x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Roman the conquerer for Spurs

Roman Pavlyuchenko's late winner against Liverpool lifts Spurs off the bottom, and the Reds off top spot.

Tottenham players celebrate after Liverpool's Jamie Carragher's own goal levelled the scores at White Hart Lane before Spurs went on to win 2-1.
Tottenham players celebrate after Liverpool's Jamie Carragher's own goal levelled the scores at White Hart Lane before Spurs went on to win 2-1.

LONDON // Roman Pavlyuchenko pounced on the stroke of full-time to lift Tottenham off the foot of Barclays Premier League. Liverpool took the lead with just two minutes on the clock through a magnificent finish by Dirk Kuyt that saw Spurs' blundering Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes exposed yet again. Jamie Carragher's own goal appeared to have salvaged a point for Spurs but Harry Redknapp's side had grander ideas. With injury time approaching, Pavlyuchenko tucked home a Darren Bent pass to deny the Reds their return to the summit of the table and end the top flight's last unbeaten record. Liverpool allowed a flurry of chances to slip by, with Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso missing the pick of them, until Carragher rose high in the 69th minute to nod into his own net. They should have been out of sight before Carragher struck while Spurs displayed more of the fighting spirit which served them so well against Arsenal in midweek. The victory rang up Redknapp's seventh point in three games since replacing Juande Ramos a week ago, a remarkable return given Spurs' dismal position until his arrival. It was three points dropped for Liverpool, who had former Tottenham man Robbie Keane to thank for setting up the opening goal. Much of the pre-match build-up focused on Keane's first appearance against the club he left for £20.3million (Dh119.8m) during the summer and the match had barely started when he made his presence felt. The Republic of Ireland striker continued some slick build-up play by finding the unmarked Kuyt down the right ? and the Dutchman found the net from a tight angle with a brilliant finish. Keane's celebrations, however, were muted out of respect for the club he led as skipper. The sting had been taken out of Liverpool's early onslaught as Spurs began to retain possession, but their opponents' constant harrying in dreadful conditions made life difficult. Vedran Corluka tried his luck from out wide on the left after being teed up by David Bentley but his effort sailed wide. Reina was presented with a far tougher challenge in the 41st minute when he pushed aside Luka Modric's impressive effort from the edge of the area. The ball slipped under the legs of Xabi Alonso, leaving Reina with little time to react, but the Spaniard's reflexes were equal to the task. Harry Redknapp brought on Pavlyuchenko at the interval and the second half was just moments old when the Russian dragged a shot wide. Spurs were concerned when Kuyt charged towards the goal, with the ball popping up to Gerrard ? whose shot was tipped onto the right corner of the woodwork by Gomes. The England midfielder, spotting Gomes was stranded, then tried a looping shot from out wide but only found the top of the net. Gomes flapped as Alonso sneaked in at the far post but the Spaniard's header slipped wide when he should have hit the target. Liverpool should have been out of sight as the match but the visitors equalised against the run of play when Carragher, under pressure from Ledley King, headed a corner into his own net. And the majority of the White Hart Lane supporters were delighted when Pavlyuchenko tucked home Darren Bent's pass to complete the comeback.

*PA Sport