Football: McManaman masks Liverpool's lethargy

Liverpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2

THIS MAY have been a meaningless mid-table match, but on Wednesday these two sides have the destiny of the championship in their hands.

So what will Manchester United and Arsenal spies have learned? Firstly, that Spurs are likely to post the bigger threat to the championship contenders, and not only because they follow this week's north London derby with matches against Chelsea and United.

Even without the injured Les Ferdinand and with David Ginola "resting" on the bench after the exertions of receiving the players' Player of the Year award, they were too lively for an under-strength Liverpool who once again seemed determined to contribute to their own undoing.

A defence, which in a couple of days must contend with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, found it difficult enough to cope with the lone threat of Chris Armstrong, though the impressive form of Steffen Iversen as both creator and goalscorer will have figured strongly in the notes of observers.

It was he who delivered the cross which prompted Jamie Carragher to put through his own goal after 13 minutes and whose powerful header from Darren Anderton's free-kick seemed to have put the match beyond Liverpool well before half-time.

Enter referee Stephen Lodge, who turned the game on its head with two debatable decisions either side of the break. The first was the dismissal of the Spurs full-back Mauricio Taricco for two bookable offences, both fairly innocuous tackles on Steve McManaman.

The second was the award of a penalty when goalkeeper Ian Walker was judged to have brought down Karlheinz Riedle.

Despite the extra man, Liverpool found it difficult to break down a well-organised Spurs rearguard which seemed capable of resisting a lack- lustre attack until two goals in as many minutes produced a flattering victory.

Paul Ince diverted Jamie Redknapp's cross beyond Walker and McManaman, the only Liverpool player to impress, rounded off a splendid afternoon with a superb 20-yard drive.

Doubtless their fierce rivalry with United will give an extra edge to Liverpool's play on Wednesday, but in the continuing absence of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler, Alex Ferguson may well conclude that if they shackle McManaman their visit to Anfield may not be nearly as tricky as their final match of the season at home to Spurs.

Goals: Carragher (og, 13) 0-1; Iverson (35) 0-2; Redknapp (pen, 49) 1- 2; Ince (77) 2-2; McManaman (79) 3-2.

Liverpool (4-5-1): Friedel; Kvarme (Gerrard, h-t), Carragher, Staunton, Matteo; Thompson (Bjornebye, 88), Redknapp, Leonhardsen (Song, 75), Ince, McManaman; Riedle. Substitutes not used: James (gk), Dundee.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-5-1): Walker; Carr, Campbell, Nielsen, Taricco; Dominguez (Fox, 83), Clements (King, h-t), Iversen, Anderton, Freund (Sherwood, 66); Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Baardsen, Ginola.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).

Bookings: Liverpool: Riedle. Tottenham: Taricco, Walker, Freund. Sending- off: Taricco.

Man of the match: McManaman.

Attendance: 44,007.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
people
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us