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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Sunday, 24 May 2009 17:56 UK

Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham

By Oliver Brett


Emotional Hyypia sad to leave Liverpool

Liverpool ended their campaign with a comfortable win in which Sami Hyypia appeared as a substitute late on in his final appearance for the Anfield club.

Fernando Torres headed in Dirk Kuyt's cross for the opener in the first half.

Alan Hutton unluckily deflected a shot from Kuyt to make it 2-0 before Robbie Keane briefly silenced the home crowd when Liverpool's offside trap failed.

Yossi Benayoun made sure of the win, however, as Liverpool finished second and Spurs had to settle for eighth.

There was almost a fairytale ending for Finnish defender Hyypia, when - after a decade of service for Liverpool - he nearly scored a 36th goal for the club in his 454th appearance.

Redknapp looks to Spurs future

Rising majestically to fire a header at the Spurs goal, the Bayer Leverkusen-bound 35-year-old forced Heurelho Gomes into a scrambling save.

Liverpool started and finished the game strongly, while Spurs were generally outclassed and never looked like getting the victory they needed to give them a chance of scraping into the Europa League.

Benayoun was the most industrious player early on for the Reds and he fired over from close in after Kuyt had headed down a corner from Fabio Aurelio.

Torres was quiet initially but sparked into life after 27 minutes when he surged through from midfield and found himself clear just outside the box, only to see his attempt to steer a shot wide of Gomes thwarted by a challenge from Jermaine Jenas.

In making the tackle, Jenas injured himself and was unable to see out the half in his 150th appearance for Spurs. David Bentley eventually came on for him, but by then Spurs were a goal behind.

An error by Benoit Assou-Ekotto allowed Steven Gerrard to Dirk Kuyt down the right, and the Dutch international had time to switch to his left foot to pick out Torres at the far post.


The blond striker rose with perfect timing to elude his marker Hutton and powered in a header which rattled off the underside of the crossbar and into Gomes's net.

It was Torres's 50th Liverpool goal, and he has reached the landmark in fewer matches than some high-profile Liverpool strikers of yesteryear, such as Ian Rush, John Aldridge, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.

Spurs did carve out one half-chance just before the break as Jermain Defoe beat the offside trap to race clear but Pepe Reina managed to block him on the right-hand edge of the penalty area.

The early part of the second half saw Tottenham continue to make the Liverpool defence work, with Luka Modric brought down by Daniel Agger, giving the visitors a tasty free-kick from the edge of the D.

Gareth Bale took it from a central position but Reina palmed his strike down in front of him, with no Spurs players able to get to the rebound in time.

Benitez bows to fans pressure over Hyypia

Liverpool woke suddenly from their siesta and turned on the heat once again. Gerrard, twisting and turning in the Tottenham box, unsuccessfully claimed a penalty when his cross struck Vedran Corluka's outstretched arm.

Martin Skrtel's deflected shot went narrowly wide but soon it was 2-0 as the energetic Kuyt exchanged passes with Benayoun before rifling in a shot which would have gone wide of the post - but deflected in off the unlucky Hutton.

Xabi Alonso forced a save from Gomes and shots from Gerrard and the newly-introduced Albert Riera flew wide as Liverpool continued to press.

Unexpectedly, Keane gave Spurs brief respite by springing the offside trap and shooting past Reina.

However there was to be no twist in the tale, as Benayoun shrugged off the attentions of Ledley King to grab Liverpool's third. Moments later, Hyypia was sent on to a mass standing ovation for the final few minutes.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"I was trying to keep Sami [Hyppia] on the bench until the last minute but I couldn't because the fans were pushing me. Working with Sami for five years I know he is a fantastic professional and hopefully he will do the same in Germany and then come back to us.

"Clearly he will have a position with us in two or three years if we're still here. But it's a little bit emotional and a little bit sad today.

"We knew it was important for the fans that we finished the season really well. When it's the last game it's difficult to keep working hard but I was impressed with [Javier] Mascherano who just kept running."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:
"It's been a hard season but it's terrific for us to finish where we have. Today we conceded some sloppy goals but it was a typical end-of season game.

"Our away form hasn't been good enough this season but you look at today, we brought in a couple of lads who don't play regularly and it shows us what we need next year if we're going to push up and close the gap on teams like Liverpool.

"It was nice to see Sami Hyypia come on. He got an unbelievable ovation from a fantastic club and its supporters."

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Aurelio, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt (Riera 66), Gerrard (Hyypia 84), Benayoun, Torres (Ngog 78).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Lucas, Insua, Degen.

Goals: Torres 31, Hutton 64 og, Benayoun 81.

Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Corluka, King, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Zokora, Jenas (Bentley 40), Bale (Bent 78), Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 70), Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Gunter, Campbell, Chimbonda.

Booked: Corluka.

Goals: Keane 77.

Att: 43,937

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Liverpool's Sami Hyppia (9.00 on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League photos
24 May 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
24 May 09 |  Football
Hyypia bids farewell to Liverpool
23 May 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez insists Alonso will stay
24 May 09 |  Liverpool

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