will be resumed soon
By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
Steven Gerrard is spot-on with his remarks
in the wake of Sunday’s draw with Tottenham.
Liverpool may have been struggling for form in recent weeks,
but it is hardly a crisis right now at Anfield.
And the only way the side will recapture their best form is
by sticking together as a team and a squad and working
harder than ever to turn things around.
It was only a few weeks ago that Manchester United were
supposed to be in something of a crisis after a poor start
to the season by their standards.
Now they’ve addressed things at Old Trafford and suddenly
everyone is saying they’re going to win the title again.
Of course there is a lot of media attention on a club of
Liverpool’s size and expectations are rightly very high.
But we are only a few points behind leaders Arsenal and we
have still made our best start to a season in years, despite
the recent drop-off in performances and results.
I’m a great believer in judging everything at the end of the
season – not now – and that is still an awfully long way
There are highs and lows ahead for plenty of teams, not just
There are also plenty of important Premier League points
still to play for and the Reds will have big opportunities
still to get back to the top and make that title challenge
we all want to see.
In my experience, the main thing everyone at Anfield must do
is just stick together as one.
When things weren’t going well when I was playing it was so
important for us rally round as a team and a squad and fight
It can be easy to form little groups and talk behind each
other’s backs, but that is counter productive and I’m sure
it won’t happen at the club.
Stevie’s take on it is dead right – and in urging the fans
to keep the faith he is perhaps suggesting they too can help
play a part.
It would be wrong for fans to lose faith because there are
so many class players that I am sure things will pick up and
someone will get a hiding before too long.
Things may have dipped but they are far from lost and I for
one believe normal service will be resumed.
Benitez will be spurred by first half show
Rafa Benitez got the reaction he was looking for from his
players in the first half against Spurs on Sunday.
Against Marseille, Liverpool were so off the mark they
barely mustered a shot on goal.
But against Spurs they could easily have been two or three
goals up before half time. Those two goals that were
conceded really were killer blows, coming as they did either
side of half time on 45 and 47 minutes.
And you can understand Benitez’s disappointment with the way
they both happened.
To break a team of Liverpool’s quality down you should only
do it by playing top quality stuff around them. So to see
two goals come from route one punts down the middle clearly
upset the manager.
I suspect Tottenham were fearful of trying to build from the
back because Torres is so good at closing down defenders.
Hence Robinson, on more than one occasion, pumped it long to
try to force the Reds deep.
Sami Hyypia has been so good in the air for so many seasons
now that perhaps people just expect him to win those headers
all the time. Your sort of take it for granted that Sami
will claim everything.
When that doesn’t happen the others around him need to mop
things up but twice Keane was able to nip in and, to be
fair, finish well.
But give the Liverpool players credit for battling on after
those setbacks to finally get the equaliser right at the
It was a terrific leap and header from Torres and don’t
forget it keeps Liverpool’s unbeaten run intact.
It may not have been the result everyone wanted but it was a
much better performance than in midweek.
There were positives to take from it and it does give
Liverpool something to build on ahead of the game against
Everton in 11 days time. That’s the big one now.
Carra calls for improvement
By Al Campbell - LFC Online
Jamie Carragher says Liverpool need to
improve their home form.
This season Liverpool have improved their performances away
from home but their displays at Anfield have been
disappointing, something that needs immediate improvement
according to legend Jamie Carragher.
"The results away from home have been fantastic but it's at
home where we've had a few problems. It's something we have
to put right. I don't know the reason for it, but we can't
go on giving points away at Anfield," said our vice-captain.
"Tottenham played well on Sunday and you have to give them
credit for that. In the end we were glad Fernando earned a
point for us because it looked as though we were going to
lose that game.
"We're just not playing well as a team at the moment. I
think we all have to look at ourselves and make sure when we
come back for the Everton match that we can find our form
again because that is a massive game.
"I know we've had some criticism but that doesn't bother me
at all. We're playing for one of the biggest clubs around
and so when things aren't going well of course you're going
to be criticised. I don't have a problem with that. If you
want to play for Liverpool then you have to live with that
"It's a long season and there's still a long way to go.
Don't forget, we're still unbeaten in the league as well. We
just have to make sure we win at Goodison in a couple of
Finnan baffled by Reds form
By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
Defender Steve Finnan admits he is baffled
by the Reds’ recent poor form.
But the Irish international believes Liverpool can use the
looming Goodison derby match as a platform to bounce back.
After yesterday's 2-2 draw against Spurs at Anfield, the
Reds now face a fortnight's inactivity until they take on
Everton in another lunchtime kick-off, and Finnan said:
"It's half a dozen games now where we've produced poor
performances, but we've got some big games coming up and
we've got to get back to the form we were showing earlier in
"There's a feeling of overall disappointment because we
didn't play well again and conceding two goals either side
of half-time made it difficult for us.
"But it's still early days and we're still unbeaten in the
Finnan believes that Fernando Torres' late goal, which
preserves Liverpool's unbeaten record in the league, could
prove vital to help restore damaged confidence.
"I just swung it in with my left-foot hoping someone would
get on the end of it and Nando showed his quality in the
air," he added.
"That helps confidence. It's nice to be unbeaten in the
league and the fact that we are still unbeaten and still
getting results, even though we're not playing well – apart
from Wednesday night obviously – will help our confidence.
"We were relieved to score the late equaliser, but also
disappointed to drop two points.
"We thought we weren't going to get anything from the game
so for Fernando to pop up with a great header was a real
"But overall we're disappointed because we didn't play well
"Conceding the two goals either side of half-time made it
difficult for us.
"They played well and played some good football.
"But we're disappointed with both goals. Both could have
Finnan is one of the many Reds players who will now
disappear for an international double header and he said: "I
don't know whether the international break has come at a
good time or not.
"Sometimes it's good to get away and play a couple of
international matches, but we'll have to wait and see."
Defensive blunders like
knife through Reds' heart
By John Thompson - Liverpool Echo
Lies, damn lies and soccer statistics. Or,
if you like, pride comes before a fall.
Last week, ahead of that wretched Champions League
performance against Marseille and as Liverpool's Premier
league form hit the wall, it was being pointed out by those
who preferred to see the glass as half full, that the Reds
were in the middle of their best defensive run for 30 years.
French league flops Marseille may have punched well above
their weight to put a dent in it last Wednesday, but that at
least was via a sweet piece of footwork and an unstoppable
strike from outside the box.
But yesterday, Liverpool surrendered their supremacy and
then almost all three points, too, with defensive lapses
which unfortunately will have set alarm bells ringing at
Sami Hyypia deserves to go down in Anfield history as a
Liverpool great. For the best part of a decade now he has
been a tower of strength on the field, a scorer of some
vital goals, a model professional and, as an ambassador for
the club, has done it proud.
Never blessed with outstanding pace – though never the
slouch such a cruel and thinly disguised observation seemed
to suggest – if there was one thing you could always rely
upon big Sami for was his sheer dominance in the air.
But yesterday, perhaps as the rigours of a run of
appearances caught up with him, Hyypia's aerial
invincibility went briefly but crucially missing.
Twice, long, route one punts into his domain saw him
contesting balls with Dimitar Berbatov – a man whose feet
have a magical and graceful touch to them, but who should
not get the better of a towering centre half when the ball
is coming out of the sky for them to contest with their
Yet twice Berbatov out manoeuvred Hyypia to the high balls
down the middle. And twice the ever dangerous Robbie Keane
profited to finish well.
Hyypia is entitled to question the cover behind him – no
centre back wins every such ball in every game. But these
almost carbon copy goals are the sort that have even lower
league managers moaning at their central defenders. Good
Premiership sides don't crudely concede possession and goals
like these. Certainly not sides with the highest ambitions
Both lapses proved intensely annoying for Benitez as he sent
out a side intent on giving him and the supporters the
reaction they wanted after the Marseille debacle.
Anyone who somehow expected the Reds to suddenly turn on the
style yesterday was frankly expecting too much. The loss of
form recently has been worrying and you don't sink as low as
Liverpool did last Wednesday only to suddenly rise to the
heights five days later in majestic fashion.
All that was expected, indeed required, against Spurs was a
more professional display all round, with plenty of heart
and soul battling at every challenge and hopefully a
well-earned victory to restore some confidence.
For much of the first half, Liverpool gave their manager and
their supporters what they wanted, including a goal from
Voronin which seemed to steady nerves just as the doctor
That strike should undoubtedly have been added to before
Berbatov gave Hyypia a crafty nudge before beating him to
the ball to set up Keane at the Kop end.
It was an annoying, undeserved equaliser for Liverpool to
concede. And as they regrouped a half time it must have
tested their nerve and resolve, knowing they had to start
all over again and respond to the setback in the right way.
But when another defensive lapse let in Keane again,
Liverpool utterly lost their way for long periods.
It’s worth perhaps pointing out that the side never lost the
support or encouragement of their fans – who showed they
aren't quite as fickle in times like these as some elements
in the media would prefer them to be.
Lifted by that support, somehow a struggling and often
disjointed looking Liverpool kept trying to get back at
Tottenham, forcing them deeper into their own half as the
final minutes approached. And when Fernando Torres strained
his sinews and leaped to meet another perfectly flighted
cross from Steve Finnan, there was at least some sense of
relief amid the ongoing disappointment.
Torres' late equaliser and the impressive performance from
his strike partner Andre Voronin were perhaps the two main
plus points to come out of another awkward and
unsatisfactory day for Liverpool.
Their arrival at the club, with that of Ryan Babel joining
Peter Crouch and Dirk Kuyt, was one of the reasons for all
the optimism pre-season – and early season.
Many believed finally Liverpool had added the firepower to
mount a realistic title challenge.
Perhaps they have. But what has maybe gone unnoticed until
now, is that the squad looks at least a centre half short,
too. With Gabriel Paletta so far struggling to make the
grade and a young Jack Hobbs yet to emerge, there is a
shortage of cover, particularly with Daniel Agger out for
some time with his broken foot.
Liverpool are, in consequence, having to rely a bit too
heavily on Hyypia and, in truth, Jamie Carragher, too, after
he returned to the side earlier than was ideal after his
recent broken rib.
So, if there's one area where Rafa Benitez does need cover
and potentially another option, then it's surely at centre
That’s where any January reinforcements are surely likely to
be sought now.
Whether by then Liverpool will have arrested their current
decline enough to be within touching distance of Arsenal and
Manchester United, we'll have to wait and see.
They are yet well capable of doing so.
But again it's been a weekend when they have surrendered
another two points to their main rivals and there's little
if any comfort in knowing it might have been three.
Perhaps we now enter one long international break which will
not be quite so unwelcome after all at Anfield.
Gerrard: Dip in form no crisis
By Chris Stanton - Setanta Sports
Steven Gerrard admits Liverpool have been
below par in recent matches but baulked at suggestions that
Rafa Benitez’s team are experiencing a crisis of confidence.
After a bright start to the campaign that culminated with
The Reds routing Derby 6-0, Benitez’s team have been
decidedly less impressive, winning just two of their next
Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham was hardly the
expected fillip following the team’s disappointing Champions
League defeat to Marseille in midweek.
Gerrard admits Liverpool’s loss of form has given Benitez
much to ponder over the two-week international break.
"We haven't been ourselves of late, that's true," Gerrard
told Liverpool’s official website. "The results haven't been
good and the performances could have been better.
"We're going through a dip in form which all top teams do at
some stage and we just have to make sure we play our way
through it. We're not performing to the standards we can do
but that will change.
"I'm asking the fans to trust me when I say there's no
crisis here. We have fantastic players and a world class
manager and we will get things right again, there's no doubt
"We've got an international break now which will give Rafa
the chance to look at things and work with the players who
are staying behind. For those of us going away, we have to
get the jobs done with our countries and then come back
ready for a massive match at Everton.
"If we can turn in a performance in the derby and win the
game then things will be looking better again. That's what
we'll be aiming for."
early to throw title towel in
Comment by Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
The lesson should have been learned from
the snitches who tried to stitch up Lewis Hamilton’s world
title hopes last week.
That is, if you’re going to make a protest, make sure you’ve
got a genuine grievance to get worked up about.
And just as Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were sent out
by the FIA with their tails between their legs after failing
to get Hamilton’s points total slashed, the supporter who
threw his scarf onto the pitch before leaving Anfield early
yesterday got similar just desserts.
Instead of joining in the celebrations on the terraces, the
scarf-chucker was probably stood forlornly on Anfield Road,
staring back at the stadium wondering what the roar rising
from it was all about.
For that hasty fan’s information, it was all about Fernando
Torres’s equaliser. One that preserved a record of one home
league defeat in two years as well as Liverpool’s unbeaten
record in the Premier League this season.
In fact, Liverpool would have still been in fourth place
even if Torres hadn’t made it 2-2 in the injury time that so
many other supporters decided to give a miss.
And they’re better off points and position-wise than they
were this time last year, thanks chiefly to sound investment
by their manager, not only with the record signing of Torres
but fellow scorer Andriy Voronin, who he got for a more than
But ill-advised tantrums aside, there must be some validity
to many Anfield regulars’ misgivings about how much closer
Liverpool really will get to that elusive 19th title this
The midweek defeat to Marseille was dreadful but not
damaging in the long term, particularly if the double header
against Besiktas can be negotiated successfully. The
Champions League situation can be rectified.
As, indeed, can the mind-numbing simplicity of the defending
Liverpool should have executed to prevent Robbie Keane
netting the first goals in open Premier League play to find
their way past Pepe Reina this season.
What, however, can’t be altered are the standards Liverpool
need to reach to maintain the championship ambitions that
the summer spending spree ushered in with such fanfare.
There have been so many times this season when, despite such
a relatively encouraging start, that it has fallen decidedly
Because while Liverpool have looked to be making a few steps
forward, they’re just not quick enough to keep up with the
frightening pace their predicted rivals for title honours
are setting ahead of them.
Before yesterday Liverpool had impressively kept five
consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League. But on
Saturday Manchester United went one better with six in
succession as the 4-0 win over Wigan also suggested that, to
add to that new-found defensive steel, the shining lights of
their attack are ominously back to full power.
United made a sloppy start to the season that was in stark
contrast to the goal glut Benitez’s men emerged from the
blocks with, but on Saturday lunchtime there the champions
were, back at the top of the table once again.
Only to be overtaken yesterday by a side who suffered
similar problems on their own ground by conceding two goals
to Sunderland. Yet Arsenal responded by finding enough to
take all three points and maintain their own unbeaten
An indication that they and United are already finding the
ruthless edge champions must have to make that key
difference – Liverpool aren’t.
They’ve barely even managed to take advantage of the
mini-crisis Chelsea have suffered and before Torres struck
they were due to go into the international break level on
points with the one side from last year’s top two that
really are there for the taking this time.
Failing to convert one point into three in three-quarters of
their home games this season is at the centre of this
struggle to put a marker down in the opening two months of
It’s a pattern that needs addressing and the next Anfield
league game against those leaders from London would be the
That’s why the manner of how Torres came to the rescue
yesterday means dropping two points at home can, on this
occasion, be just about tolerated. But they can’t afford
And it’s also why this is no time for littering the pitch
with stuff like scarves or shredded season tickets –
although nobody will be spraying it with champagne or ticker
tape any time soon either.
Jol still in
dark over Spurs future
Martin Jol admitted he does not know what
his future holds after Tottenham made it six games
undefeated with a deserved point at Liverpool.
The Spurs chief has been under pressure all season as Spurs
have struggled around the foot of the table.
But they produced another spirited display and were leading
against Liverpool until the second minute of injury time
when Fernando Torres' header forced a 2-2 draw.
A Robbie Keane double had put Spurs in control, but Jol
insisted: "I do not know about the future, I do not pull the
strings and I do not have any control over the scenario. If
I did, everything would be quiet.
"But see my team, they want to fight and they fight every
game. The players always stay the same, it is very
Andriy Voronin put Liverpool ahead early on, but Spurs
attacked constantly and looked as if they were heading for
their first Anfield win since 1993.
Jol said: "We could not get the third (goal), we had the
breaks and that would have ended it. I just couldn't
understand how we didn't achieve that.
"Everyone has said we deserved to win, and that is how we
feel. In particular in the second half we were on top of
them and caused a lot of problems.
"That was good. They had suffered a bad defeat against
Marseille in midweek and we knew they would want to do
better and we expected a difficult match.
"Then we conceded a goal like that at the beginning, which
didn't help, I felt we did well to come back into the game.
We raided quickly, were strong in midfield and Robbie Keane
scored a couple of good goals.
"But in the end it was a bad result for us. But we have got
a great spirit, everyone can see that, we have done a lot of
travelling in midweek to Cyprus and then up here to
"It has been a difficult time for us. But we took a lot of
confidence from this."
Benitez baffled by defending
By Peter Fraser - Sky Sports
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was at a
loss to explain his side's defensive display in the 2-2 draw
The Reds took the lead in the 12th minute when Andrei
Voronin fired home, but Robbie Keane then tore the home
defence apart in copy cat style to give Tottenham the lead.
Fernando Torres rescued a late point for Liverpool, but
Benitez was more concerned with the adrift defending which
allowed Keane to latch on to flicks from Dimitar Berbatov.
Torres' late show saved Liverpool from their second home
defeat in five days, following Wednesday's UEFA Champions
League loss to Marseille, and Benitez is unimpressed.
"We were really poor in defence," Benitez told Sky Sports
"It is difficult to explain because we have a very good
record, but there were two big mistakes today.
"Also we had chances in attack, so I think that it was a
very disappointing day.
"At least the team was playing well in the first half,
creating chances and controlling the game.
"At the end when we scored it showed good character, that is
the only thing."
Last-gasp Torres saves
By Joseph Caron Dawe - Setanta Sports
Fernando Torres scored a late goal to salvage a point for
Liverpool as Rafa Benitez’s side rescued a 2-2 draw from the
jaws of defeat at Anfield on Sunday.
Andriy Voronin gave Liverpool the lead in the 12th minute
before Robbie Keane struck either side of half time to put
Spurs in front.
Martin Jol’s side looked to have held out for a momentous
victory, but Torres rose at the far post in the dying
moments to snatch a point for The Reds.
Keane's brace led an inspired comeback to guide Jol’s men to
within a minute of only their second Premier League win of
the season before being cruelly denied by the Spain
The signs had looked ominous for Spurs and Jol when Voronin
gave Liverpool the lead as he gobbled up a Paul Robinson
spill to fire Rafa Benitez’s side into the lead.
However, a dogged performance from Spurs produced a
quickfire double, but for all their fight and determination
they could not keep Torres out as he displayed why he is
such a vital player for Liverpool with an injury-time
equaliser, rising at the far post to meet Steve Finnan’s
cross and nod past a flailing Robinson.
Gareth Bale went within inches of giving Spurs the lead
after barely two minutes when he bent a free kick around the
wall after Voronin had felled the impressive Didier Zokora,
but it was the home side who took the lead with the game’s
first effort on target.
Voronin’s goal came after Jermaine Jenas fouled Steven
Gerrard on the edge of the area, and The Reds’ captain took
the set piece himself.
Gerrard’s shot was spooned out by Robinson and Voronin was
first on the scene to put Liverpool in front from close
Keane tried to inspire Spurs into an immediate fightback
with a flicked header from a Jenas free kick on the right,
but the ball crept past the far post untouched.
Torres went within a foot or so of doubling Liverpool’s lead
when he shot wide as half an hour approached, and Gerrard
almost went one better when he rattled the post with a free
kick which had Robinson well beaten.
Dimitar Berbatov kept the end-to-end action flowing as he
went painfully close to equalising after a delightful move
involving Zokora and Keane. The Bulgarian’s strike partner
played a brilliantly deceitful flick which allowed Berbatov
to stab the ball past Jose Reina. Jamie Carragher was on
hand to divert the ball as it trickled into a gaping net as
the game continued to entertain.
Voronin then squandered a glorious chance to net his, and
Liverpool’s, second when he opted for some inexplicable
reason to square back to Gerrard instead of hammer home
after Torres opened Spurs up with one of his trademark runs.
By the time the England international was able to get a shot
off Michael Dawson was there to block and a single goal
remained between the sides.
In a premonition of Spurs' imminent equaliser Berbatov
attempted to set Keane up with a nodded header as Sami
Hyppia arrived to clear the danger, but on the stroke of
half-time the Republic of Ireland international could not be
stopped as he got between Carragher and Steve Finnan to bag
his third league goal of the season.
Berbatov beat Hyppia to a long ball and his headed
connection saw Keane steal in and poke past Reina with a
deft touch for a much-celebrated finish.
Incredulously, Spurs scored a carbon-copy of the goal two
minutes into the second half as yet again Berbatov and the
effervescent Keane linked to allow the latter to nip in and
give Spurs the lead.
Having not conceded in open play in the league this season,
Liverpool found themselves two down in such a short space of
time. Questions were being asked of the home side and the
answers were not forthcoming.
Reina came well out of his area to shepherd Berbatov away
from goal as Spurs characteristically looked dangerous on
the attack, but with their prowess up front the Londoners
continue to appear less than assured at the back, despite a
fine show from Dawson.
Liverpool started to build some momentum as the game entered
its final 20 minutes, but for their hurried attempts to
break Spurs down Zokora stood firm in the middle as he
persistently held firm to complement Dawson’s strength
The centre back was on hand to save Robinson’s blushes as
the Spurs keeper spilled a Finnan shot with Torres lurking
menacingly 15 minutes from the end, and the England number
one pulled off a good reaction save to deny Javier
Mascherano at his near post as full time approached with
The Argentinian was not far off with a long-range shot as it
looked like it was not to be Liverpool’s day, but Torres
stepped up to the plate to deliver in the second minute of
injury time, beating Dawson and Chimbonda in the air to
leave Spurs deflated.