Tottenham Hotspur 0
A monumental defensive display at Anfield saw Tottenham Hotspur come away with a point against a Liverpool side that can feel aggrieved that they pick up all three points.
The result was the Reds eighth home draw all season, but ensured Spurs remained eight points clear of fifth placed Newcastle United having lost just two of the last 22 Premier League fixtures.
With a technical fault meaning Harry Redknapp couldn’t make the flight up to Liverpool from London, assistant Kevin Bond was required to take charge of first-team matters.
And he was forced into two changes from the starting XI that defeated Wigan Athletic 3-1 with Jake Livermore and Michael Dawson coming in for the injured Rafael Van der Vaart and Younes Kaboul.
A scrappy opening 45 minutes saw chances come few and far between as Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy both struck free-kicks into the wall, Jay Spearing saw a 25-yard drive drift just inches wide while Niko Kranjcar forced Pepe Reina into action at the other end.
However, in the dying embers of the first-half, Brad Friedel was on-hand to deny Glen Johnson twice, first from an in swinging cross before blocking his low effort with the final kick off the half.
Between Johnson’s attempts saw Gareth Bale flick a Kyle Walker cross comfortably into Reina’s hands before Walker forced his way inside before seeing his shot deflected out for a corner.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that the game sprung into life, first Stephen Kelly testing Friedel’s reflexes while Andy Carroll could only manage to head the resulting corner straight at the American.
Kenny Dalglish threw Luis Suarez into the fold as Liverpool pushed for the opening goal, but it was Carroll again who posed the biggest threat for the home-side as the England man managed to bring Kelly’s cross down, but lashed over from 10-yards after Dawson pressured the burly front-man.
At the other end, Bale skewed his close-range effort high and wide before popping up with the best opportunity of the game, latching onto to a wonderful Niko Kranjcar threw-ball, but failed to find a way past Reina after going one-on-one with the Spanish international.
What Bond had to say.
“I thought it was a good point won. They made us defend, especially late in the second half and the lads defended really, really well,” Bond told Sky Sports after the game.
“We didn’t create as many chances as we’d like to, to be honest but then I think we had the best chance of the match.
“From where we were initially it looked offside, but when the linesman kept his flag down it turned out to be the best chance of the game.
“But it wasn’t to be and it was a hard fought point for us in the end, a real dig in performance.”
Man of the match.
Honourable mentions to Jake Livermore, Michael Dawson, Ledley King and Brad Friedel, all of whom performed exceptionally well in a real backs-to-the-wall performance. But, only one man deserves the accolade in the result; Scott Parker. We are running out of adjectives to describe the midfielders’ superhero-esc performances in the centre of the park and he was back to his brilliant best in the 0-0 draw. All over the pitch, making tackles, interceptions and blocks, it was a workman’s display and he fully deserved the man of the match award after the final whistle. The watching Fabio Capello must’ve been impressed with what he had seen as he looks to name a new England captain following the stripping of John Terry.
Moment of the match.
In the first-half, it was the cat that made a notable appearance on the Anfield pitch with referee Michael Oliver forced to stop play until a steward had cleared the animal. In the second-half, a few contentious decisions made by Oliver. First was Luis Suarez’s blatant kick on Scott Parker. Yes, the Uruguayan hasn’t played since boxing day, but his petulant kick on Parker’s mid-rift was just plain awful to watch. Unluckily was Suarez however as his foot now has an in-print of Super Scott’s abs on his foot.
Secondly, Martin Skrtel’s knee-high studs up challenge on Gareth Bale deserved a straight red-card. Minutes earlier, Bale had been booked for simulation after going down too easily under a Daniel Agger challenge which, perhaps, Michael Oliver took into account. However, there was no need for such a tackle to only warrant a booking, especially with the release of the DVD on tackling going out just the week before. However, because Skrtel was booked at the time, it means no further action can be taken.