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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
The Tottenham Hotspur revival continues. Not content with robbing Liverpool blind in the League ten days ago, Harry Redknapp's resurgent warriors battered them in the League Cup as well. This emphatic and fully deserved 4-2 victory means that the North London side have racked up an astonishing 18 goals in just six games. More than that, they have a good chance of defending the trophy that they worked so hard to win last year.

Liverpool were desperately poor and, as expected, fielded a team of players more accustomed to watching the game from the stands. On the evidence presented here, perhaps that's where they should have stayed. Of the assorted youngsters, substitutes, has-beens and never-going-to-bes, only Lucas and perhaps Ryan Babel justified their selection. Nabil El Zhar was genuinely dreadful, almost as if he was doing it deliberately, and the French youngster David N'Gog squandered his rare start, finding it so hard to keep the ball that there must have been a magnetic field around his boots, repulsing it whenever it came near.

But the worst offender, by some distance, was new goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri. The Brazilian second-string stopper allowed Roman Pavlyuchenko's tame shot to pass through his legs for the opening goal, crashed into the hapless El Zhar to allow Frazier Campbell the pleasure of scoring the second, and stayed rooted to his line as the on-loan Manchester United striker stooped to head home the third from close range. The Tottenham fans enjoyed his contribution to an entertaining evening so much that he was forced to wander out beyond his penalty area to avoid their taunts.

At half-time a comedian by the name of Phil Cornwell, a lifelong Tottenham fan, was interviewed on the side of the pitch. Gloating into the microphone, he informed all present that the match was 'in the bag'. The Tottenham fans, as if someone had pulled their plug out, fell silent. They remembered what Cornwell had clearly forgotten, that Liverpool have a history of miraculous comebacks. When Damien Plessis headed home to bring the score back to 3-1, a shudder ran through three sides of the stadium. Surely not again? Roman Pavlyuchenko prodded home from close range to calm the nerves, but then Sami Hyypia made it 4-2 not long afterwards. It got worse for Spurs when a typically brave save cost Gomes dearly when he was kicked full in the face. He left the field strapped to a stretcher and barely conscious, but Redknapp revealed afterwards that he was sat up in the dressing room, quite alright and, "ready to go for a Chinese."

Mike Riley, the maligned referee, denied Liverpool a penalty with nine minutes to go when Gareth Bale crashed into Philipp Degen and if Cornwell wasn't already passing through the stadium apologising profusely for his stupidity, that would have been a good time to start. Riley has given spot-kicks for less and at 4-3 with nine minutes left and nine to come for injuries, Spurs really would have been in trouble. Let's hope Cornwell learned an important lesson on tempting fate.

Redknapp's good mood is hardly surprising. In all his wildest dreams, he could never have expected to have had such an impact on this beleagured club. Out of the relegation zone and into the last eight of the League Cup, life at White Hart Lane seems to suit him.



Gomes 6 (73, Cesar 6), Alan Hutton 7, Gareth Bale 8, Didier Zokora 8, Tom Huddlestone 7, Aaron Lennon 7, Roman Pavlyuchenko 8 (90, Kevin Prince-Boateng 6), Frazier Campbell 8 (90, Darren Bent 6), Michael Dawson 7, Vedran Corluka 8, Jamie O'Hara 7


Diego Cavalieri 4, Andrea Dossena 5, Sami Hyypia 5, Daniel Agger 6, Fernando Torres 5 (55, Emiliano Insua 6), Ryan Babel 7, Lucas 7, David N'Gog 5, Philipp Degen 6 (84, Stephen Darb 6), Damien Plessis 6 (65, Xabi Alonso 7), Nabil El Zhar 4

Yellow Cards - Pavluchenko (Spurs) Plessis, Babel, Lucas (Liverpool)

Red Cards - None

Crowd - 33,242