when they ended up finishing third.
Two points from three games leaves them languishing
seven points adrift of top dogs Arsenal, and with the
little matter of a Mersey derby at Everton on Saturday.
And their in-form neighbours will be delighted if they
can inflict another unwanted statistic on them.
If Liverpool do not win at Goodison Park it will be the
first time since the 1911-12 season that they will have
failed to win any of their first four league games.
And then, whether Houllier likes it or not, Liverpool
will be in a crisis.
Midfielder Gerrard has identified the problems following
the stalemate with Spurs.
"You do not want to be one point behind Arsenal, let
alone seven," admitted Gerrard.
"You do not want to give anyone a start like that. But
we will get it right, I do not know about the title but
we must have Champions League football back."
One of Liverpool's brightest and most ambitious young
players already doubts that they can win the
championship before August is out.
Houllier must be a frustrated and confused man after
watching Spurs shut out his side.
The Liverpool chief may well have laughed off criticism
and warned people not to tell him how to do his job as
complaints over his team's boring tag have grown.
But he was still swayed to totally change the style
against Spurs with a brave attacking formation that
included Vladimir Smicer, Harry Kewell and El Hadji
Diouf in an adventurous midfield - plus two quick,
mobile strikers in Michael Owen and Milan Baros.
But it still did not produce that elusive Liverpool win.
Houllier admitted: "It was an audacious and bold set-up,
to say the least.
"It is just a shame that it did not pay off because the
boys did a lot of work and they know they have to keep
"But Michael (Owen) had one of those nights when he did
not have a real chance.
"But his movement was good and he held the ball well,
but sometimes that happens. He was very tightly marked,
well looked after by their defenders.
"I was disappointed with the result but not the
performance, they were only better than us for 10
"The confidence in terms of finishing was not as high,
but we are building from the back, this was our second
clean sheet in two games and everything was encouraging
for the future.
"We had the chances and the boys know that they must
keep working at it."
He added: "It was a disappointing result but a good game
of football and the Liverpool performance in terms of
team play was the best of the season, certainly our best
"The pace and the movement of the midfield was really
encouraging for the future. I was really pleased with
the way we played, we created chances all night.
"What was missing was the goals. In the overall play
there was more fluency about our game and the attacking
display was very, very good.
"At times we had some fantastic moves with the whole
team involved, so let us keep going in that vein."
insists goals will come
Gerard Houllier insisted his new-look attacking
Liverpool deserved more than goalless draw against Spurs
Houllier shuffled his side following constant criticism
that they are boring, and produced arguably the most
attacking formation of his reign as Liverpool manager.
But a determined, organised Tottenham side clawed their
way to a draw which leaves Liverpool in 15th spot with
just two point from three games - and already seven
points off the top.
Houllier said: "It was a bold move to put out a team
like that, it's just a shame that it did not pay off.
"They had a couple of chances, but we were in control
for almost all the game. We just needed a goal from
"Look at the fouls they committed to stop us, that was
the best Liverpool performance of the season and I feel
sorry for the lads that we did not achieve more.
"The crowd were not moaning, they could see we were
playing good stuff and I believe there is plenty of
encouragement for the future after that."
Houllier added: "A goal would have given us more
confidence, we needed to score, but it will come.
"Michael Owen had one of those nights when he was
closely marked and did not get a chance, but I believe
we have the strike force to turn this around."
with a point
Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle hailed his side's quality
defending in the goalless draw with Liverpool at
Hoddle was full of praise for Dean Richards, Ledley King
and Anthony Gardner.
He said: "That is the first time since they have all
been with us that I have been able to field the trio for
a second game on the trot.
"They were outstanding on Saturday against Leeds and
again here. We defended very well, were solid and they
found it difficult to break us down.
"We knew they would come at us, they still have not got
that elusive win, and we needed to be shrewd in the way
we play and controlled.
"It was a credit to our lads and we deserved our point."
Spurs frustrate Liverpool
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool's miserable start to the season continued
with a goalless draw against a well-organised Spurs
Gerrard Houllier picked an attacking side, leaving Danny
Murphy on the bench and playing Michael Owen, Harry
Kewell, El-Hadji Diouf, Milan Baros and Vladimir Smicer.
But the home team struggled to create clear-cut chances
and have yet to score from open play this season,
collecting just two points from three games.
Steven Gerrard did force a good save from Kasey Keller,
but Jerzy Dudek was called upon several times to prevent
the visitors from registering a rare win at Anfield.
Anthony Gardner, Ledley King and Dean Richards formed a
very effective back three for Spurs and Glenn Hoddle can
take great encouragement from his team's first clean
sheet in the Premiership since January.
With so many forward-minded players Liverpool started
the match at a furious pace, but the visitors were not
ruffled and soon started to create chances.
Helder Postiga struck the ball crisply from 25 yards but
his shot flew over the crossbar before Rohan Ricketts
burst through from midfield, forcing Jerzy Dudek to make
a sharp one-handed save.
The rebound fell towards Zamora, who laid the ball into
Stephen Carr's path only for the Spurs defender to drill
his shot wide.
Spurs continued to push forward with verve and
invention, Postiga forcing another save from Dudek.
A cleverly worked corner then saw Richards head the ball
towards Gardner, but the defender missed the target from
In stark contrast, the attacking abilities of
Liverpool's forward line struggled against Tottenham's
well marshalled three-man central defence.
But with half-time looming a Gerrard cross appeared to
have picked out Kewell in a superb position, only for
Anthony Gardner to avert the danger.
Smicer shot straight at Kasey Keller early in the second
half and Sami Hyypia put the ball in the Spurs' net, but
his effort was ruled out for a foul on Richards.
Clean-cut chances, though, remained at a premium for the
home team as Spurs continued to defend competently.
And Mauricio Taricco went close to scoring in
consecutive games with a powerful that narrowly missed
Hoddle introduced Saturday's match-winner Frederic
Kanoute came on for Zamora and showed some delightful
But Gerrard almost broke the deadlock with a stunning
drive from 18 yards that Keller did exceptionally well
Shortly before full-time Liverpool won a free-kick in a
dangerous position but substitute Danny Murphy could not
find the target. It was symptomatic of his team's night.