COULD LIVERPOOL CUT Arsenal’s lead to two points with a win at White Hart Lane this afternoon? Yes, yes they could.
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Spurs 0-5 Liverpool
15.56 – Well now, welcome to Sunday afternoon. Manchester United have enjoyed their stroll in the (Villa) Park with a 3-0 win over Paul Lambert’s side, Norwich and Swansea have played out a 1-1 draw… and now we’re off to White Hart Lane for Spurs v Liverpool.
We truly live in exciting times.
15.59 – The teams are in the tunnel. Here’s how they will line out — Sandro has passed a late fitness test for Spurs and hat-trick hero Roberto Soldado is preferred to Jermaine Defoe up front; Luis Suarez captains Liverpool.
Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Capoue, Dawson, Naughton, Paulinho, Sandro, Lennon, Dembele, Chadli, Soldado.
Substitutes: Friedel, Fryers, Holtby, Lamela, Townsend, Sigurdsson, Defoe.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson, Allen, Lucas, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez.
Substitutes: Jones, Kelly, Agger, Toure, Moses, Aspas, Alberto.
16.00 – KICK OFF: Liverpool get us underway at the Lane.
16.04 – 2 mins — Eh, Philippe Coutinho is obviously getting into the Christmas spirit nice and early. The ball drops to him on the edge of the box but instead of hitting it with any great venom, he rolls it timidly towards Lloris.
More of a backpass than anything else really. Weird.
16.08 – 5 mins – Half a chance for Paulinho when the ball breaks to him about 20 yards out. His shot is high and always rising though. No trouble for Mignolet.
16.10 – 7 mins – Couple of early nibbles from the Liverpool defenders at Soldado, and inevitably, they give away a couple of needless frees.
Spurs have a shout for a penalty then as Jon Flanagan grabs a handful of Paulinho’s shirt in the box. It’s tame enough but by the letter of the law, there’d be no arguments if John Moss had pointed to the spot.
16.12 – Just a quick reminder of the state of play at the moment.
Yesterday’s results mean Liverpool have dropped down to fifth for now but a win would see them move back up to second, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
A win for Spurs would lift them above Newcastle into sixth, level with Liverpool on 30 points.
16.14 – 12 mins – Raheem Sterling puts his head down and runs at Kyle Naughton before going over a stray leg on the edge of the box. The free-kick comes to nothing but it’s a little bit more positive from Liverpool after a slow start.
16.17 – 15 mins — PENALTY SHOUT! Capoue leaves his leg in the wrong place and Suarez takes a tumble on the edge of the box. He appeals but the decision is a corner. He was probably just outside the box anyway.
16.19 – 18 mins – Sterling looks like he’s going to be a bit of a handful for the Spurs back four today. He twists and turns past Capoue inside the box and rifles a cross into the box.
Seconds later, he skips inside again but can’t pick out a team-mate. He’s been very lively in the last few minutes.
16.19 – GOAL! Spurs 0-1 Liverpool (Suarez, 19′) Liverpool lead… and yeah, it’s Luis Suarez with his 16th goal of the season. Full credit to Jordan Henderson who got a toe in to nick the ball away from Michael Dawson on the edge of the box. Suarez still had it all to do at that point but he glides through with some beautiful footwork and curls the ball past Lloris into the bottom corner.
That’s been coming, Liverpool well on top in the last 10 minutes.
16.25 – 23 mins – I reckon Hugo Lloris is unbeatable in the 20-yard dash at training. Then again, you’d need to be when Spurs play such a high line.
Sterling tries to pick the lock with a through ball but Lloris is out off his line to smother before Joe Allen can get his shot away.
16.27 – Here’s that Suarez goal (via @LFCMostar):
16.29 – 27 mins – Michael Dawson clobbers Jordan Henderson on the half-way line. He’s booked and that’ll be a suspension too.
16.30 – 28 mins — OFF THE BAR! Suarez digs one out from under his feet and dinks it from the byline back to Coutinho on the edge of the box. The Brazilian is slipping as he hits it and volleys into the ground but it loops up and over Lloris before bouncing off the bar and clear.
16.31 – SUBSTITUTION: An early change by AVB. Holtby comes on to replace the injured Sandro.
16.32 – 31 mins — SPURS CHANCE! Holtby nearly makes an instant impact. His corner is met by Chadli but his free header from eight yards is too high. Should have done better.
16.36 – 33 mins — OH SUAREZ! It really should be 2-0 Liverpool as a long ball catches Lloris off guard. It falls on Suarez’s left inside the box with the goal unguarded but by the time he takes a touch to bring it back on to his other side, Lloris has recovered to make the save.
16.37 – A four-word summary on 35 minutes: Liverpool dominant; Spurs uninspiring.
16.39 – 38 mins — Sterling pounces on a mistake by Naughton and breaks into the box but Spurs manage to get a block in. Naughton is getting roasted every time here.
16.40 – 39 mins — A real chance for Spurs… but Holtby drags his shot right and wide without even testing Mignolet.
16.41 – GOAL! Spurs 0-2 Liverpool (Henderson, 40′) That’s been coming to be fair and it’s Jordan Henderson who doubles Liverpool’s lead five minutes before half-time. You have to feel for Lloris though – he makes two great saves but each time it falls to Henderson and eventually, he’s able to finish.
16.45 – 43 mins — Who said Spurs were out of ideas? Soldado tries bundling Mignolet over as the Liverpool keeper chases a wayward touch. Spurs have the ball in the net but it’s a free out because that’s against the laws of the game.
16.46 – ZING!
16.49 – HALF TIME: Spurs 0-2 Liverpool
Boos ring out around White Hart Lane and it’s hard not to empathise with the Spurs fans. That was a fairly insipid 45 minutes from the hosts and bar one or two moments, Liverpool looked completely at ease.
Still though, game of two halves etc etc.
Back in five.
16.59 – One of the highlights of the first half. Although if you anger Suarez and your team is pants, you’re probably going to regret it.
Jordan Henderson celebrates Liverpool’s second (Stephen Pond/PA Wire/Press Association Images)
17.04 – SECOND HALF: We’re back. A change for Spurs — Zeki Fryers on to replace Kyle Naughton. I doubt he enjoyed the last 45 minutes too much.
17.06 – 47 mins — You know that whole thing about Liverpool not really being a second-half team? Yeah, that.
Anyway Soldado has a great chance to get Spurs back into the game. He goes for power over placement and blazes his shot over Mignolet’s bar.
17.07 – 49 mins — Weather update: it’s starting to rain in North London. Coutinho tries his luck from 20 yards but it’s deflected behind for a corner.
17.10 – 50 mins — SITTER! Mamadou Sakho is a defender by trade and so should be able to head the ball precisely, right? How then does he hit the post from two yards out with the goal at his mercy? Answers on a postcard please.
17.16 – 57 mins – It’s gone a little bit quieter as we approach the hour mark. Spurs’ big men trot up for a corner but they needn’t have bothered.
17.19 – 59 mins — BIG SHOUT! Spurs want a peno as Soldado goes over in the box. The striker stepped across Martin Skrtel and there was definite contact there before he went to ground. Seen ‘em given.
17.20 – SUBSTITUTION: Spurs make their third and final sub — Andros Townsend on to replace Moussa Dembele.
17.24 – RED CARD! Good night Spurs. Paulinho catches Suarez in the ribs with a high boot and he’s shown a straight red.
It doesn’t look like there was any malice behind the tackle at all but it is pretty careless. Best imagined as a PG version of Nigel de Jong’s “tackle” on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final.
17.30 – Here, sure judge for yourself (via @FeintZebra):
17.32 – Penny for his thoughts? Just under 20 minutes to play.
John Walton/EMPICS Sport
17.32 – GOAL! Spurs 0-3 Liverpool (Flanagan, 75′) Game, set and match. How about this for a finish by Jon Flanagan? He’s unmarked at the back post, sure, but he does brilliantly to keep his shot down, drilling it off the underside of the bar.
The celebration is pretty special too — think about 8.5 on a Tardelli scale of emotion.
17.37 – Substitution: Luis Alberto on to replace Lucas.
17.39 – 80 mins – Liverpool stream forward again and Coutinho has many, many options. Why he chooses to pass it to a Spurs man is beyond me.
17.40 – 81 mins – The Sky camera crew at White Hart Lane are doing that old ROG/Sexton trick except this time they’re cutting from Villas-Boas to Damien Comolli in the stands. You’d almost think they want him to be sacked…
17.41 – Ouch.
Paul Brady: Spurs are like the Kildare football team of the Premier league. Invest a load of money to be “competitive” and challenge for trophies but never win any silverware…
17.42 – 83 mins – Great chance for Sterling but his touch is a little to heavy and, again, Lloris is out like a bullet to stop it.
17.42 – GOAL! Spurs 0-4 Liverpool (Suarez, 84′) He just can’t get enough!
It’s goal number 17 for Luis Suarez and Liverpool are really rubbing it into Spurs now. Luis Alberto hooks the ball in behind Spurs’ high line, Suarez runs onto it and lifts it over the head of the advancing Lloris.
Still a few minutes for him to get another hat-trick, mind you.
17.47 – GOAL! Spurs 0-5 Liverpool (Sterling, 88′) It’s five… and this time, Suarez is the creator rather than scorer. Sterling judges his run to perfection, Suarez weights his pass perfectly, Lloris doesn’t have a hope.
It’s nearly over, Spurs fans, don’t worry.
17.51 – The “Olés!” ring out around White Hart Lane. That’s the visiting fans, FYI.
17.51 – FULL TIME: Spurs 0-5 Liverpool
Another smattering of boos from the home fans at the final whistle and if the pressure wasn’t on AVB before, it certainly is now.
It’s Liverpool’s biggest win at White Hart Lane and Spurs’ worst home defeat for 16 years. Brendan Rodgers’ side move back up to second but now the gap between themselves and Arsenal is just two points.
17.55 – That just about sums it up.
John Walton/EMPICS Sport