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Page last updated at 21:59 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Liverpool   2 - 0   Tottenham

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt
Dirk Kuyt proved the match-winner in a deserved Liverpool victory at Anfield

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport at Anfield

Liverpool made up crucial ground in the race for the Premier League's fourth place with victory over Tottenham at Anfield.

Dirk Kuyt's early strike established the platform for the win in a game Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admitted they simply could not afford to lose, leaving them only a single point behind Spurs.

And he wrapped up the three points with a twice-taken penalty in injury time after Sebastian Bassong had flattened Liverpool substitute David Ngog in the area.

Liverpool's ceaseless workrate and greater passion earned them a deserved three points, and the victory margin could have been greater had Albert Riera's second half header not hit the bar and Kuyt failed to hit the target from close range.

Ngog forced a fine save from Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes in the dying minutes and Kuyt was guilty of an awful miss as Anfield was subjected to a needlessly anxious finale before the Netherlands striker scored his second from the spot.

Benitez pleased by fans' backing

Spurs were desperately disappointing as they missed a chance to put down a marker for their ambitions of breaking into the top four, rarely applying concerted pressure to a Liverpool side stripped of their two most potent forces, captain Steven Gerrard and and striker Fernando Torres, through injury.

Manager Harry Redknapp can point to a Jermain Defoe strike that was contentiously ruled out by referee Howard Webb, leaving him still without a managerial win at Anfield in 13 visits.

It is now more than 16 years since Spurs last enjoyed a league win at one of the so-called big four of the Premier League, a damning statistic and one they would have been hoping to change when they arrived to face under-strength and struggling Liverpool at Anfield.

Instead it was Liverpool who claimed the honours, and while the win was hardly a cure for the ills that have dogged their season, they can at least feel there is now some cause for cautious optimism.

Liverpool boss Benitez's spirits will have been lifted by a banner of support on The Kop - and his team played their part as they took the lead after only six minutes.

PHIL McNULTY'S BLOG

Alberto Aquilani made a nuisance of himself on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, and when the ball fell into Kuyt's path he drilled a low right-foot finish into Gomes' bottom corner.

Liverpool may have been without injured Gerrard, but there was no shortage of industry and inspiration as Jamie Carragher led from the front impressively.

Spurs were lacking sharpness and Liverpool's greater sense of urgency was much appreciated by their fans as Anfield searched for vital signs that this season of suffering will come out of its slump.

Gomes' desire to punch as opposed to catch was causing more problems than it solved for the Spurs defence, and he almost put his side in trouble a minute before the interval when he failed to deal convincingly with Riera's corner. Kuyt saw his header scrambled off the line by Gareth Bale in the subsequent melee before Martin Skrtel fired over the top.

Spurs finally gave Pepe Reina an anxious moment in first half stoppage time when Luka Modric broke into the area, but Liverpool's keeper was equal to the task as he blocked with his legs.

Defoe thought he had equalised for Spurs in the opening moments of the second half, but the goal was ruled out - although the exact nature of the offence was not clear.

And Liverpool almost took advantage and doubled their lead after 51 minutes when Riera met Carragher's cross with a fine header, only to see it bounce back to safety off the bar.

Redknapp rues missed opportunity

Spurs appeared to have finally realised the importance of the occasion and looked to apply some pressure to Liverpool's goal, with Jermaine Jenas forcing Reina into a one-handed save following a slick exchange with Defoe on the edge of the box.

Philipp Degen inexplicably wasted the chance to get Liverpool's second when he was set free by Kuyt inside the area. The situation begged for a shot, and yet Degen chose to play a hopeless return ball that brought the threat to an abrupt conclusion.

Benitez made two changes to see Liverpool through to the final whistle, with Ngog replacing the tiring Aquilani and Maxi Rodriguez coming on for Riera. It should have been the signal for Liverpool to wrap up the win, but Ngog was halted by Gomes, who also saved well from Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Kuyt shot hopelessly over from eight yards.

Liverpool finally got the second goal they had threatened when Bassong clumsily floored Ngog in the area. He scored with his first attempt but was ordered to retake the kick after a Liverpool player encroached - and he was equally emphatic at the second time of asking.

The Kop ended singing the name of manager Benitez as some of the pressure lifted on the Spaniard with victory over one of their closest rivals for a top four place.

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Kuyt 6
  • Kuyt (pen) 90+3

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Tottenham

    Substitutes

    Ref: WebbAtt: 42,016
    LIVERPOOL
    TOTTENHAM

    Possession

    • Liverpool 53%
    • Tottenham 47%

    Attempts on target

    • Liverpool 5
    • Tottenham 5

    Attempts off target

    • Liverpool 8
    • Tottenham 2

    Corners

    • Liverpool 2
    • Tottenham 3

    Fouls

    • Liverpool 11
    • Tottenham 17
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+5:49 The referee blows for the end of the match.
    • 90:00+2:20 David Ngog provided the assist for the goal.
    • 90:00+2:20 GOAL - Dirk KuytLiverpool 2 - 0 Tottenham Penalty taken right-footed by Dirk Kuyt and scored. Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham.
    • 90:00+0:40 Sebastien Bassong challenges David Ngog unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
    • 89:27 Substitution Stephen Darby comes on in place of Philipp Degen.
    • 87:44 The ball is sent over by Dirk Kuyt, Jermaine Jenas manages to make a clearance.
    • 87:21 Sotirios Kyrgiakos takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 86:23 Gareth Bale challenges Javier Mascherano unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
    • 85:21 A cross is delivered by David Ngog, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
    • 84:46 Jamie Carragher delivers the ball, Dirk Kuyt produces a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
    • 84:35 David Ngog takes a shot. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 84:09 Handball decision goes against Jermain Defoe. Martin Skrtel takes the direct free kick.
    • 83:48 The ball is sent over by David Ngog, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
    • 82:55 Alan Hutton produces a cross, clearance made by Emiliano Insua.
    • 82:49 Centre by Wilson Palacios.
    • 81:34 Strike on goal comes in from Gareth Bale from the free kick.
    • 81:34 Booking Leiva Lucas goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
    • 81:22 Gareth Bale fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 81:16 Michael Dawson delivers the ball, Sotirios Kyrgiakos makes a clearance.
    • 79:56 Direct free kick taken by Martin Skrtel.
    • 79:56 Substitution Sebastien Bassong on for Ledley King.
    • 79:56 Substitution Albert Riera leaves the field to be replaced by Rodriguez Maxi.
    • 79:56 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Ngog by Michael Dawson.
    • 78:28 Substitution David Ngog joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alberto Aquilani.
    • 78:03 The ball is crossed by Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 76:16 Jermain Defoe is ruled offside. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
    • 76:11 The ball is swung over by Alan Hutton, clearance by Leiva Lucas.
    • 75:47 Corner taken by Luka Modric played to the near post, Alberto Aquilani manages to make a clearance.
    • 75:39 Jermaine Jenas crosses the ball, blocked by Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
    • 73:00 Albert Riera has an effort at goal from long distance that goes wide left.
    • 71:08 Emiliano Insua fouled by Luka Modric, the ref awards a free kick. A cross is delivered by Alberto Aquilani, Close range shot by Dirk Kuyt clears the bar.
    • 70:11 Peter Crouch challenges Leiva Lucas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 66:54 A cross is delivered by Wilson Palacios, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 65:13 Centre by Robbie Keane, clearance made by Albert Riera.
    • 64:13 Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 64:13 Substitution Robbie Keane is brought on as a substitute for Niko Kranjcar.
    • 64:13 Unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano by Wilson Palacios results in a free kick.
    • 63:20 Dirk Kuyt is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ledley King.
    • 62:11 Gareth Bale sends in a cross.
    • 60:47 Substitution Alan Hutton is brought on as a substitute for Vedran Corluka.
    • 59:29 Albert Riera delivers the ball, clearance by Ledley King.
    • 58:19 Jermaine Jenas concedes a free kick for a foul on Leiva Lucas. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.
    • 57:42 Niko Kranjcar takes the inswinging corner, Leiva Lucas manages to make a clearance.
    • 57:26 Jermaine Jenas takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 56:16 Gareth Bale delivers the ball.
    • 55:37 A cross is delivered by Jamie Carragher, clearance made by Vedran Corluka.
    • 53:51 Luka Modric takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
    • 52:20 Ledley King gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dirk Kuyt. Alberto Aquilani crosses the ball in from the free kick.
    • 51:45 Centre by Jermaine Jenas, save by Jose Reina.
    • 51:27 Long range shot from Javier Mascherano misses to the left of the target.
    • 50:56 Albert Riera takes a shot.
    • 50:29 Alberto Aquilani delivers the ball, clearance made by Michael Dawson.
    • 49:58 Javier Mascherano restarts play with the free kick.
    • 49:58 Booking The referee shows Wilson Palacios a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 49:49 Leiva Lucas fouled by Wilson Palacios, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 49:13 Philipp Degen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale. Direct free kick taken by Jermaine Jenas.
    • Correction - 48:14 Niko Kranjcar concedes a free kick for a foul on Philipp Degen. Albert Riera fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 48:14 Unfair challenge on Philipp Degen by Niko Kranjcar results in a free kick. Albert Riera crosses the ball in from the free kick.
    • 46:35 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jose Reina by Jermain Defoe. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
    • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+4:10 The ref blows to end the first period.
    • 45:00+3:13 Luka Modric takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
    • 45:00+2:46 Philipp Degen challenges Niko Kranjcar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ledley King.
    • 45:00+2:04 Shot on goal by Martin Skrtel from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 45:00+1:17 Corner taken by Albert Riera from the right by-line played to the near post, Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Clearance by Gareth Bale.
    • 45:00+1:09 A cross is delivered by Jamie Carragher, Ledley King makes a clearance.
    • 44:45 Foul by Philipp Degen on Wilson Palacios, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Wilson Palacios.
    • 44:03 Albert Riera produces a cross, Effort on goal by Sotirios Kyrgiakos from inside the box misses to the right of the target.
    • 43:27 Albert Riera takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 42:00 Niko Kranjcar concedes a free kick for a foul on Alberto Aquilani. Free kick crossed left-footed by Albert Riera, save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 38:51 Niko Kranjcar crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, free kick awarded for a foul by Niko Kranjcar on Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 38:51 Booking The referee books Javier Mascherano for unsporting behaviour.
    • 38:38 Javier Mascherano concedes a free kick for a foul on Jermain Defoe.
    • 36:22 The referee blows for offside against Jermain Defoe. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 33:45 Free kick taken by Martin Skrtel.
    • 33:45 Booking Gareth Bale is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
    • 32:36 Gareth Bale concedes a free kick for a foul on Philipp Degen.
    • 32:08 The assistant referee signals for offside against Philipp Degen. Heurelho Gomes takes the free kick.
    • 28:30 Jermain Defoe gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Philipp Degen. Martin Skrtel takes the direct free kick.
    • 28:16 Dirk Kuyt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Dawson. Free kick taken by Vedran Corluka.
    • 27:08 Albert Riera crosses the ball, clearance by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 26:18 Free kick crossed left-footed by Albert Riera, clearance by Michael Dawson.
    • 26:18 Booking Jermaine Jenas receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 26:10 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Philipp Degen by Jermaine Jenas.
    • 23:49 Alberto Aquilani fouled by Wilson Palacios, the ref awards a free kick. Shot comes in from Albert Riera from the free kick, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
    • 22:58 Gareth Bale produces a left-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 21:54 Vedran Corluka sends in a cross, Ledley King takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
    • 21:02 Foul by Javier Mascherano on Gareth Bale, free kick awarded. Gareth Bale crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing.
    • 19:34 The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, save made by Jose Reina.
    • 18:57 Outswinging corner taken by Niko Kranjcar, clearance made by Dirk Kuyt.
    • 18:51 A cross is delivered by Luka Modric, Javier Mascherano gets a block in.
    • 18:23 The ball is swung over by Emiliano Insua, clearance made by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 17:24 The referee blows for offside against Jermain Defoe. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
    • 15:16 The ball is crossed by Gareth Bale, Sotirios Kyrgiakos manages to make a clearance.
    • 13:31 Javier Mascherano gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Jenas. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jermaine Jenas, clearance made by Dirk Kuyt.
    • 8:27 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emiliano Insua on Peter Crouch. Michael Dawson takes the free kick.
    • 7:01 Peter Crouch is ruled offside. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
    • 5:47 Assist by Alberto Aquilani.
    • 5:47 GOAL - Dirk KuytLiverpool 1 - 0 Tottenham Dirk Kuyt scores a goal from just outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Tottenham.
    • 5:22 Gareth Bale delivers the ball, save made by Jose Reina.
    • 3:17 Unfair challenge on Niko Kranjcar by Jamie Carragher results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Gareth Bale.
    • 1:29 Javier Mascherano concedes a free kick for a foul on Wilson Palacios. Free kick taken by Niko Kranjcar.
    • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    20 Jan 2010 23:59 UK


    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 20 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Arsenal 22 34 48
    2 Chelsea 21 34 48
    3 Man Utd 22 30 47
    4 Tottenham 22 18 38
    5 Man City 21 12 38
    6 Liverpool 22 14 37
    7 Aston Villa 21 11 36
    8 Birmingham 21 2 33
    9 Fulham 21 2 27
    10 Everton 21 -4 26
    11 Stoke 21 -7 25
    12 Blackburn 22 -16 24
    13 Sunderland 21 -8 23
    14 Wigan 20 -21 22
    15 Burnley 21 -21 20
    16 West Ham 21 -9 19
    17 Wolves 21 -21 19
    18 Hull 21 -22 19
    19 Bolton 20 -14 18
    20 Portsmouth 20 -14 14

    see also
    Wednesday football as it happened
    20 Jan 10 |  Football
    Wednesday's football photos
    20 Jan 10 |  Football



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