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Report: Spurs 2-3 Liverpool

Posted on 16 March 2003  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

A game of Spurs firsts but Liverpool took the honours thanks to a midfield masterclass from Steve Gerrard.

Mauricio Taricco scored his first goal for the club and Jamie Slabber, who scored his first reserve goal on Monday, made his first appearance - claiming an assist for the second goal - but Gerrard created two of Liverpool's goals and sealed the win with a memorable third.

Liverpool, at full strength, just held the upper hand although it was a game display from Glenn Hoddle's patched-up side with Ledley King and Ben Thatcher outstanding in our latest central defensive partnership.

The first half was a cat and mouse affair with two 4-4-2 formations generally cancelling each other out.

The pace of Michael Owen always looked a threat, not least with Steve Gerrard looking for his runs all the time, but our central defensive partnership of Ledley King and Ben Thatcher handled it well.

Simon Davies was also on his game in the early stages and having been inches away from Teddy Sheringham's flick in the ninth minute, created one of few chances in the half, his low cross clipped over by Gus Poyet.

It took until the 23rd minute for Owen's first effort at goal when, having seemingly been pushed wide, he managed to lash at shot that Keller did well to parry to safety.

Gerrard drilled a shot wide before both Davies and Taricco flashed low crosses across the six-yard line that just required the final touch.

The game exploded into life at the start of the second half and the change came from the unlikliest of sources.

Only two minutes had gone when Taricco, in space, opted to unleash a shot rather than look for one of his angled passes. It looked comfortable enough for Dudek but he spilled the ball and it trickled slowly over the line - Taricco's first goal after joining us back in December 1998.

Unfortunately the lead only lasted three minutes and it was a poor goal from our point of view. We managed to break down a Liverpool attack but gave the ball away on the edge of the box, Gerrard drilled it across goal and Owen slid home at the far post.

Davies volleyed just wide from a free-kick and Keller saved well at his near post from Owen's break.

Dudek, naturally shaken by Taricco's goal, spilled Davies' volley and that led to our next chance as Poyet found a yard in the box from a corner but snatched his effort wide.

The vital second went Liverpool's way, again from our mistake. Keller's throw was intercepted by Carragher, he found Gerrard breaking into the box and instead of shooting, he clipped the perfect cross for Heskey to nod into an empty net.

Slabber entered the fray with 12 minutes left but the visitorws all-but wrapped it up within minutes of his arrival.

With 81 minutes left and Poyet screaming for a foul at the other end, Liverpool broke, Murphy picked out Gerrard's run, the England star's first touch took him away from Thatcher and he buried the ball in the bottom corner from 18 yards.

Slabber first decisive touch memorably led to a goal as he nodded Carr's corner into the path of Sheringham, who finished well from close range, but it was too hugh a mountain to climb to find an equaliser with only four minutes left.

MINUTE-BY-MINUTE GUIDE

3mins: Bright start from Liverpool but we created the first chance as Sheringham flicked Etherington's cross over from 15 yards.

9mins: Davies inches away from latching onto Sheringham flick.

10mins: Diouf, cutting in from right, ballooned shot over.

11mins: Doherty into Davies, low cross met by late-arriving Poyet but couldn't keep on target from 10 yards.

12mins: YELLOW. Carr for foul on Murphy.

13mins: Diouf found in space, travelled to byline, Owen crowded out at near post.

23mins: SAVE. Owen onto Heskey flick, held up well and forced out wide but found the space to fire in shot that Keller parried well.

33mins: Gerrard started and finished move, superb pass down the line to Murphy, Owen wanted early ball but again defended well, ball pulled back to Gerrard who fired wide from 25 yards.

38mins: YELLOW. Hamann for foul on Bunjevcevic.

42mins: Lovely ball from Sheringham to Davies, drove across goal but no-one there to make decisive touch.

44mins: CLOSE. Taricco played one-two with Doherty, dangerous cross across the six-yard line but again, no-one there to tap home.

Half-time: Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

47mins: Sheringham into Poyet who flicked up and volleyed a yard over.

47mins: GOAL. Dudek made a complete hash of Taricco's swerving effort from 30 yards and having slipped through his grasp, crept over the line. 1-0.

50mins: GOAL. Sheringham's loose pass fell to Gerrard, who drove low across goal for Owen to slide home. 1-1.

59mins: Davies flicked up free-kick and volleyed a yard wide with Dudek rooted.

63mins: Ball given away and suddenly Owen was away, Thatcher did well to push him slightly wide but Keller still needed for smart save at near post.

64mins: Dudek spilled Davies volley.

65mins: CHANCE. Ball not cleared from corner, Davies shot fell at Poyet's feet but he snatched his effort wide from 10 yards.

68mins: SUB. Freund for Taricco.

72mins: GOAL. Carragher intercepted Keller's throw and found Gerrard breaking into the box, he clipped it to the far post for Heskey to nod into an empty net. 1-2.

78mins: SUB. Slabber for Doherty.

81mins: GOAL. Quick break from our attack, Murphy found Gerrard who took it superbly past Thatcher with his first touch which sent him clear, clinical finish into bottom corner. 3-1.

86mins: GOAL. Carr's corner won by Slabber and Sheringham made no mistake from close range. 3-2.

86mins: SUB. Diao for Hamann.

Line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Carr, Taricco (Freund, 68), Bunjevcevic, Thatcher, King, Poyet, Etherington, Davies, Doherty (Slabber, 78), Sheringham. Subs: Sullivan, Acimovic, Toda.

Liverpool: Dudek, Hyypia, Heskey, Diouf, Owen, Heskey, Murphy, Hamann (Diao, 86), Gerrard, Riise, Carragher, Traore. Subs: Baros, Smicer, Arphexad, Biscan.

Attendance: 36,077