Last gasp Torres saves Reds

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Fernando Torres got Liverpool out of jail with an injury time equaliser but the Reds lost ground on the rest of the title contenders.

Liverpool took the lead in the 12th minute when Robinson spilled a Steven Gerrard free kick and Andriy Voronin reacted quickest to put the ball in the net.

The Reds had a number of other chances to add to their lead, including a Gerrard shot that hit the post with the keeper well beaten, before Robbie Keane struck either side of half time to put Spurs in front.

The goals seem to stun the Liverpool players and they struggled to get back into the game with Spurs looking the more likely to add to their lead.

However, one minute and thirty seconds into injury time, a Steve Finnan cross was headed home by Torres to salvage a point and maintain the Reds unbeaten run in the league.

It was another disappointing performance from Liverpool and with Chelsea and Arsenal both winning, and United having won yesterday, Liverpool have lost ground on the other big three.

Pre Match Team News

jparbeloaPennant returned on the right of midfield and Voronin replaced Crouch up front to partner Torres. Still out were Agger, Alonso and Kewell. Arbeloa replaced Aurelio at left back. Mascherano replaced Sissoko alongside Gerrard in midfield and Riise came in to left midfield.

Press Association Report

Fernando Torres’ injury-time equaliser salvaged a fortunate 2-2 draw for Liverpool to prevent Tottenham recording a win which would have lifted the pressure on Martin Jol.

Jol watched with pride as his side almost forced the club’s first win at Anfield since 1993; it would have been only Spurs’ fourth league success at the home of the Reds since 1912.

The visitors fought for everything only to have their hearts broken two minutes into injury-time when Torres rose to head the equaliser.

Andriy Voronin had opened the scoring for the home team only for Robbie Keane to score either side of half-time.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez made his now obligatory five changes following the Champions League defeat at home to Marseille, but there was not even a role for Peter Crouch on the bench.

His ineffective display in midweek had not helped his cause, while Benitez brought back John Arne Riise, Voronin, Jermaine Pennant, Alvaro Arbeloa and Javier Mascherano.

Spurs made just two changes from the side that fought back from 4-1 to draw with Aston Villa on Monday. Jermaine Jenas, recovered from an abdominal strain, and Young-Pyo Lee replaced Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone.

The match brought together two managers under pressure; Benitez because of his tinkering with the side and the abject European defeat in midweek, and Jol because his job seems to be under threat on a match-to-match basis.

There was extra tension in the air, but it did not stop Spurs from venturing forward. They almost took the lead after just two minutes when Gareth Bale curled a 20-yard free-kick inches wide of a post.

Voronin saw a 20-yard shot easily saved by Paul Robinson four minutes later, but after 12 minutes the Ukrainian was more successful.

Jenas had pulled back Steven Gerrard 25 yards out and, when the Liverpool skipper crashed the free-kick through the wall, Robinson could only half stop the deflected effort, and Voronin punished him by scoring on the rebound.

Undaunted Spurs retaliated with a flicked header from Keane which dropped just wide, and then a right-footed drive from the Irishman flashed across Jose Reina’s goal.

Torres jinked his way through before sending a low drive just wide before Gerrard almost made it 2-0 with a 20-yard free-kick which crashed against the foot of Robinson’s left-hand post after 28 minutes.

It was a very open game and Jenas was next to try his luck with a dipping drive just over.

  • Post match discussion
  • At the other end, Arbeloa and Voronin exchanged passes to set up Torres for a shot that Robinson held.

    Liverpool should have scored after 34 minutes when Torres, Voronin and Gerrard broke away, but the chance was wasted in the box after a flurry of passes and a Voronin effort was deflected away.

    But Spurs deservedly equalised after 44 minutes when Dimitar Berbatov nodded on Robinson’s long clearance, and Keane got in between Steve Finnan and Sami Hyypia to flick a shot past the advancing Reina.

    Two minutes into the second half Keane struck again. Robinson’s free-kick for a foul by Torres soared down the field to be headed on by Berbatov, and this time Keane got to the glanced pass to lift the ball over Reina into the roof of the net.

    Spurs continued to come forward and, after Bale’s grafting had retained possession on the left, the ball was transferred to Jenas, who fired wide from the edge of the box.

    Liverpool were being forced into mistakes as Spurs continued to press for a third. The home side did break out, but after Voronin’s surge the chance fell to Gerrard, who drove over.

    Michael Dawson was booked for a foul on Torres, with Ryan Babel coming on for Arbeloa as Liverpool searched for attacking inspiration. Then the limping Pennant was replaced by another striker Dirk Kuyt.

    There was an air of desperation now about Liverpool – yet another team had come to Anfield and attacked them – and they were not enjoying it.

    The hard-working Teemu Tainio was replaced by Steed Malbranque after 75 minutes, with Liverpool still showing little sign of an equaliser.

    That was until Robinson spilled another long-range effort, this time from Steve Finnan. But Dawson managed to hook the ball away from the danger area.

    Yossi Benayoun was the last throw of the dice after 77 minutes in place of Voronin. Robinson saved well at his near post from Mascherano, while John Arne Riise and Torres both blazed efforts high over.

    Mascherano fired just wide from 20 yards, with time apparently running out for Liverpool who had not been able to mount the expected grandstand finish.

    But two minutes into injury-time, Torres finally found some space in the box when he rose to head home Finnan’s cross to give Liverpool a fortunate point.

    TIA Man of the Match: Javier Mascherano

    Post Match Reaction

    Rafa Benitez:
    “First of all we made two bad mistakes and both goals were easy to defend against.”

    “We controlled the first half and should have been 3-0 up but we didn’t take our chances and then we made some mistakes defensively. I always say when you are 1-0 up and you have good chances you have to take them.

    “We showed character to come back and get a draw in the end but we must be disappointed not to have taken the three points.”

    Match Facts

    Possesion: LIV: 56% TOT: 44%
    Shots (on goal): LIV: 23(9) TOT: 12(6)
    Fouls: LIV: 18 TOT: 10
    Corners: LIV: 5 TOT: 3
    Offsides: LIV: 1 TOT: 3
    Saves: LIV 4 TOT: 5

    lfcLiverpool:

    Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Arbeloa (Babel 63), Pennant (Kuyt 69), Riise, Gerrard, Mascherano, Torres, Voronin (Benayoun 77)
    Subs not used: Itandje, Lucas
    Booked: None
    Goals: Voronin 12, Torres 90+2

    thfcSpurs:

    Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Kaboul, Lee, Bale, Tainio (Malbranque 75), Jenas, Zokora, Keane, Berbatov
    Subs not used: Defoe, Huddlestone, Gardner, Cerny
    Booked: Dawson
    Goals: Keane 44, 47

    Referee: Mark Halsey
    Attendance: 43,986

    Media Reports

    BBC Sport Online
    Official LFC Website

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