Andre Villas-Boas admits Tottenham may struggle to keep Gareth Bale

Welsh winger with another inspired performance

Andre Villas-Boas admits Tottenham may struggle to hold on to Gareth Bale after watching the Welsh winger end Liverpool's eight-match unbeaten run in fine style last night.

Bale ran 50 yards and beat four Liverpool players before setting up Aaron Lennon for Tottenham's first and then beat Pepe Reina with a brilliant 30-yard free-kick to double the hosts' lead.

The fact that Bale signed a new contract last summer has not stopped Barcelona and Real Madrid being heavily linked with the 23-year-old, and Villas-Boas admits he may be powerless to stop the winger leaving.

"At the moment he is performing extremely well for Spurs and we are amazed at what he can do for us. He is on to a great career," Villas-Boas said.

"Obviously Tottenham as a football club want to keep him here for as long as we can but we understand players like this have propositions and a market, which is the nature of the game."

Should either of the Spanish giants have had scouts at last night's game at White Hart Lane, they will have been impressed with Bale's outstanding performance.

His pace, creativity and finishing were sublime throughout the game - with the only negative point coming in the second half when he got in the way of Lennon's clearance, which struck his head and went in to his own net.

Liverpool feel they should have taken something from the match, however. Manager Brendan Rodgers was infuriated at referee Phil Dowd for not awarding Liverpool two penalties - one for a foul on Steven Gerrard by Mousa Dembele, and the other when William Gallas took out Luis Suarez in the dying minutes.

Rodgers earlier this season complained that his team were not getting enough decisions from officials, and he was deeply unhappy tonight that Dowd awarded the free-kick that led to Bale's goal when Clint Dempsey went down under the slightest of touches from Jordan Henderson.

"Nothing is going for us away from home, that's how it's been all season in terms of decisions," Rodgers said in his post-match press conference.

"Clint Dempsey has been clever (with the free-kick)

"He gets a hand in back and goes down. We should have had two [penalties tonight]. It's incredible to have gone through the season without getting a penalty. "The Steven Gerrard one was nearly assault. How is that not a penalty?

"Watch the second one. Luis Suarez spins, William Gallas swings his left foot, catches him and he goes down.

"The statistics will tell you that we've been in the box as much as anyone, but to arrive at this stage of season and not get a penalty..."

PA

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