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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Liverpool squeeze past Spurs
Tottenham 2-3 Liverpool

Liverpool boosted their hopes of claiming the fourth Champions League spot with their first victory at White Hart Lane since 1996.

Mauricio Taricco challenges Liverpool's El Hadji Diouf for the ball
Taricco (centre) had given Spurs the lead
Clinical goals from Michael Owen, Emile Heskey and Steven Gerrard closed the gap on city neighbours Everton to a point after Mauricio Taricco had put Spurs in front.

Teddy Sheringham's fifth goal in his last seven games gave Tottenham hope of salvaging a late point but Liverpool held out for a valuable win.

The victory came despite a howler from keeper Jerzy Dudek, who gifted Taricco his first goal since 1998.

Instead it was a mistake from Spurs keeper Kasey Keller which proved decisive as Heskey profited to put Liverpool in front.

Spurs started the brighter with Sheringham sending a looping header narrowly over and Dudek needing to be alert to pounce on Sheringham's flick ahead of Simon Davies.

Gustavo Poyet, on his return to the Spurs side, then flashed a drive past the upright and volleyed wide from distance as Spurs continued to press for an opener.

But Liverpool started to pose their own threat and Owen beat Stephen Carr and Ledley King in a mazy run before letting fly with a shot that Keller parried.

Michael Owen celebrates his goal against Tottenham
Owen scored his 21st goal of the season
A superb flowing move after 34 minutes involving the impressive Danny Murphy then gave Gerrard a shooting opportunity, but the England midfielder sent his effort a foot wide.

Spurs finished the half in the ascendancy however, but a flashing cross across the face of the goal from Davies failed to find a recipient.

The Welsh midfielder also narrowly failed to get a touch to Taricco's cross, while Poyet promptly sent another dipping volley over on the resumption.

But Spurs finally took the lead three minutes into the second half when Dudek spilled Taricco's speculative long-range effort and watched as the ball dribbled over the line.

The lead lasted barely two minutes however as Sheringham dallied in his own area after El Hadji Diouf's penetrative run, allowing Gerrard to whip in a cross that Owen met at the far post.

Owen might have grabbed a second shortly afterwards when he found himself one-on-one against Ben Thatcher but saw his shot saved by Keller.

Pounced

But the home side should have regained the lead only for Poyet to spear a shot wide from seven yards out.

Instead it was Liverpool who pounced against the run of play after 72 minutes.

Keller, in his eagerness to put Spurs onto the offensive, succeeded only in throwing possession straight to Jamie Carragher.

The defender found Gerrard in the area, whose chipped ball to the far post was nodded in by Heskey.

Gerrard appeared to have sealed victory nine minutes from time when he ran from just inside the Spurs half to plant a firm drive past Keller.

But Sheringham volleyed home a knock-down from 18-year-old substitute Jamie Slabber with four minutes left to ensure a tense finish.


Tottenham: Keller, Carr, Thatcher, King, Taricco, Davies, Poyet, Bunjevcevic, Etherington, Sheringham, Doherty.
Subs: Sullivan, Freund, Acimovic, Slabber, Toda.

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

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire)


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Nigel Adderley
"Gerrard took the game by the scruff of the neck"


Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"Everything about our game in the second half was good"



TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

LIVERPOOL

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