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Defence make a point

Posted on 28 August 2003  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

A faultless defensive display secured our first point at Anfield since February 1996 on Wednesday night.

Anthony Gardner, Dean Richards and Ledley King, the pick of the bunch, were outstanding centrally as were Mauricio Taricco and Steve Carr on the flanks as waves of Liverpool attacks produced few chances.

Indeed, it took until the 72nd minute for Steven Gerrard to really test Kasey Keller as the home side were kept at distance.

At the other end, Jerzy Dudek just managed to flick Helder Postiga's volley wide and Gardner might have done better when a corner fell to him at close range but he shot wide.

The first half was an entertaining affair full of flowing football.

Liverpool just about held the upper hand but created few clear-cut chances with most efforts coming from outside the box.

Indeed, Dudek produced the save of the half to deny Postiga's volley in the 19th minute and Gardner had the chance of the half when Richards' header from Carr's corner fell at his feet but he could only stab wide.

Dudek also had to be lively to flick Ricketts' shot away after 12 minutes and the loose ball was inches away from a Zamora tap in.

Liverpool, so quick on the break, found it hard to penetrate Gardner, Richards and the outstanding King.

Baros, Smicer, on three occasions and Diouf all tried their luck from distance with Smicer's drive the closest after 25 minutes when his low drive looked goalbound until hitting Baros.

Liverpool upped the tempo at the start of the season half as Smicer, again, created a yard of space only to shoot straight at Keller.

The home side then had the ball in the net as Owen nodded home from close range but it was ruled out for a foul by Hyypia on Richards from the original corner.

Smicer continued knocking at the door and Gerrard's influence was growing - he produced the save of the game from Keller after 72 minutes when the ball fell kindly to him 16 yards out and he blasted towards goal.

Murphy surprisingly replaced Smicer after 72 minutes but soon joined in with a 30-yarder sailing over.

For all their possession, Liverpool still failed to open us up as a Baros overhead kick was always going over and Gerrard's 30-yarder went straight down Keller's throat.

They continued to probe away though as Baros curled a whisker wide, Murphy couldn't hit the target from a central free-kick and Gerrard's screamer hit Richards on the back of the head and went over.

But a goal at that stage would have been harsh and the lads were rightly delighted with their point.

MINUTE BY MINUTE GUIDE
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1min: Smicer shot deflected straight into Keller's hands.

4mins: Postiga dipping volley from 20 yards flew a couple of yards over.

8mins: YELLOW. Redknapp for foul on Owen.

11mins: Baros low skidder from 20 yards dealt with comfortably by Keller.

12mins: Interplay between Taricco and Ricketts opened it up for Ricketts, left channel, 16 yards out, low shot parried by Dudek and Zamora inches away from tap in. Ball eventually fell to Carr who lashed shot wide.

19mins: SAVE. Zamora climbed high to meet Taricco's deep cross, header down fell to Postiga whose volley was tipped aside by Dudek.

19mins: From corner, Richards won big header at far post only for Gardner to stab wide from close range.

23mins: Quick Liverpool break from our free-kick but defence back in no time, Smicer eventually shooting over from distance.

25mins: Great advantage played by referee Rennie as Richards brought down Owen, Kewell allowed to cross, Smicer effort looked goalbound until hit his own player, Baros, on the head.

26mins: YELLOW. Richards for foul on Owen.

28mins: Richards brought down Baros - relief as there is no second yellow.

32mins: Carr piledriver from 30 yards looked good until deflection flicked it a yard over.

36mins: YELLOW. Carr for foul on Diouf.

37mins: CLOSE. Smicer cross met by Kewell but Taricco did enough as header flew over.

41mins: Gerrard switched play from inside own half, Owen fed Diouf who shot wide from right corner of box.

43mins: Smicer cut in from right, low drive straight at Keller.

45mins: YELLOW. Diouf for foul on Carr.

Half-time: Liverpool 0-0 Spurs

47mins: Smicer dribble and shot from edge of box safely gathered to his left by Keller.

48mins: YELLOW. Finnan for foul on Taricco.

53mins: DISALLOWED. Owen nodded home but goal ruled out for Hyypia foul on Richards.

54mins: YELLOW. King for foul on Gerrard.

61mins: Smicer shot a yard wide from 25 yards.

63mins: Gerrard burst into box but took ball too wide and shot into side netting.

66mins: SUB. Kanoute for Zamora.

70mins: SUB. Murphy for Smicer.

72mins: SAVE. Magnificent reaction block by Keller to deny Gerrard - ball bobbled about on edge of box, fell to Gerrard who unleashed from 16 yards, Keller strong hand to divert it away.

74mins: YELLOW. Gardner for foul on Gerrard.

74mins: Murphy 30-yarder sailed over.

78mins: Baros overhead kick always going over.

81mins: Gerrard bullet straight at Keller.

84mins: CLOSE. Gerrard slid in Baros, tight angle, left-foot effort curled just wide.

85mins: SUB. Anderton for Postiga.

88mins: Murphy curled free-kick from edge of area harmlessly over.

Line-ups: Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Baros, Kewell, Diouf, Owen, Smicer (Murphy, 70), Gerrard, Carragher, Biscan. Subs: Kirkland, Diao, Riise, Le Tallec.

Spurs: Keller, Carr, Taricco, Gardner, King, Richards, Ricketts, Davies, Redknapp, Postiga (Anderton, 85), Zamora (Kanoute, 66). Subs: Sullivan, Bunjevcevic, Marney.

Attendance: 43,778