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West Ham United
10 March 2013
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 44752
L. Suárez 21'
S. Downing 66'
S. Gerrard 82'
J. Vertonghen 45', 53'
That'll be all from me, Tim Poole, folks. I hope you've enjoyed the action - it certainly was an enthralling game worthy of the occasion. Be sure to stay on Goal.com for the rest of today's action and I look forward to speaking with you all again soon. Au revoir!
What a game. What a result for Liverpool. Spurs stay third but Liverpool leapfrog Everton into sixth and are just two points behind Arsenal - albeit with a game in hand.
Vertonghen then pounced with a smartly taken volley to give the visitors the lead and they looked like they were ready to run away things on the hour mark. But Stewart Downing was in luck as he intercepted a wayward backpass from Kyle Walker before producing a composed finish. And Jermain Defoe and Benoit Assou-Ekotto combined to pile on the misery for their side as Suarez was brought down in the box and Gerrard tucked away the winning spot-kick.
End to end action all the way through at Anfield. Luis Suarez opened the scoring with a fantastic team goal in the first-half but had his goal cancelled out by a Jan Vertonghen header on the stroke of half-time.
A fantastic game for the neutral - and it is not like Spurs did not play their part. There can only be one winner in the end, however, (unless it's a draw) and Steven Gerrard's perfect spot-kick ensures the hosts cut the gap between them and their opponents to nine points.
FULL-TIME! A SUPERB win for Brendan Rodgers' side. 3-2 it finishes.
90' + 2'
The home crowd are in fantastic voice here as they sing 'You'll never walk alone' with absolute positivity. This would mark the first time Liverpool have won four games in a row in all competitions for the first time in two years.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
HUGE sigh of relief from the hosts as nothing comes of the Welshman's set-piece (for a change) and three minutes of added time are announced.
A late chance here for the away side as a Downing challenge gives a free kick away. You don't want to be defending one of these from Bale.
Sturridge gets a fantastic ovation as he comes off for Jordan Henderson, with Rodgers clearly looking to keep the scoreline as it is. Who could blame him.
If anyone looks likely to score here, though, it's the hosts once again. What a strong finish this has been from the Reds. Still time for a Spurs equaliser, however...
Bale's resultant free kick clips the bar despite being way out!
Villas-Boas wants creativity and he looks to German midfielder Lewis Holtby in the dying embers here.
Yellow Card Jamie Carragher
After Gerrard's perfectly dispatched spot-kick, Spurs come racing back and a clumsy challenge from Carragher concedes a free kick - and a booking.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! The Liverpool skipper tucks his penalty away with applomb.
A free kick is whipped in and a poor Defoe back pass sets Suarez free, with Assou-Ekotto forced to bring him down.
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!
Fantastic ball from Sturridge to Suarez but the Uruguayan attemps to cut inside from the left and has his eventual cross blocked by a Spurs shirt with considerable ease.
A couple of minutes of peace here could signal the calm before the storm. Spurs have the ball in possession in the middle of the park and look comfortable until Defoe is brought down by Carragher and a free kick is given.
The Reds now seem to be in control - though it seems to vary every few minutes or so. An Allen pass through the middle sees Sturridge square off with Vertonghen and the forward hits the floor - but the referee waves away any penalty appeals.
An attacking passage of play from the hosts results with the ball fizzling out for a goal kick.
DOUBLE CHANCE! Carragher blocks a strike from Bale and the Welshman then fires a header wide after poor marking inside the area! What a game this is.
It is indeed too close to call here, with the fans having received plenty of value for their money already. An end to end passage almost sees Sturridge clean through and the former Chelsea man then sees a far post header hit the side-netting. Very close.
Brilliant defending from Vertonghen, now, as the Belgian stays calm and takes the ball away from Sturridge. Surely a strong candidate for man of the match with two goals and having been so composed at the back all day.
The in-swinging corner is cleared but Enrique has space to fire in a volley from outside of the area. Just wide from the Spaniard - Liverpool's ninth shot of the game.
I can now - with some confidence - call this game a very even affair. It's been all Spurs this second half - until Downing's equaliser, that is. It came out of nothing but has now given the hosts impetus and they now have a corner to attempt to force a lead.
Goal Stewart Downing
GOAL! DOWNING! What a game we have on our hands here. A long ball from Spurs' very own Walker deceives Lloris, who rushes out of goal to find himself in No Man's Land and Downing is there to poke home from inside the area.
Excellent pressure from the Tottenham midfield, however, as they win the ball straight back. Though Johnson then regains possession once more. End to end stuff.
A long ball from the visitors goes astray as the hosts regain possession in their own half. Several passes are strung together and they slowly advance beyond the centre-circle.
The home side are still yet to impose themselves on this second half and, if things remain the same, Tottenham will have only lost once since November. Incredible form.
Tottenham almost score again, here! Insatiable pressure from the visitors. Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, has looked to address the issue of the hosts being overrun in midfield as he brings on Joe Allen for Coutinho.
Another shot! But Defoe's effort flashes high and wide. All the away side, nevertheless.
Yellow Card Jan Vertonghen
Not quite hero to villain but Vertonghen receives a booking for an overtly aggressive challenge.
CHANCE! Sigurdsson hits the post for the visitors! Tottenham are very close to running away with this and almost bookmarking their place in the top four come the end of the season.
All of Liverpool's good work in the first-half has been undone by two goals in the space of 10 minutes from Belgian defender Vertonghen. Okay, there was a half-time break in between - but that's hardly the point. Two soft decisions have won Bale two free kicks. But both times, the Welshman has sent in fantastic crosses, with Vertonghen finding the net as a result on each occasion.
Goal Jan Vertonghen
GOAL! WHO ELSE BUT VERTONGHEN? Bale whips the free kick into the Liverpool danger area and after a header down from Carragher, the Belgian pounces to tuck away a sweet, sweet left-foot volley.
The Australian did not retain possession of the ball, although Enrique was on hand to clear. Now, the visitors have a free kick in the Liverpool half once more.
CHANCE! Jones to the rescue once again as Defoe fires a near-post shot and the Australian is more than equal to it.
A half-chance for the hosts but the ball is passed behind Sturridge in the area - much to the Englishman's disgust.
As things stand, this will be Spurs' 13th consecutive unbeaten game in the Premier League. A fantastic run by any stretch of the imagination.
It's early days in this second half but the visitors are having all of the possession here.
Tottenham win a free kick just inside the Liverpool half after Lucas Leiva is penalised for a foul. The Brazlian takes one look at the referee and sneers as he jogs in the opposite direction. It's clear what he thinks of that decision, then.
Stat attack: if Liverpool win today, it will be their fourth consecutive win in all competitions. They will have scored (at least) 14 goals in that time.
The second half is.... underway! And what a second period we have in store here. The hosts have got us going at the restart.
In terms of what will ensue in the upcoming second period, I say it's simply too close to call. One thing is a certainty though - if you want to know every stat, every detail and every major incident, Goal.com is your place to be. So stay right here for the second half!
It's had quality, excitement and clinical finishing - everything you could want from a top clash between two top sides. Liverpool may not be in the battle for a top four position just yet, but they are certainly trying their hardest to get back into the race. Spurs, meanwhile, still have every chance of nicking all three points here.
The away side enjoyed more of the play with 59% of possession in that opening 45 and received just reward with their equaliser on the stroke of half-time. The hosts, though, shaded things in terms of having the better chances and Suarez's earlier goal had them cruising for a while.
And it's half-time here at Anfield. Goals from Suarez and Vertonghen have it all square between Liverpool and Spurs. A very entertaining first-half.
Assist Gareth Bale
Bale winning the initial free kick was questionable but there was nothing to ponder about his cross thereafter. After the ball was played about in the middle of the park, the Welshman fired a fantastic ball into the box and Vertonghen rose unopposed to head home for the visitors.
Goal Jan Vertonghen
GOAL! Vertonghen scores from a Bale cross.
The Liverpool skipper escapes a booking but is thoroughly warned by the referee. The incident in question saw Gerrard rise for a header and hit Bale in the head from behind. In fairness, not much wrong with that but perhaps the England man could keep his aggression in check.
Livermore attempts to creating something with a long ball, but it is intercepted and after a few more passes, Bale ends up on the ground and Gerrard looks as though he's about to be booked.
HANDBAGS! Suarez and Parker argue in the middle of the park but, all the while, Liverpool continue play until they lose possession and Gerrard is penalised for a foul.
Another fantastic long-range pass from the Liverpool midfield finds Sturridge but after heading it down and playing a one-two, the former Chelsea man can only find the arms of Lloris.
After spells of exhaustive pressure from both sides, we're back to a more even period of play here at Anfield. So far, a draw may be a fair result - but Suarez's clinical finish separates the sides and deservedly so.
Chance for the away side as a throw-in from Benoit Assou-Ekotto leads to a passing move that presents Sigurdsson with a shooting chance. The Iceland international looks to place his shot, however, and fires just wide to his left.
Suarez pings a ball the wrong side of Sturridge and ends up sending it straight to Lloris in the Tottenham goal. A waste of a chance, really.
SHOT! From Bale.... But it is probably one of his worst strikes this season as the Welshman fires the ball way into the stands from range.
If things stay the same, Spurs will have their first defeat in 12 Premier League games, while the gap between the sides will be reduced to nine points. The north London side will stay third, however, as Chelsea and Arsenal are not involved in league action this weekend.
Suarez avoids a booking for a late challenge on Dembele. It certainly wasn't the best tackle the Uruguayan will make - and that's saying something for a striker.
Comical from Jan Vertonghen as the Belgian defender is pressured into kicking the ball out of play and is greeted by huge jeers as he loses balance and almost falls into the crowd down the left flank.
A great long ball from Coutinho (who else?) almost plays Suarez straight through once again but the Uruguayan is beaten to the ball by Lloris on the edge of the area before being ruled offside. Lloris is having a busy day so far.
Since the introduction of Coutinho and Sturridge at Anfield, Liverpool have looked such a threat up front and we're seeing more of the same from the Reds today. The visitors are capable enough of retaliating but, as Suarez wins a free kick inside the away half, the early signs are that the hosts are on top.
CHANCE! The home side look to double their lead as great work down the right sees Suarez deliver a cross into Sturridge but Lloris is there to beat the cross away.
The visitors win a corner, but it is whipped straight into Jones' arms and the Australian holds onto the ball as though his life depends on it.
Spurs have reacted to well to going a goal down here and for anything Suarez can do, I'm sure Bale will want to go one better.
Goal Luis Suárez
Assist José Enrique
Where to start in describing such a well-worked goal? Coutinho was instrumental in the build-up and after carrying the ball a few yards, he passes to Jose Enrique, who plays a sublime through ball down the left-hand side of the area towards Suarez. The Uruguayan, running towards his left, pokes a close-range finish past Lloris and runs toward the corner flag in jubilant celebration.
The Reds are now responding, however, and a reasonable spell of pressure ends with Coutinho curling an ambitious shot at goal from just outside the corner of the area. The finish swerves beautifully but is a little too high to trouble Lloris in the Spurs goal.
After an opening few minutes of Liverpool pressure, the visitors are now firmly in control. If allowed to continue, such domination can only spell trouble for the home side.
Dembele, Parker, Bale and Walker are all involved in an attacking move that ends with Sigurdsson having a shot deflected tamely into the path of Jones. Spurs are slowly beginning to impose themselves more and more.
The ball is back in the Spurs half now but an interesting statistic reveals the visitors have actually have 62% of possession so far.
The away side have now quite clearly established themselves. Though a long pass to Kyle Walker fails to reach the right-back, the idea was there and Villas-Boas' passing style is starting to take shape here at Anfield.
SAVE! Bale's free kick lacked direction but had plenty of swerve in the air and had Jones rattled in the Liverpool goal. The Australian could only flap at the ball even though Bale's shot was straight at him. A corner followed, though Spurs failed to capitalise.
And the visitors have a free kick in a dangerous position well inside the Liverpool half. Will Bale step up and deliver another shooting masterclass?
No notable chances so far but the tone has been set for a game that will mean a lot to both sides. If Spurs can grab a win today, their top four credentials will receive a huge boost.
The hosts hound the visitors out of possession as effective pressing high up the pitch results in the away side having to clear the ball out for a throw-in.
The visitors are being allowed the odd passage of play here as they look to settle in the game, though the majority of the possession so far has belonged to the home side.
A great through ball from Phillipe Coutinho sets up a half-chance for the hosts but the ball is cleared after involvement in the build-up from the Brazilian, Suarez, Sturridge and Gerrard. What a signing Coutinho looks already.
Sturridge is played through and makes a direct run at goal, only to smash his shot high and wide. Early signs of danger but hardly clinical from the men in Red.
The first three minutes have seen the ball consistently pinged around the Tottenham half. Even with their current in-form streak, the visitors will be wary of the Reds' ability to control a game at home and may favour a counterattacking approach.
Now a great through ball almost finds Stewart Downing but the winger is a little too slow to reach the pass and is flagged offside moments later, anyway.
A surging run from Suarez already here as the Uruguayan striker plays a one-two with Daniel Sturridge but is eventually forced off the ball by a strong Spurs tackle.
And we're off! The visitors take kick-off today and launch straight into the Liverpool half.
As the visitors have their pre-match team huddle, we are just moments away from kick-off.
Now the famous Liverpool anthem of You'll Never Walk Alone echoes across the stands.
The players are in the tunnel and the tension at Anfield is palpable...
We're just under 10 minutes away from kick-off so stay with us right here for all of the action!
Liverpool, though, have enjoyed some form of their own of late - winning four of their last five home league games and winning their last two games 9-0 on aggregate. Twelve points separate the two sides in the league table but there will surely be very little between them on the pitch. A fascinating clash awaits.
Luis Suarez and Bale are undoubtedly today's star attractions and, with 37 goals between them, you'd fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet once again. Spurs go into this game on the back of an eight game unbeaten run in all competition and a 12 game undefeated streak in the league.
The main headline from the team news has to be the inclusion of Brad Jones in between the sticks for the Reds. From Andre Villas-Boas, it's interesting to see Scott Parker and Jake Livermore starting in the middle. No surprises with the inclusion of Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe up front, however.
And the visitors, meanwhile, are lining up like this: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Livermore, Sigurdsson, Dembele, Bale; Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Caulker, Gallas, Huddlestone, Carroll, Holtby.
The home side for you today to start us off: Jones; Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Carragher; Lucas, Gerrard, Downing, Coutinho, Sturridge; Suarez. Subs: Gulacsi, Wisdom, Skrtel, Henderson, Allen, Shelvey, Sterling.
Good afternoon and welcome to another highly anticipated Sunday afternoon of Premier League action. Today is Super Sunday on Goal.com and this particular episode features me, Tim Poole, and a certain encounter between Liverpool and Tottenham at Anfield.
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