Steven Gerrard’s late penalty was the final twist in an exciting game at Anfield as Liverpool were the victors over Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-2 thriller.
Luis Suarez poked Liverpool ahead after 21 minutes, but a goal on either side of half-time from Jan Vertonghen turned the game around for the away side.
A poor defensive mistake from Kyle Walker allowed Stewart Downing to slam in an equaliser before Gerrard stepped up to seal a win that takes Liverpool ahead of arch-rivals Everton in the league table.
Over the last few games, Gareth Bale has proven his worth over a free-kick and Liverpool were fearing the worst when Daniel Agger conceded a foul just outside the penalty area. Fortunately, Bale’s dipping effort was punched away by Brad Jones, albeit in a unconvincing fashion.
Liverpool started to take control of the game with the superbly talented Philippe Coutinho curling inches wide from 25 yards but the Reds would soon get in front through their star striker. Coutinho’s clever pass allowed Jose Enrique enough space to play in Suarez, and the former Ajax man quickly poked the ball past Hugo Lloris as the Kop roared it’s delight.
Both sides cancelled each other out for a period, with Bale showing signs of life with some mazy runs that ultimately led to nothing. Spurs did get a fantastic chance to level it up when the Welshman’s brilliant flick allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson the chance to fire at goal, but the former Swansea City man pulled his shot wide from a great position.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side did equalise at a perfect time, right at the end of the first half. Bale’s in-swinging cross was easily nodded in by the unmarked Vertonghen for his first of the game, and Brendan Rodgers’ half-time team-talk changed it’s focus.
It took Tottenham just 13 minutes into the second half to take the lead. Another Bale delivery caused chaos in the Liverpool penalty area, and Vertonghen took advantage of the defensive indecision to swipe the ball expertly past Jones and grab his third league goal of the season.
However, the away side only had the advantage for 13 minutes. A terrible back-pass from Walker left Lloris in a horrible position, and the French goalkeeper’s poor touch allowed Downing to drive the ball into the empty net, via the route through Vertonghen’s legs.
It was the turning point of the game as the momentum swung into the home side’s favour. Just seven minutes later, they were back in front. Suarez turned wonderfully past Benoit Assou-Ekotto before tumbling under the defender’s challenge, and the referee Michael Oliver made the right decision in pointing to the spot. Gerrard stepped up and cooly slotted in his 158th goal for Liverpool, equalling Michael Owen’s record for the club.
Bale was still up to his tricks from set pieces though, and Jones was mightily fortunate to see a free-kick from close to 50 yards out land on the roof of his net. Tottenham ran out of time though, and this loss opens up the race for fourth place, allowing Chelsea and Arsenal back into it.
Game: Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Date: 10th March 2013
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kyle Dixon