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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 17:58 UK

Tottenham   2 - 1   Liverpool

Sebastien Bassong celebrates his winner for Spurs against Liverpool
Matchwinner Bassong was only signed by Spurs 10 days ago

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at White Hart Lane

Liverpool's quest to end a 20-year wait to win the title started with the disappointment of an opening-day defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Rafael Benitez can have few complaints as Liverpool - heavily tipped to end Manchester United's run of three successive Premier League titles - delivered a lame display which lacked attacking invention and genuine quality.

Spurs, in contrast, showed the greater ambition and the scenes of delight at the final whistle reflected the renewed optimism felt by Harry Redknapp and his players at claiming one of the top flight's prized scalps.

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Keane wasted three glorious openings before Benoit Assou-Ekotto's thunderous drive gave Spurs a deserved lead a minute before the interval.

FOOTBALL BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes' rush of blood threw Liverpool a lifeline they barely merited after 56 minutes when he dashed from goal and brought down Glen Johnson, allowing Steven Gerrard to level from the spot.

But Spurs were swiftly back in front when defender Sebastien Bassong marked a hugely promising debut following his £8m switch from Newcastle by heading Luka Modric's free-kick past Pepe Reina.

Liverpool finally sparked into life and were infuriated when referee Phil Dowd dismissed late claims for a penalty after substitute Andriy Voronin tumbled under a challenge from Assou-Ekotto.

It capped Liverpool's intense frustration and assistant manager Sammy Lee was sent from the dug-out after an exchange with the fourth official.

Liverpool also have an injury worry over defender Martin Skrtel, who struggled throughout with a jaw injury after a clash of heads with Jamie Carragher.

606: DEBATE

Benitez 's side failed to make a serious attacking impact on Spurs, with Fernando Torres well-shackled by Bassong and Ledley King, and their midfield lacking cohesion without the departed Xabi Alonso.

Spurs were comfortably the more accomplished side, with Wilson Palacios and the gifted Modric dovetailing well in midfield and their reshaped defence looking assured throughout.

White Hart Lane proved a bogey ground for Liverpool last season, with one of only two Premier League defeats at Spurs - and boss Benitez will be hoping this represents little more than a false start.

Redknapp gave Keane the nod ahead of new boy Peter Crouch in attack - and he was not short of opportunities in a first half that started slowly but ended with Spurs in command.

The first incident of note came with a nasty clash of heads between Liverpool's central defensive duo Carragher and Skrtel that left both players needing lengthy treatment.

Tottenham deserved win - Redknapp

Carragher was forced off to be patched up, and while Skrtel stayed on he was clearly troubled by the heavy blow to his jaw and needed further attention as the game progressed.

Gerrard provided Liverpool's only moment of danger in the opening exchanges with a low drive from 25 yards that was always drifting wide of Gomes' goal.

Spurs showed the greater attacking invention, but Keane could find his touch in front of goal and wasted three presentable chances to punish the club where he had a short and unfulfilling spell last season.

He should have given Spurs the lead after 33 minutes when he had the goal at his mercy after a clever delivery by Modric, but he allowed Reina to scramble across his goal and save.

Keane then failed to chip over the onrushing Reina before blazing another wasteful finish well over when unmarked in the area.

Spurs deserved something for their superiority - and they got it in the most spectacular fashion a minute before the interval, with Assou-Ekotto lashing a rising 25-yard drive beyond Reina after Tom Huddlestone's free-kick rebounded back off Emiliano Insua.

Benitez demands Liverpool improvement

Reina had been Liverpool's star performer, and he emphasised his quality again seven minutes after the break when he dived acrobatically to turn over a powerful effort from Palacios.

The importance of the save was underscored seconds later when Liverpool drew level from the penalty spot. Spurs' keeper Gomes needlessly hauled down Johnson as he dashed from his goal and Gerrard slammed home the spot-kick.

Liverpool's spell of equality was brief as Spurs restored their advantage three minutes later when debutant Bassong rose high to meet Modric's free-kick and beat Reina.

Johnson had shown glimpses of the attacking dimension Benitez hopes he will give Liverpool after his £17m move from Portsmouth when he delivered an inviting cross that Torres could only direct wide at the far post.

Liverpool pressed in the final moments but could not break through - they could not fashion an equaliser and it would have been cruel on Spurs had they done so.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Assou-Ekotto 44
  • Bassong 59
  • Gerrard (pen) 56

Tottenham

Substitutes

Liverpool

Substitutes

Ref: DowdAtt: 35,935
TOTTENHAM
LIVERPOOL

Possession

  • Tottenham 58%
  • Liverpool 42%

Attempts on target

  • Tottenham 11
  • Liverpool 3

Attempts off target

  • Tottenham 6
  • Liverpool 3

Corners

  • Tottenham 6
  • Liverpool 5

Fouls

  • Tottenham 14
  • Liverpool 16
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:19 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
  • 90:00+2:56 Fernando Torres gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tom Huddlestone. Heurelho Gomes takes the direct free kick.
  • 90:00+1:07 Substitution Roman Pavlyuchenko joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jermain Defoe.
  • 90:00+1:00 A cross is delivered by Jermain Defoe.
  • 88:06 Andriy Voronin sends in a cross, save made by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 86:11 Jamie O'Hara takes a shot. Daniel Ayala gets a block in.
  • 85:53 Emiliano Insua concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Lennon. Free kick taken by Tom Huddlestone.
  • 84:31 Jermain Defoe fouled by Daniel Ayala, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jamie O'Hara.
  • 82:52 Substitution (Tottenham) makes a substitution, with Jamie O'Hara coming on for Luka Modric.
  • 82:25 Steven Gerrard produces a cross, save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 81:41 The ball is sent over by Glen Johnson.
  • 79:28 A cross is delivered by Javier Mascherano, Ledley King makes a clearance.
  • 78:26 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Vedran Corluka.
  • 78:11 Substitution Andriy Voronin on for Dirk Kuyt.
  • 77:57 Shot by Yossi Benayoun. Ledley King gets a block in.
  • 77:07 Unfair challenge on Daniel Ayala by Jermain Defoe results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
  • 75:26 The referee gives a free kick against Yossi Benayoun for handball. Vedran Corluka takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 74:06 Substitution Martin Skrtel leaves the field to be replaced by Daniel Ayala.
  • 74:06 Substitution Martin Skrtel goes off and Daniel Ayala comes on.
  • 73:38 Peter Crouch takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
  • 72:52 Drilled left-footed shot by Steven Gerrard. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 71:44 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, Close range header by Fernando Torres goes wide of the left-hand upright.
  • 71:25 The ball is crossed by Emiliano Insua, clearance made by Ledley King.
  • 70:21 The ball is delivered by Dirk Kuyt, Ledley King makes a clearance.
  • 70:00 Dirk Kuyt produces a cross, clearance made by Sebastien Bassong.
  • 68:59 Luka Modric has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • Correction - 66:27 The free kick is swung in right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone makes a clearance.
  • Correction - 66:27 Substitution Robbie Keane goes off and Peter Crouch comes on.
  • Correction - 66:27 Substitution Yossi Benayoun on for Ryan Babel.
  • 66:27 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Tom Huddlestone.
  • 66:27 Substitution Peter Crouch is brought on as a substitute for Robbie Keane.
  • 66:27 Substitution Yossi Benayoun comes on in place of Ryan Babel.
  • 66:27 Booking Benoit Assou-Ekotto receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
  • Correction - 66:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Benoit Assou-Ekotto on Glen Johnson.
  • 66:19 Benoit Assou-Ekotto challenges Glen Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 65:03 Robbie Keane has a drilled shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • 64:29 Centre by Javier Mascherano, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
  • 64:11 Centre by Emiliano Insua, Benoit Assou-Ekotto manages to make a clearance.
  • 60:26 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Babel by Vedran Corluka. Steven Gerrard has an effort direct from the free kick, save by Heurelho Gomes. Corner taken by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Tom Huddlestone.
  • 58:43 The assist for the goal came from Luka Modric.
  • 58:43 GOAL - Sebastien BassongTottenham 2 - 1 Liverpool Sebastien Bassong scores a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool.
  • 58:05 The ball is crossed by Luka Modric,
  • 58:05 Booking Jamie Carragher is shown a yellow card.
  • 57:59 Jamie Carragher concedes a free kick for a foul on Jermain Defoe.
  • 57:14 Shot from 20 yards from Jermain Defoe. Blocked by Jamie Carragher. Corner taken short by Aaron Lennon, The ball is swung over by Luka Modric, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
  • 55:19 The assist for the goal came from Glen Johnson.
  • 55:19 GOAL - Steven GerrardTottenham 1 - 1 Liverpool Penalty taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard and scored. Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool.
  • 54:24 Booking Heurelho Gomes receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
  • 54:18 Heurelho Gomes challenges Glen Johnson unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
  • 52:52 Wilson Palacios takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina. Short corner taken by Luka Modric from the right by-line. Foul by Jermain Defoe on Jamie Carragher, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 52:18 Tom Huddlestone concedes a free kick for a foul on Javier Mascherano. Free kick taken by Martin Skrtel.
  • 51:03 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Glen Johnson by Robbie Keane. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
  • 50:26 Luka Modric takes the free kick.
  • 50:26 Booking The referee cautions Martin Skrtel for unsporting behaviour.
  • 50:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robbie Keane by Martin Skrtel.
  • 49:42 Tom Huddlestone challenges Dirk Kuyt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 49:07 Foul by Emiliano Insua on Aaron Lennon, free kick awarded. Vedran Corluka takes the direct free kick.
  • 48:26 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide left of the goal.
  • 47:12 Luka Modric gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Glen Johnson. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
  • 45:36 Corner from the right by-line taken by Steven Gerrard, Ledley King makes a clearance.
  • 45:01 The second half begins.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+3:58 The match has reached half-time.
  • 45:00+0:51 Foul by Jermain Defoe on Martin Skrtel, free kick awarded. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 44:03 GOAL - Benoit Assou-EkottoTottenham 1 - 0 Liverpool Benoit Assou-Ekotto fires in a goal from just outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-0 Liverpool.
  • Correction - 43:49 GOAL - Benoit Assou-EkottoTottenham 1 - 0 Liverpool Benoit Assou-Ekotto gets on the score sheet with a goal from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-0 Liverpool.
  • Correction - 42:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wilson Palacios by Martin Skrtel. Strike on goal comes in from Tom Huddlestone from the free kick.
  • 42:47 Martin Skrtel challenges Wilson Palacios unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Tom Huddlestone from the free kick.
  • 42:20 Unfair challenge on Martin Skrtel by Jermain Defoe results in a free kick. Martin Skrtel takes the free kick.
  • 41:31 Effort on goal by Robbie Keane from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 40:27 Dirk Kuyt challenges Benoit Assou-Ekotto unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Luka Modric.
  • 40:19 The ball is swung over by Ryan Babel, save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 39:47 The ball is delivered by Wilson Palacios, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.
  • 39:21 Unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Leiva Lucas results in a free kick. Wilson Palacios takes the free kick.
  • 39:09 Unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Ryan Babel results in a free kick. Vedran Corluka restarts play with the free kick.
  • 38:32 A cross is delivered by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Sebastien Bassong.
  • 37:28 Steven Gerrard sends in a cross, blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Tom Huddlestone.
  • 37:01 The assistant referee flags for offside against Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by Ledley King.
  • 33:35 Lobbed right-footed shot by Robbie Keane. Save made by Jose Reina. Corner taken right-footed by Luka Modric to the near post, Header from close in by Jermain Defoe misses to the right of the target.
  • 31:20 Tom Huddlestone shoots direct from the free kick. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Luka Modric played to the near post, Fernando Torres makes a clearance.
  • 31:20 Booking Javier Mascherano goes into the referee's book.
  • 30:51 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Javier Mascherano.
  • 30:34 Centre by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Emiliano Insua manages to make a clearance.
  • 29:43 The ball is crossed by Luka Modric, Robbie Keane takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • Correction - 28:50 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
  • 28:50 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.
  • 28:20 The assistant referee flags for offside against Fernando Torres. Ledley King takes the indirect free kick.
  • 25:06 Fernando Torres concedes a free kick for a foul on Sebastien Bassong. Heurelho Gomes restarts play with the free kick.
  • 24:17 Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
  • 24:17 Booking The referee cautions Aaron Lennon for unsporting behaviour.
  • 24:12 Aaron Lennon challenges Martin Skrtel unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 22:26 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermain Defoe on Fernando Torres. Leiva Lucas takes the free kick.
  • 21:10 Aaron Lennon produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal. Fernando Torres concedes a free kick for a foul on Sebastien Bassong. Direct free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 20:07 Robbie Keane fouled by Martin Skrtel, the ref awards a free kick. Luka Modric crosses the ball in from the free kick.
  • 12:23 Glen Johnson crosses the ball, clearance made by Ledley King.
  • Correction - 9:55 Shot by Wilson Palacios. Jamie Carragher gets a block in. Short corner taken by Luka Modric. Luka Modric crosses the ball, clearance by Jamie Carragher. Foul by Aaron Lennon on Javier Mascherano, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 9:55 Effort on goal by Wilson Palacios from 25 yards. Blocked by Jamie Carragher. Luka Modric decides to take a short corner. Luka Modric sends in a cross, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance. Javier Mascherano fouled by Aaron Lennon, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 9:15 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fernando Torres on Ledley King. Free kick taken by Ledley King.
  • 8:46 Unfair challenge on Jermain Defoe by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Vedran Corluka.
  • 8:29 The ball is delivered by Emiliano Insua, save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 7:51 Corner from right by-line taken by Steven Gerrard.
  • 2:22 Luka Modric takes the outswinging corner, Effort on goal by Benoit Assou-Ekotto from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 0:00 The game begins.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

16 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man Utd 1-0 Birmingham R
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool R

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 16 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 1 5 3
2 Man City 1 2 3
3 Stoke 1 2 3
4 West Ham 1 2 3
5 Wigan 1 2 3
6 Chelsea 1 1 3
7 Tottenham 1 1 3
8 Fulham 1 1 3
9 Man Utd 1 1 3
10 Sunderland 1 1 3
11 Hull 1 -1 0
12 Liverpool 1 -1 0
13 Birmingham 1 -1 0
14 Bolton 1 -1 0
15 Portsmouth 1 -1 0
16 Aston Villa 1 -2 0
17 Blackburn 1 -2 0
18 Burnley 1 -2 0
19 Wolverhampton 1 -2 0
20 Everton 1 -5 0

see also
Benitez fumes at penalty denials
16 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's Premier League photos
16 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football as it happened
16 Aug 09 |  Football



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