Barclays Premiership Result
Saturday December 30th 2006
Tottenham 0 Liverpool 1
Tottenham: 1 Robinson, 2 Chimbonda, 20 Dawson, 27 Davenport, 3 Lee, 14 Ghaly, 22 Huddlestone, 4 Zokora (13 Murphy, 56), 15 Malbranque, 18 Defoe, 11 Mido (9 Berbatov, 59)
Unused subs: 12 Cerny, 16 Ziegler, 30 Gardner
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 6 Riise, 10 Luis Garcia, 14 Alonso, 8 Gerrard, 12 Aurelio (11 Gonzalez, 79), 17 Bellamy (16 Pennant, 49), 18 Kuyt (15 Crouch, 66)
Unused subs: 40 Martin, 29 Paletta
Goals: Luis Garcia, 45
Referee: M Halsey
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: "I thought it was a fantastic team performance, a fantastic effort against a difficult team. I felt we controlled a lot of the play, soaking up pressure and trying to hit them on the counter attack. When you lose a game like we did at Blackburn then you want to see character from your players and we had that today. We played well in the first half and scored at a very good time, just before the break. In the second period Tottenham played more long balls and put us under pressure, in fact the way they played should prepare us quite well for the Bolton game on Monday. We held on and the win's the most important thing.
"The work rate of the side was first class. The defenders dug in, Xabi played well in front of them, the midfielders tackled and fought and Kuyt and Bellamy worked for every minute they were playing. We knew before the game that the result would be important because Tottenham were close to us in the table and we wanted to stay ahead of them. We have lost many away games this season despite having more attempts than our opponents. Maybe today was the game where we didn't quite have as many opportunities but still managed to win the match.
"I'm not sure yet if Craig Bellamy will play on Monday, he felt his hamstring and I took him off as a precaution."
Tottenham manager Martin Jol: "We feel gutted. Neither side played particularly well but it was an even game and we conceded such a soft goal. "But it was us that took the initiative in the second half and deserved so much more from the game. Berbatov, Ghaly, Defoe all had chances, and that's not including us hitting the bar.
"If you look at the second half, the worse the weather was, the better we played. I thought we deserved a point out of it but we couldn't score. If we had kept a clean sheet in the first half people might have said we deserved to win, but two minutes before half-time we gave away a cheap goal and they punished us. That's always deadly, conceding a goal just before the break against a team like Liverpool, they know how to defend and hit you on the break.
"Having said that, I can only recall them having one chance in the second half and especially after the substitutions, we did better and better. That makes the defeat all the more gutting. We created enough to get something out of the game.
"Dimitar Berbatov was ill and had nearly a 40 degrees temperature. Mido couldn't play yesterday (Friday) but I said to him he would have to play and he's a good lad, he did a final test before the game and was 80, 90 per cent fit. I spoke to Berbatov this morning and asked if he felt better and could sit on the bench, he said yes and maybe he could play for 10 minutes but in the end it was a bit more and I felt he did unbelievably well, on Friday he was in bed with a fever. As for Ledley King, he has bruising on his foot – it's a minor injury. He won't play on Monday but it's nothing major and nothing to do with a previous knee injury."
*Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jerzy Dudek – Dudek was kept out of yesterday's squad because he'd been with his wife as she'd been giving birth the night before.