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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
What a turnaround! Tottenham Hotspur, who accumulated just two points in over two months with Juande Ramos, have now racked up seven in the last seven days and you can put them all down to the Harry Redknapp factor. The former Portsmouth boss has put a spring in Spurs' step and after two extraordinary comebacks in a week, their continued presence in the Premier League seems assured.

Liverpool, like Arsenal in midweek, will wonder how on earth they were robbed of the points on a miserable, wet night at White Hart Lane. Rafa Benitez's side were utterly dominant for the majority of the game, peppered the Tottenham goal with opportunities, spurned almost all of them and then were made to pay in heart-breaking fashion when Roman Pavluchenko edged home the winner in injury time. In an eight minute period after the break, they hit the bar, the post, missed an open goal, squandered a free header and saw a goal-bound shot deflected wide by their own man. On the basis of the opening hour, had they finished as five-nil victors, it would not have flattered them.

But this Tottenham side don't appear to know when they are beaten. Redknapp has galvanised a shattered collection of players and made them believe in themselves again. He told reporters afterwards that, while there was a little bit of luck involved, the key to it all was confidence.

"They were terrific, we rode our luck, but the character was great. We stuck in there and it was a fantastic result. They're good lads and there's a smile about the place. You need to be positive with them, if this club is going to push on, you need positive people around. They've come into work, got at it on the training pitch and it's paying dividends."

He didn't appear to be so pleased with his goalkeeper though, the infamously erratic Gomes. His excellent save from a deflected Steven Gerrard shot will be quickly forgotten, obscured by a series of needless errors, both tactical and technical. When it was clear that Tottenham needed to punt the ball forward quickly in the second half to their two big strikers. the Brazilian stopper repeatedly threw it to the halfway line instead. Redknapp lost his cool on the sidelines, throwing his hands in the air before turning to his coach, Kevin Bond, and shouting, "What did I tell him? I told him to kick it long, why's he throwing it?" His under-hit pass to Vedran Corluka almost cost his side dearly as well, capping a performance that may convince Redknapp to seek other options.

In the early stages of this season Liverpool seemed determined to prove that true champions win when they play badly, by continually snatching results that their performances scarcely warranted. Unfortunately, they have just been reminded that true champions also need to win when they play well occasionally too. Not that they'll find any sympathy at White Hart Lane. The Tottenham fans have been through their own emotional turmoils this season but, though the rain continued to fall as they spilled out onto the Seven Sisters Road on Saturday night, there was a sneaking feeling that, with Redknapp in town, the storm clouds might finally be lifting.

BRAINS OF THE OPERATION - This was another impressive performance from Luka Modric. The young Croat is finding his feet at White Hart Lane, and some of his passing here was tantalising.

MISS OF THE DAY - Roman Pavlyuchenko was in the right place at the right time to capitalise on a poor punch from Pepe Reina, but he fired his first-time shot high over the bar. Fortunately, for Tottenham fans, he made amends later.

HORROR TACKLE - Steven Gerrard's ugly lunge on Jonathan Woodgate was an unnecessary blemish on another fine performance. There was no need for such a graceless challenge and there are referees out there who might have punished it with a red.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Jonathan Woodgate gave another masterclass in the art of defending here. You won't see may last ditch tackles from the big centre-back, because he usually snuffs out threats before they become serious

PUNTERS RANT - I dread to think how many children were woken up by the late-night roar of anyone who had stayed up to watch their investment in Liverpool come home. How many chances did they need to finish that game?



Gomes 5, Vedran Corluka 8, Ledley King 7, Jonathan Woodgate 8, Benoit Assou-Ekotto 6(Alan Hutton 6), David Bentley 6, Didier Zokora 6, Tom Huddlestone 6, Jamie O'Hara 6 (Roman Pavlyuchenko 7), Luka Modric 7 (Aaron Lennon 7), Darren Bent 7


Jose Reina 6, Andrea Dossena 6, Daniel Agger 7, Jamie Carragher 7, Alvaro Arbeloa 7, Xabi Alonso 7, Javier Mascherano 7, Steven Gerrard 8, Albert Reira 8(Yossi Benayoun 6), Dirk Kuyt 7, Robbie Keane 7 (Ryan Babel 6)

Yellow Cards - King (Tottenham), Gerrard, Carragher (Liverpool)

Red Cards - None

Attendance - 36,183