Spurs spoil the party and close in on fifth spot

Liverpool 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2

It was meant to be the poisoned chalice, the competition nobody wanted to be appearing in next season. But on this showing, you would never have guessed Tottenham were not playing for a place in the Europa League.

European football's second tier tournament it may be, but nothing could disguise Harry Redknapp and his side's delight at beating their main rivals for fifth spot.

If that was not enough, this was the day when Liverpool were meant to be celebrating. Celebrating another shot at Europe, and, more significantly, the return of Kenny Dalglish.

Confirmed as the full-time manager earlier in the week – having served as caretaker since January – the Scot was welcomed by Anfield rising as one. Yet Tottenham were happy to play the party-poopers, Rafael van der Vaart scoring in the ninth minute before Luka Modric converted a controversial second-half penalty to seal Spurs' first Anfield victory since 1993.

Redknapp later revealed the secret behind his side ending their hoodoo, having reminded his players they may be forced to return early from their summer holidays.

"I scared them to death before the game and it did the trick," he said. "We are top of the Fair Play League which means they would come back in two weeks and would be playing again in June. I wonder why Fulham got eight bookings the other night?

"But we are not fighting for the Europa League, we are fighting for fifth to finish as high as you can and win as many games as you can.

"It's not ideal – but if we play in it we will. You play Thursday night and then Sunday. It's a big win for us. We had to win to finish above Liverpool and we've given ourselves a chance now."

Redknapp has spoken of his reluctance to play in next season's Europa League, citing the impact it can have on Premier League form.

But you would not have known that the booby prize was up for grabs given Spurs' application. Perversely, on the day of Dalglish's coronation after penning his three-year deal, it was a man named Rafa who inflicted the early damage.

Man of the match Modric's corner was cleared only as far as the lurking Dutchman, who sent his shot home, via a slight deflection off Glen Johnson.

Anfield was silenced and it took a while before they found their voice. Andy Carroll should have got the home fans singing once again but headed horribly over the crossbar after meeting Martin Skrtel's cross.

A laboured Liverpool looked devoid of ideas and inspiration, so the last thing they needed was a hotly-disputed referring decision to go against them. John Flanagan appeared to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Steven Pienaar but referee Howard Webb claimed the South African winger was shoved over, even if the initial contact looked to be outside the box.

Modric did the rest from the penalty spot in the 56th minute and Liverpool never look like finding a way back with Ledley King, making his first appearance in seven months, defying his chronic knee problem to ensure the shut-out.

Tottenham know a win over struggling Birmingham on the final day will secure their European spot for next season. But Dalglish was left ruing his side's failure to turn up when it mattered most.

"We feel we short-changed the fans by not getting the result," he said. "Maybe it was too much of a fairytale. They started better than we did and we didn't play for 30 to 35 minutes, and then they get the second goal which gives them a foothold. We never played as well as we can and that's disappointing for the players."

On the controversial spot-kick, the Scot added: "I'm not here to sponsor the FA. It's unhelpful to everyone you can't express your true thoughts and officials don't explain their thoughts.

"But we could have been a greater help to ourselves if we started the game better."



Substitutes: Liverpool Shelvey (Spearing, 64), Ngog (Rodriguez, 75), Cole (Carroll, 88). Tottenham Defoe (Van der Vaart, 53), Bassong (Rose, 82), Kranjcar (Pienaar, 90). Booked: Liverpool Flanagan, Suarez. Tottenham Sandro.

Man of the match Modric. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Liverpool 49% Tottenham 51%. Attempts on target: Liverpool 2 Tottenham 4. Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire).

Attendance 44,893.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum