Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-0

Liverpool capped a critical week to its Premiership title ambitions with a 3-0 victory at Anfield over Tottenham, its second home victory in four days.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Liverpool capped a critical week to its Premiership title ambitions with a 3-0 victory at Anfield over Tottenham, its second home victory in four days. After a poorly played first half, the scoreless match turned in a 38-second span in the 63rd minute. The Spurs - desperate to end a goal drought that had reached 406 minutes - squandered a golden chance to take the lead as substitute Edgar Davids sent a pass to a wide-open Jermaine Jenas, who inexplicably missed an open net from two yards. The Reds quickly added to the Spurs' misfortune, but not without some drama of their own. Steven Gerrard sent a low cross into the goalmouth, where Craig Bellamy - despite being as open as Jenas - hit the left post from close range. Mark Gonzalez, though, pounced on the rebound and sent a shot into the lower right corner to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead. Luis Garcia and Dirk Kuyt teamed to double Liverpool's lead 10 minutes later. Kuyt deftly avoided an offsides trap on a through ball by Garcia, and produced a clinical finish from 12 yards past Spurs' goalkeeper Paul Robinson. John Arne Riise capped the scoring in the 89th minute with a long-distance shot from 35 yards that curled away from Robinson and into the net. The win gave Liverpool - which defeated Newcastle 2-0 on Wednesday - 10 points on the Premiership season, three fewer than Portsmouth and five less than current leader Chelsea. Tottenham, stuck on four points, slipped to 17th. Both sides were laboured and disjointed in the opening 30 minutes, with Jenas, Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane showing more offensive initiative. With former Liverpool star Danny Murphy back in the Spurs midfield after injury to provide a better service to Keane and Defoe - who are both scoreless - it was goalkeeper Robinson who produced the first opportunity in the third minute. The England 'keeper rushed out to meet a through ball and punted the ball into the Liverpool box for Defoe, but a well-timed interception by Sammy Hypia denied the dimunitive striker. The Reds generated their first scoring chance in the 12th minute, when Xabi Alonso's 25-yard effort was wide of the lower right corner. Keane was unable to finish a stellar cross by Murphy, and in the 25th minute, Spurs defender Ledley King was unable to meet a free kick by Murphy in the six-yard box. Liverpool started the second half with more determination and took control as Tottenham struggled to retain possession. In the 53rd minute, Bellamy and Kuyt, with their eyes firmly focussed on the ball, collided as they jumped to meet a well-placed cross. Rafa Benitez's team returns to European play with a Champions League match Wednesday against Turkish side Galatasaray at Anfield, while the Spurs - who play the second leg of their first-round UEFA Cup match against Slavia on Thursday - will be hard-pressed to end their 433-minute Premier League scoreless drought against a Portsmouth team yet to concede a goal through its first five Premiership matches. (AP)