Report: Spurs 2-1 Liverpool
English Barclays Premiership
Helder Postiga, Robbie Keane and a fine defensive display ensured Michael Brown a debut to remember against Liverpool.
Postiga responded to the challenge of replacing Fredi Kanoute with his first Premiership goal for the club, crucially doubling the lead in the second half after Keane converted the penalty he won himself midway through the first.
Brown covered every blade of grass on his Premiership debut. He chipped away at Dietmar Hamann and Danny Murphy throughout and trudged off covered in mud head to toe.
But the highest praise was reserved afterwards for Gary Doherty and Anthony Gardner in central defence after a near faultless display against Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.
Owen's instinctive volley almost opened the scoring in the fourth minute while Heskey headed his only half-chance wide in the second half. But both were half-chances, if that, and neither striker had a sniff all afternoon.
Liverpool's response came via Harry Kewell, their most likely player on the afternoon and although that led to a nerve wracking final few minutes, Kasey Keller, unsighted for that Kewell goal, wasn't seriously tested in 90 minutes.
The game was never an end-to-end classic but you were always on edge - victory here was a step up from the three out of three so far in 2004 and although it only lifted us up one place to 12th, we stood just three points behind Southampton in eighth on the final whistle.
Just as noteworthy is we are now seven points clear of the dreaded bottom three we found ourselves in after losing at home to Charlton on December 28.
Little had happened in either box until the opener on 24 minutes. Gardner flighted the perfect pass to Keane, who had drifted behind Igor Biscan. He controlled in an instant and was set to shoot when he was clipped and Uriah Rennie had little choice but to point to the spot. Keane picked himself up and drilled the penalty beyond Paul Jones' right hand.
Postiga snatched at a decent chance at the start of the second half when he might have squared to Keane but he was the hero two minutes later.
Biscan was caught out again as John Jackson, on for the injured Dalmat, floated the pass through to Postiga who stole a yard on the defender and slotted home.
Liverpool soon introduced Riise and Finnan as they went for broke but little happened for them until the 74th minute. Heskey appeared to bundle over Taricco in a challenge, the ball fell to Kewell who cut inside Jackson before shooting low through the bodies into the bottom right corner - Keller saw it late.
That led to a late surge from the visitors but the closest they came was a handball shout against Doherty, waved away by the referee. Doherty and Gardner stood firm, skipper Carr led from the back and few would argue with the standing ovation at the end.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
4mins: CLOSE. Owen pounced on Heskey flick, volleyed a yard wide from edge of box.
5mins: Postiga cut inside Henchoz, curler gathered at second attempt by Jones.
24mins: PENALTY/GOAL. Keane controlled delightful pass from Gardner, fouled by Biscan, slotted penalty himself. 1-0.
45mins: Owen broke offside for first time, lay back to Hamann, Kewell low shot straight at Keller.
Half-time: Spurs 1, Liverpool 0
Half-time: SUB. Jackson for Dalmat.
47mins: Heskey headed Kewell's corner wide.
50mins: Carr alive to clear from Heskey as he latched onto Cheyrou flick.
52mins: Postiga lashed over wildly after quick-thinking Taricco throw - Keane clear in box.
54mins: GOAL. Jackson long pass found Postiga, cool finish under pressure. 2-0.
60mins: SUB. Riise for Traore.
61mins: YELLOW: Hamann for foul on Brown.
65mins: YELLOW: Carr for foul on Hamann.
65mins: SUB. Finnan for Biscan.
69mins: Davies inches away from clever Keane pass.
74mins: GOAL. Kewell low shot through bodies, Keller unsighted. 2-1.
77mins: SUB. Zamora for Postiga.
Line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Carr, Taricco, Gardner, Doherty, Anderton, Davies, Brown, Dalmat (Jackson, 45), Keane, Postiga (Zamora, 77). Subs: Hirschfeld, Bunjevcevic, Kelly.
Liverpool: Jones, Henchoz, Hyypia, Kewell, Heskey, Owen, Murphy, Hamann, Traore (Riise, 60), Biscan (Finnan, 65) Cheyrou. Subs: Dudek, Le Tallac, Carragher.
Referee: Uriah Rennie
Attendance: 36, 104.