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February 6, 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 44461
It's all over at Anfield and it's a frustrating night for Liverpool as they have to settle for a point but Tottenham have been outstanding in defence as Carroll, Gerrard, Suarez and co have struggled to get anywhere near the goal. How valuable could this point be come the end of the season for Spurs after showing real determination here to grind out a result.
Our man at Anfield David Lynch concludes: "More frustration at Anfield as Liverpool are held to their eighth league draw of the season at home. The Reds edged it but barely and Spurs got their reward for a stoic defensive performance."
90' + 1'
Liverpool are throwing everything at Spurs but the visitors are holding strong. Scott Parker has just made three clearances on the bounce to keep the Reds at bay. Gritty stuff from Tottenham, how important could a point be come May?
The chances are falling to Suarez but he can't take them as this time the ball falls to him to him in the Tottenham area, he has two attempts at striking the ball but can't get past the defensive wall of King and Dawson in the heart of the Spurs defence. Great play.
Liverpool should have made Bale pay for that miss and it's Suarez whose given them a let off, as he manages to head the ball straight into Friedel's hands when unmarked and just six yards from goal. He should have done so much better there.
HUGE let off for Liverpool as Bales misses a sitter! The Welshman raced clear of the the Reds defence and was one-on-one with Reina but he couldn't compose himself and fired his shot straight at the Spaniard. So nearly a smash and grab from Spurs could they come to regret that miss.
The home fans are starting to get a little frustrated with their team as they've struggled to break down the visitors determined defence.
Liverpool are trying their utmost to force a winner as Stewart Downing and Carroll nearly combine but they're denied by good defending by Tottenham. Spurs I think would be quite happy with a point considering their injuries and the fact there manager isn't in attendance.
Yellow CardMartin Skrtel
Heavy challenge on Bale by Skrtel, the Slovakian wins the ball but goes through Bale with his studs up. The Welshman leaves the field with a slight limp and doesn't look himself. The home crowd aren't happy with the Spurs midfielder.
Andy Carroll has just missed the best chance of the game, the ball fell to him in the middle of the area, he took the ball down well but his fired his shot miles over the bar when shooting from just six yards. Disappointing from the former Newcastle man.
Bale goes close for Tottenham as Liverpool give the ball away in midfield, the Welshman picks up the loose ball and runs at Skrtel before firing a right-footed shot at goal which creeps just wide of Reina's post. Better from Spurs and Bale.
Yellow CardLuis Suárez
Our man at Anfield David Lynch reports Suarez recieved a great reception from the Liverpool fans: "Here he is. After eight matches without their talismanic forward, the Reds welcome back Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan received the expected rapturous ovation in replacing Dirk Kuyt and has already looked busy enough going forward."
Suarez is back on the field for Liverpool for the first time since their 1-1 draw with Blackburn on the 26th December. Can he make an impact in his first game back? Tottenham's level of performance seems to have dropped in the second-half and they're not using the ball as well as they were in the first. They need to up their game if they want to keep the pressure on the Manchester clubs in the title race.
A good opportunity goes begging for Liverpool as they break up-field from a Reina kick, Carroll won the header and found Kuyt. The Dutchman laid the ball across to Adam's whose touch was slightly heavy and his shot was charged down before it could trouble Friedel.
Luis Suarez is warming up and is expected to join the action for his first game since Boxing Day following his eight-match ban.
Martin Kelly forces a good save from Friedel as he pressed forward from his right-back position, no Spurs player closed him down and he launched a shot towards the Tottenham keeper's near post which he beat away from goal.
Yellow CardGareth Bale
Bale now shows his frustration further by getting himself booked he went down after clashing with Daniel Agger, replays showed there was no contact from the Dane. The Welshman shoved the defender after they had exchanged words. Could that fire Bale up?
Bale hasn't been at his best today and has just shown the first signs of frustration after receiving the ball on the right flank, he cut inside firing an effort at goal which went well wide of Reina's post, when he had team-mates well placed around him.
Quiet start to the second-half. Again both sides are passing the ball around nicely but are still lacking that final bit of quality to trouble the opposition keeper.
We're back underway at Anfield.
Our man at Anfield David Lynch reports the wandering Cat has been the star of the show so far on Merseyside: "A cagey first half here which the hosts are probably just shading. The nearest we've come to a goal has been Jay Spearing's drive from the edge of the box which went narrowly wide. The cat may well have been the highlight thus far."
It's half-time at Anfield. It's been a quiet first-half to say the least. Both sides have cancelled each other out and there have been no clear cut chances to speak of as a result of poor execution in the final third and solid defending. Luis Suarez is on the bench and maybe he could ignite Liverpool going forward in this game.
This time it's Johnson who raids into the Tottenham half and forces a good save from Friedel who palms the ball away from goal. Both teams have been restricted in terms of efforts at goal thanks to some good defending.
Walker raids forward again and this time breaks into the Liverpool area but Johnson tracks back well to challenge the full-back before he can get a shot away. Good defending from the England man.
Half chance for Bale as Walker beats Johnson on the right before delivering a dangerous ball into the area. The Welshman hits it with his right foot but his effort lands safely in the hands of Reina.
Yellow CardScott Parker
Nearly something out of nothing from Liverpool as Johnson curls a ball into the area which evades the Spurs defence and looks like creeping into the bottom corner of the net before Friedel can get a hand to it and claw it away.
Kenny Dalglish's side are being very patient in their build-up in and around the Spurs but are yet to find that final bit of quality to force an opening. Tottenham are very organised in defence, as Dawson and King are showing their class and experience with a solid performance so far.,
Unlucky for Jay Spearing as he launches a 30-yard strike at goal which just creeps past the post. Brad Friedel looked to be beaten as the ball seemed destined for the top corner but alas just wide for the Reds. The standard of attacking football is slowly improving.
Kranjcar has the first real shot in anger from either side as he powers to the edge of the Liverpool area before firing an effort at goal which Reina spills at the first attempt but with no pressure from any Tottenham players he comfortably grabs the ball at his second go.
Charlie Adam in one ball has summed this game up so far. Liverpool passed the ball nicely around the Spurs area the ball went out to the former Blackpool midfielder on the right. With four players to hit in the box he launches his cross into the stand. Quality lacking so far!
Slight goalmouth action as a misunderstanding between Pepe Reina and Martin Skrtel nearly causes the ball to come loose in the Liverpool area but the Spaniard manages to calmly collect the ball to halt any danger.
Some solid defensive play so far. Kyle Walker looked to be breaking down the right-hand side for the Reds before he was stopped in his tracks by Glen Johnson. These two players are battling it out for the right-back slot for England's Euro 2012 campaign, it should be interesting to watch them match up against each other.
Both teams are cancelling each other out at the moment. In the middle of the park Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam are spraying the ball around nicely for the Reds while Modric and Kranjcar the same for Spurs. As soon as the ball is getting into the final third however the quality is breaking down.
The pitch at Anfield has been invaded by a wandering Cat, how a Cat gets into a football stadium I don't know. It's brought a halt to play. David Lynch reports: "Incredible scenes at Anfield as a cat enters the pitch to try and get in on proceedings. Thankfully the feline has been ushered away by a steward, though I doubt it'll face charges for pitch invasion."
The game has settled down and Spurs are having the majority of the possession with Modric dictating the play nicely so far but there's a lack of clinical edge to Spurs' play at the moment. Liverpool are defending in numbers and are proving why they have one of the best defensive records in the division.
Good early chance for Liverpool as they win a free-kick on the edge of the area. Returning skipper Steven Gerrard steps up but can only smash his shot straight into the wall. Entertaining game so far with both teams playing good football.
Penalty shout for Liverpool as Carroll breaks behind the Spurs defence. Michael Dawson makes the challenge and appears to get the ball but the home crowd at Anfield aren't happy as referee Michael Oliver dismisses the claims.
Spurs have a couple of opportunities to test Pepe Reina early as Luka Modric is allowed space on the edge of the area however his two shots are well blocked by the Liverpool defence.
Some early touches for Andy Carroll at the start of teh game as the ball is launched upfield towards him, he does well to win a couple of headers against Ledley King. It should be an interesting battle between the former Newcastle man and the Spurs central defenders tonight.
We're underway at Anfield.
Earlier this evening there were doubts about whether the game would go ahead due to heavy fog at Anfield. However the weather seems to have abated. Our man at Anfield, David Lynch, reports: "Thankfully the fog has cleared up just in time for kick off here at Anfield. just an hour ago the whole area was bathed in a thick mist and it was practically impossible to see the kop from the press box. Now we've got the conditions that this game deserves and what a match it should be."
It's a huge match tonight for both teams. A victory for Liverpool will lift them above Arsenal into 6th place. Re-igniting their hunt for a place in the top four and a Champions League place as a victory will leave them just two points behind Chelsea. Tottenham need a win to close the gap on the Manchester sides in the title race. A win at Anfield will close the gap to two points of second place United.
Tottenham are without boss Harry Redknapp who is stranded in London after technical problems cancelled his flight. Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan will take charge of the team in his absence. Spurs have made two changes to their team that beat Wigan 3-1 last time out. Michael Dawson replaces Younes Kaboul in defence while Jake Livermore comes in for the injured Rafael Van der Vaart. New signings Luis Saha and Ryan Nelsen both start on the bench.
Liverpool have made two changes from the beat Wolves 3-1 last week with skipper Steven Gerrard and Martin Kelly returning to the starting line-up in place of Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique. Luis Suarez makes his comeback from his eight-match ban, starting on the bench in what will be his first game since Boxing Day when the Reds drew with Blackburn.
Team News: Tottenham (4-3-2-1) Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Livermore, Parker; Kranjcar, Modric, Bale; Adebayor. Substitutes: Cudicini, Bongani, Nelsen, Rose, Luongo, Lancaster, Saha.
Team News: Liverpool (4-4-2) Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Kuyt, Spearing, Gerrard, Adam; Carroll, Bellamy. Substitutes: Doni, Suarez, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Carragher, Fabio Aurelio.
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! Commentary of tonight's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Tottenham at Anfield. I'm Simon Sinclair, I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens on Merseyside in this crucial fixture for both sides.
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