Thursday, 12 December 2013

Five Favourite Wins Against - Tottenham away

Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins the Liverpool’s next opponents.  This weekend Liverpool travel to the White Hart Lane to meet Tottenham and here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.

13th December 1975
TOTTENHAM   (0)   0  
LIVERPOOL   (1)   4   (Keegan 43, Case 54, Neal 74, Heighway 86)

TOTTENHAM: Jennings; Naylor, Osgood, Young, McAllister; Perryman, Pratt, McNab, Neighbour; Duncan (Walford), Jones

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Smith, Thompson, Hughes, Neal; Case, Cormack (Fairclough), Callaghan; Keegan, Toshack, Heighway

Tottenham turned entertained Liverpool at White Hart Lane in December 1975 with a record of never beating Liverpool in a League game since Martin Chivers and Martin Peters scored in a 2-0 win in September 1971.  They’d picked up just 1pt in the four meetings since between the clubs since then.

Tottenham were managed by Terry Neill, who would last the season before Arsenal recruited him.  In the Spurs side that day were three players who would follow him to Highbury, Pat Jennings, Willie Young and Steve Walford.  Liverpool were sitting in second place behind QPR on goal average (a method then used by the league to separate sides on the same points).  Their form had slipped slightly in recent weeks without a win from their last 4 matches.  Tottenham were lying in 13th but had suffered just 1 defeat in their last 13 outings, having started the season with 4 defeats in their opening 7 games.

Liverpool had won the corresponding fixture at Anfield in August when they came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2.  Keegan, Case and Heighway scored the goals that day, and were again on the scoresheet this time round.  It was Keegan who opened the scoring two minutes before half-time.  Liverpool, who were keen to get back to winning ways before QPR visited Anfield a week later, then went 2-0 up inside 10 minutes after the break when Jimmy Case grabbed the second goal.  Case had scored a hat-trick in midweek when they disposed of Slask Wroclaw of Poland on their way to the UEFA Cup Final.

Phil Neal then made the win fairly certain when he scored Liverpool’s third as the game reached its final quarter of an hour.  The scoring was completed by Heighway with four minutes to go and Liverpool were comfortable winners.  It was an important victory as QPR dropped a point at home to Derby the same day.

Liverpool won the League that season with a final game victory over Wolves as QPR had waited nervously for the result, having finished their campaign 10 days earlier.  Liverpool also picked up the UEFA Cup that year too.  Tottenham ended the season in 9th, but were relegated the following season.

8th March 1980, FA Cup Sixth Round
TOTTENHAM   (0)   0 
LIVERPOOL   (1)   1   (McDermott 38)

TOTTENHAM: Daines; McAllister, Perryman, Miller, Hughton; Yorath, Ardiles, Hoddle, Villa (Pratt); Armstrong, Falco

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A. Kennedy; Case, McDermott, Souness, R. Kennedy; Johnson, Dalglish

Although this series concentrates on League matches, it was impossible to leave this game out if only for the goal that won it.

The FA Cup had reached the Quarter-Finals stage as Liverpool had progressed without conceding a goal, having seen off Grimsby (5-0), Nottingham Forest (2-0) and Bury (2-0).  Tottenham had needed replays to get past Manchester United and Swindon before beating Birmingham (3-1) in the Fifth Round. 

Liverpool were top of the League at the time, and had just won the Merseyside derby 2-1 at Goodison Park.  Tottenham were down in 13th although they’d recently beaten Coventry and Leeds United and a capacity crowd were hopeful they could keep this cup run going.

Terry McDermott scored some wonderful goals in his career at Anfield.  You can log onto youtube and spend a whole evening watching many of them.  In fact, a top 10 of his best goals would still find you leaving out some which would get into other player’s top 10s.  Having opened the season with two classy goals in the Charity Shield against Arsenal, his return of 16 for the season was the first time he’d hit double figures in his career.  He would go onto better that in the next two seasons but his goal in this game will be remembered by many who enjoyed his particular brand of midfield play.

These days pundits and graphics innovators would be relishing tracking his movement around the pitch and much of his success was down to his ability to anticipate the play.  With Dalglish often playing a deeper role than other strikers, this allowed McDermott to find space in penalty areas with defenders otherwise occupied.

But this goal was another of McDermott’s trademarks.  A shot from outside the box.  Tottenham were defending down near their left corner flag as Ardiles desperately tried to clear the danger, but his ball aimlessly played to the inside right position had been anticipated by McDermott and he was first to react.  Using the pace of the ball, McDermott flicked it up with his right foot before volleying it past Daines into the top corner.  He was about 25 yards out and the ball flew into the net to leave everybody gasping.

It would later go on to be voted Goal of the Season.

It was a goal worthy of winning any football match and had won Liverpool a place in the Semi-Finals where they were involved in a titanic tussle with Arsenal, who would eventually go on to reach the Final, where they were beaten by a rare Trevor Brooking header.

For Tottenham it would prove to be the last FA Cup match they lost until Everton beat them in February 1983.  A run of 19 matches.

4th November 1990
TOTTENHAM   (0)   1   (Lineker 50)
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Rush 38, 48, Beardsley 67)

TOTTENHAM: Thorstvedt; Bergsson (Thomas), Sedgeley, Mabbutt, van den Hauwe; Stewart, Allen, Gascoigne, Howells; Nayim (Walsh), Lineker

LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Burrows, Hysen, Gillespie, Staunton, Ablett; Nicol, McMahon, Molby; Rush, Barnes (Beardsley)

Liverpool arrived at White Hart Lane in November 1990 in scintillating form.  They were unbeaten from the start of the season, winning 10 of their 11 games so far.  Only 5 clubs had managed to score against them.  Tottenham too, were unbeaten although they’d only managed to win 6 of their matches, but had only conceded 4 goals up to this point.  Liverpool were the defending League Champions.

Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, outwitted his counterpart, Terry Venables, with a formation which nullified Spurs most attacking options.  David Burrows did such a good marking job on Paul Gascoigne that the England man resorted to fouls to vent his frustration.  Liverpool suffered an early blow when John Barnes suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury.  Beardsley was his replacement and would have a hand in an impressive victory.

McMahon and Nicol combined well on the right and then Molby produced an impudent chip to release Ian Rush.  The home defence hesitated and Rush made them pay with the opening goal 7 minutes from the break.  Early in the second half, Rush doubled the lead with his 10th goal of the season.  The move was started by Beardsley and again involved Molby with Burrows too in evidence.  Tottenham hit back almost immediately as Lineker pounced on a loose ball in the area and his low shot was too hot for Grobbelaar to keep out. 

But the home side were unable to make any further impression as Liverpool were in complete control, and Bruce Grobbelaar, making his 500th appearance for Liverpool, was untroubled.  Rush then turned provider as he laid on a chance for Beardsley and the little striker tucked the ball away to give Liverpool a 3-1 win.  Liverpool restored their 4pt lead at the top, but would be ultimately disappointed in a tempestuous season which saw the resignation of Kenny Dalglish.  Arsenal won the League by 7pts from Liverpool in 2nd place and Tottenham finished down in 10th, although they had the FA Cup to celebrate when they beat Nottingham Forest.

16th March 2003
TOTTENHAM   (0)   2   (Tarrico 49, Sheringham 87)
LIVERPOOL   (0)   3   (Owen 51, Heskey 72, Gerrard 82)

TOTTENHAM: Keller; Carr, Perry, Thatcher, Tarrico (Freund); Davies, Poyet, Doherty (Slabber), Etherington, Bunjevcevic; Sheringham
LIVERPOOL: Dudek; Traore, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise; Gerrard, Hamann (Diao), Murphy; Diouf, Owen, Heskey

With just 9 games to go in the 2002-03 season, Liverpool were 6th in the table looking to move above Chelsea if they could win at White Hart Lane.  Tottenham were down in 10th, although could move to within a point of their opponents if they could prevail.

This was the season when Liverpool, managed by Gerard Houllier, suffered one of the worst runs in living memory when they went 11 games without a win.  Up to this match they had lost once in their last 7 and were still pushing for a Champions League place.  Tottenham had won just once in their previous 5 as they were beginning to drop away from the Europe places.

The game was all about two players.  Jerzy Dudek and El-Hadji Diouf.  Diouf had just come from his disgusting spitting incident at Celtic in the UEFA Cup in the week.  Predictably, he was booed from the start and it seemed that Spurs defender, Mauricio Taricco, was intent in winding him up to get another reaction from the African.  It was Taricco who put the home side in front early in the second half when his shot from 25 yards squirmed under Dudek’s body and rolled over the line.  Dudek later claimed to be ‘surprised by the trajectory’ but this mistake was becoming an all-too familiar occurrence for the visiting fans.

Liverpool responded almost immediately as Steven Gerrard was heavily involved in setting up Michael Owen to score from close range.  Dudek was seen to punch the air in celebration and was no doubt a very relieved man.  In the 72nd minute it was the Spurs keeper’s turn to make a mistake.  Kasey Keller’s clearance was intended for Matthew Etherington but it went to Jamie Carragher who then slipped it to Gerrard.  Gerrard’s cross from the right was headed it by Heskey at the far post and Liverpool had come from behind to lead.  Inside the final 10 minutes and Liverpool extended their lead when the visitors broke quickly from a Tottenham corner and Danny Murphy’s great pass to Gerrard allowed him to beat Ben Thatcher for pace and score with a low drive.

Spurs pulled a goal back when Teddy Sheringham hit a low shot past Dudek, but the home side were well beaten.  In the end, Liverpool finished in 5th, 3pts behind Chelsea but they had the Worthington Cup to celebrate when they beat Manchester United in the Final in Cardiff.  Tottenham finished down in 10th.

11th May 2008
TOTTENHAM   (0)   0
LIVERPOOL   (0)   2   (Voronin 69, Torres, 74)

TOTTENHAM: Cerny; Gilberto, Dawson (Bent), Woodgate, Hutton; O’Hara (Huddlestone), Jenas (Tainio), Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Keane
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua; Kuyt (Lucas), Gerrard, Mascherano, Babel (Benayoun); Voronin (Finnan), Torres

The last time Liverpool won at White Hart Lane.  It was the final day of the 2007-08 season and Liverpool had already secured 4th place, and travelled to London to meet a Spurs side who were down in 11th.  Spurs, managed by Juande Ramos, had endured a frustrating season. They’d finally lifted some silverware when they won the Carling Cup, but their League form had been patchy.  They came into the game unbeaten in 5 yet had won just once in their past 6.  Liverpool were unbeaten in 7 and had been beaten once in their previous 15.  They had also narrowly lost in the Champions League Semi-Final to Chelsea.

The game, and much of Liverpool’s season, was about Fernando Torres.  He stood one goal away from breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for most goals by a foreign player in their first season in English football.  The £21.5m Spanish striker had repaid the fee with interest as his goals had lit up the Premier League and given Liverpool fans hope of a much missed League title.

A goalless first half with few chances had seen the visitors as the more inventive but early in the second period, Torres almost got his goal as Cerny, in the Spurs goal, managed to keep the shot out with his feet.  With just over 20 minutes to go, Arbeloa played a ball forward from the halfway line, Torres got the flick on and Voronin scrambled the ball past the keeper for the opening goal.  Voronin had a difficult time at Liverpool, struggling to justify Benitez’s faith in him.  This was his 6th and final goal for the club. 

Berbatov forced Reina into a fine save as Tottenham created a rare chance but Liverpool were soon back in their stride as Benayoun was given far too much space in midfield, and he found Torres on the left-hand edge of the area.  Torres had Dawson for company but he bamboozled him and then as Cerny came out, he just poked the ball past him with the outside of his right foot for the sort of classy finish Liverpool had got used to.

It was a record breaking goal and a remarkable season for a player who was being compared alongside the likes of Rush, Fowler, Hunt, Aldridge and Owen.  Ultimately, his Liverpool career tailed off and ended in disappointment and acrimony, but you can never erase the memories of his performances this season.

Liverpool were comfortable winners at 2-0.  They’d secured Champions League football for another year, but for Tottenham they were looking for a new manager just 6 months later as Ramos was sacked.

HEAD TO HEAD at White Hart Lane

Matches: 70
Liverpool win: 20
Tottenham win: 35
Draws: 15

Liverpool goals: 83
Tottenham goals: 105

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