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Season ends in defeat at Anfield

Posted on 24 May 2009  - 12:00

Robbie Keane scored our final goal of the season against the club where he started it - but it was not enough as the campaign concluded with a 3-1 defeat against second-placed Liverpool.

Season ends in defeat at Anfield

Robbie Keane scored our final goal of the season against the club where he started it - but it was not enough as the campaign concluded with a 3-1 defeat against second-placed Liverpool.

The captain's strike offered a glimmer of hope as it came when trailing 2-0, but the home side added a further goal as our hopes of finishing seventh and claiming a place in Europe were finally extinguished.

Anfield was bathed in sunshine as the Liverpool fans paid tribute to Sami Hyypia in his final game, and Steven Gerrard nearly got his team off to a bright start when Didier Zokora lost the ball and the home captain fizzed a shot just over the bar.

In a period of pressure, Yossi Benayoun also fired over from in front of goal after Martin Skrtel nodded down following a corner. Liverpool continued to dominate possession but were not finding ways of troubling Heurelho Gomes as the clock ticked past the 20 minute mark.

It was Pepe Reina who was next caused alarm when Benoit Assou-Ekotto drilled in a low shot that the Spanish goalkeeper needed to grab to gather.

But Fernando Torres bought his own brand of finishing to the party on 31 minutes, when he opened the scoring with a header which hit the underside of Gomes' bar following Dirk Kuyt's cross.

Jermain Defoe found himself through on goal just before the break after he sprang the offside trap, but Reina was quickly off his line and averted the danger.

Half time came in a game neither side had made much of an impression in but Liverpool, thanks to Torres, held the advantage.

Liverpool were holding sway in the second half without inflicting further deficit but there was a chance for us to level when the increasingly influential Luka Modric was chopped down on the edge of the area. Gareth Bale hit the target from the resulting free-kick, but Reina was on the correct side of the goal to collect without great alarm.

It was a patched up midfield on parade, with Jermaine Jenas picking up what appeared to be an ankle injury in the first half, and he was replaced by David Bentley. This led to Modric moving inside to partner Zokora, with Bentley playing on the right and Bale on the left.

In front of the Kop, a Skrtel shot struck Torres and was just missed by Benayoun in front of goal before, on 63 minutes, some slick interchange resulted in a Kuyt shot taking a deflection off Alan Hutton and clearing the reach of the already grounded Gomes for 2-0.

Gerrard struck an upright before Gomes saved brilliantly from a Xabi Alonso drive in the following minutes. Harry Redknapp responded by introducing Roman Pavlyuchenko in place of Defoe, but next to go close was Gerrard who shot just wide of Gomes' left hand post.

The deficit was reduced on 76 minutes when Modric set Keane free, and the captain advanced unchallenged before whipping past Reina. It was the cue for Darren Bent to make his return from injury and he replaced Bale, with Keane switching to the left.

Hopes of a revival were short-lived however as Benayoun was soon clear in front of goal and just about managed to squeeze the ball past Gomes to make it 3-1 on 81 minutes.

Alonso and the substitute Albert Riera were unfortunate not to add their names to the scoresheet, but 3-1 it remained and it is farewell to season 2008-09.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, Corluka, King, Assou-Ekotto; Modric, Zokora, Jenas (Bentley, 40), Bale (Bent, 79); Defoe (Pavlyuchenko, 70), Keane
Subs not used: Cudicini, Chimbonda, Gunter, Campbell

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio; Alonso; Mascherano; Kuyt (Riera, 66), Gerrard (Hyypia, 85), Benayoun; Torres (Ngog, 79)
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Insua, Degen, Lucas