MATCH REPORT: LIVERPOOL V SPURS
Robbie Keane made it six goals in six games in his 400th club appearance but the team were denied a victory by a stoppage time header.
Robbie Keane made it six goals in six games in his 400th club appearance but the team were denied a victory by a stoppage time header.The majority of a crowd of 43,986 were left stunned by Keane's double and appeared resigned to defeat until a Steve Finnan cross was met by the head of Fernando Torres at the far post and he nodded downwards past Paul Robinson.
A point at Anfield is a good result, but a first league win since 1993 would have been all the more memorable.
As early as the second minute, Gareth Bale rattled the outside of the netting from a free-kick on the edge of the area following a Andriy Voronin tangle with Didier Zokora. The Ukrainian then had a smart shot fielded by Robinson after clever link-up play involving Torres and Steven Gerrard.
The home side took the lead in the 12th minute when Jermaine Jenas illegally blocked a Gerrard run and referee Mr Halsey signalled for a free-kick not too far outside the area. Gerrard took the kick and his effort clipped Jenas on its way through, Robinson failed to hold and Voronin stole in to tap into the back of the net.
Torres has the chance to double the advantage and dragged his shot wide after an ambitious run then another Gerrard free-kick caused hearts to be in mouths, this one striking the post not long before the half hour mark. Berbatov had half a chance to level when he got the better of Jamie Carragher from a Keane flick, but the defender managed to recover himself and guided the striker's not powerful effort away from the line.
There was not a lot in this contest in territory terms but the menace of Gerrard and Torres was a threatening prospect, the Spanish striker should perhaps have made a stronger connection from an low centre from Alvaro Arbeloa. Shortly afterwards, a Torres dash led to Voronin being left in space inside our area, with the former strike partner of Berbatov leaving responsibility to Gerrard, who was denied by the legs of a grounded Michael Dawson.
A minute before the break parity was restored following a punt from Robinson that was then flicked on by Berbatov before being seized on by Keane. The Irishman shook off the challenge of Steve Finnan and Carragher before poking the ball past an advanced Jose Reina.
Lightening struck twice just a minute into the second half when another Robbo clearance was again met by the head of Berbatov and again it was Keane on the end of it, this time with a higher effort that crept in under the bar with Reina clutching thin air.
There was a new confidence that then ran through the team and another was looking on the cards as Liverpool were rocking, not used to being dictated to on their own patch. Rafa Benitez responded by bringing on Ryan Babel for Arbeloa and another Dutchman, Dirk Kuyt was not far behind.
The boys were showing a steely resolve in withstanding the inevitable Liverpool surge and did so with considerable efficiency. Steed Malbranque came on for Teemu Tainio before Robinson was tested by Finnan and Dawson had to mop up to avert danger from the rebound. It was a nervy moment.
Another one swiftly followed when a Kuyt cross was met and drilled goalwards at the near post by Javier Mascherano. Robinson did brilliantly to turn away.
There was more pressure, but it looked like being effectively repelled until Torres intervened.