After The Match 


Tottenham-Liverpool 0-1 (0-1)           30.12.06                     PL
Goals: Garcia (45)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Agger, Carragher, Riise, Garcia, Alonso, Gerrard, Aurelio, Kuyt, Bellamy
Subs: Pennant (Bellamy 48), Crouch (Kuyt 66),
Gonzalez (Aurelio 79)
Not used: Martin, Paletta
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: M Halsey
Attendance: 36,170
Shots on target: 1-4
Shots off target: 6-4
Possession: 43-57
Fouls conceded: 6-21
Corners: 2-3
Offsides: 6-2
Yellow: 0-0


HEADLINES "I thought
it was
a fantastic team performance..."
    Rafael Benitez

3012: Rafa hails Reds after battling win
3012: Jol down at defeat
3012: Garcia goal ends Spurs' home run


Rafa hails Reds after battling win

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez has praised the battling qualities of his side after watching them secure an excellent 1-0 victory over Spurs.

Luis Garcia's goal in first half stoppage time was enough to see the Reds clinch their third away victory of the season as they bounced back from their Boxing Day disappointment at Blackburn.

Spurs made Liverpool work all the way for the points and Benitez was delighted to see his players standing up to a tough challenge at a rain sodden White Hart Lane.

"I thought it was a fantastic team performance," said the Reds' manager. "When you lose a game like we did at Blackburn then you want to see character from your players and we had that today.

"We played well in the first half and scored at a very good time, just before the break. In the second period Tottenham played more long balls and put us under pressure, but the work rate of the side was first class.

"The defenders dug in, Xabi played well in front of them, the midfielders tackled and fought and Kuyt and Bellamy worked for every minute they were playing.

"We knew before the game that the result would be important because Tottenham were close to us in the table and we wanted to stay ahead of them.

"We have lost many away games this season despite having more attempts than our opponents. Maybe today was the game where we didn't quite have as many opportunities but still managed to win the match."

Benitez revealed Craig Bellamy was substituted early in the second half as a precaution after feeling a tightness in his hamstring and that Jerzy Dudek wasn't included because his wife gave birth last night.

Jol down at defeat

By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports

Tottenham chief Martin Jol felt his side were unlucky not to get anything from their game with Liverpool.

Liverpool left White Hart Lane with all three points after a 1-0 win courtesy of Luis Garcia's first half goal.

Tottenham rallied late on in search of an equaliser, but Liverpool held on to record their third victory away from home this season.

"I think we did (deserve something)," said Jol. "In the second half we took all the initiative and although we needed one or two substitutions I can recall four or five situations where we could have scored.

"I think we deserved at least a point in this game, but it was not to be."

Jol was unhappy with Tottenham's defending for Garcia's goal accepting it was always going to be difficult to break down Liverpool after they went ahead.

"You cannot give away soft goals against a Liverpool side who are very organised and try to hit you on the break," added Jol.

"You have to keep a clean sheet as we are always capable of scoring goals."

Jol also revealed that Ledley King was likely to miss Monday's New Year's Day clash with Portsmouth through injury.

King missed the defeat to Liverpool with a foot injury and he will also be absent for the trip to Fratton Park.

"King had a bruised foot," said Jol. "It is nothing big, it is a minor injury and we will have to make do without him on Monday so it is a blow."

Garcia goal ends Spurs' home run


Luis Garcia scored on the stroke of half-time to earn Liverpool a 1-0 victory and bring Tottenham's long run of home success to a halt.

Spurs had won their previous 12 games at White Hart Lane but were undone in first-half stoppage time when Liverpool took advantage of poor defending.

Liverpool have been poor on the road this season - this was just their third away win in the Premiership - but they looked comfortable until the hosts started chasing the game.

Reds defender Steve Finnan hit his own crossbar, but goalkeeper Jose Reina was largely untroubled until late on when he beat a Jermain Defoe drive away.

Defeat dented Spurs' hope of breaking into the top six, while Liverpool's victory gives them an ideal platform for being in the Champions League places during the second half of the season.

Spurs were without captain Ledley King, and his stand-in at centre-half Calum Davenport had an unfortunate hand in Liverpool's opener.

Without King, Spurs' defence looked less assured from the opening exchanges - Lee Young-Pyo giving Paul Robinson a dreadful back-pass with two minutes gone.

The England goalkeeper, captain for the day, scrambled clear as Dirk Kuyt closed in, but the pattern of slack passing continued from both sides.

Spurs fashioned the first real effort on goal. But Mido flashed wide when he had plenty of time following a slip from Jamie Carragher while under pressure from Steed Malbranque.

Defoe had a couple of efforts off target and had also been caught marginally offside when Tom Huddlestone played him behind the Liverpool defence, but it was the visitors who applied the first spell of pressure.

Craig Bellamy forced Robinson into a low save after move started by Steven Gerrard and helped along by Kuyt.

The Dutch striker, linked with a move to Spurs two summers ago, then curled an effort just wide of the upright after Bellamy had laid the ball back to the edge of the area.

Tottenham boss Martin Jol has always been an admirer of his compatriot, and it was Kuyt who was soon a threat again - trapping a poor kick from Robinson beautifully but having his eventual effort blocked.

Xabi Alonso flashed a drive wide as the interval drew closer, but the visitors broke the deadlock before the whistle by taking advantage of Spurs' defensive frailty.

Gerrard robbed Didier Zokora before stubbing his shot into the floor from the edge of the area. The ball was headed by Davenport towards Luis Garcia, and the Spaniard had little trouble finishing from the edge of the six-yard area.

Bellamy had a long-range drive saved by Robinson two minutes after the restart, but it was the last action he saw and he was replaced by Jermaine Pennant and headed down the tunnel for treatment.

Zokora came off for Danny Murphy, a former Liverpool player, just after Garcia had missed a glorious chance to double the lead by directing his free header into the ground.

In the 59th minute, Jol answered the chants from the crowd to introduce Dimitar Berbatov who replaced Mido. The Bulgaria striker had been ill this week and was left on the bench until the hosts needed to chase the game.

Reina fumbled a straightforward free-kick, but there was little else for the Spaniard to do for the first hour.

Davenport diverted Pennant's cross into his own side-netting as Liverpool went in search of another rather than sitting back.

They brought on Peter Crouch in place of Kuyt for the last 25 minutes, which also featured a storm as conditions got worse.

Spurs almost grabbed a leveller when Berbatov's cross was headed by Finnan against his own bar from point-blank range.

Malbranque then came close with a drive as the rain eased slightly, while Hossam Ghaly sliced horribly wide from close range as Spurs applied late pressure.

The visitors held on for victory. But Reina had to beat away a drive from Defoe, and Berbatov had an effort ruled out for offside.

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Thor Zakariassen