AHEAD of Liverpool’s clash with Tottenham at Anfield, TAW contributors look back on eight times the Reds were too hot for Spurs.
Liverpool 6 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – May 8, 1993
THE 6-2 thrashing of Spurs in May 1993 was memorable for more than being the day we thought Graeme Souness was being sacked, it was also the first of The Kop flag days. And The Kop were celebrating both events.
For the first time in my life a Liverpool manager had lost the support of the fans on the terraces. It was nothing to do with results. A little over a year previously Souness had been paid by The Sun for an exclusive feature. They splashed a photo of the manager – who was recuperating after heart surgery – embracing his girlfriend. ‘LOVERPOOL’ screamed the headline. It was unforgivable and all vestiges of sympathy and support for a poorly performing manager disappeared.
As rumours of Souness’s sacking rippled around the city – he’d said he wouldn’t attend the game as he was ‘scouting’ – the stage was set for an end of season party.
The Kop flag days were an attempt to galvanise traditional terrace support before Anfield became all-seater. The impending Taylor Report-driven abolishment of terraces had seen supporters up and down the land meekly resigning themselves to becoming merely spectators.
The Kop – buoyed by the prospect of Mr Loverpool getting the boot – worked themselves up into a frenzy. It was party time. The grand old terrace was buzzing and covered in banners.
The Kop bounced, Ian Rush scored his 300th goal for the club, Tottenham were walloped and Bruce Grobbelaar saved a last-minute penalty. With a new manager and support like this, we thought, it wouldn’t be long before number 19 came along.
“I tell you what”, one beaming Kopite said as we piled into The Albert for celebratory beers, “It won’t be 26 fucking years before we win the league again!”
I think it was me.
Liverpool 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0 – November 8, 1997
IT’S late in 1997, I’m 11 years old and Dad drives us all up north for our grandparents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary.
The long drive up on a Saturday was always saved by footy on the radio. How I miss footy on the radio. Liverpool are playing Tottenham at Anfield, and we listen in.
Spurs were poor at the time, just above the drop zone, but it was still Spurs, and their team still contained Sol Campbell, Darren Anderton and David Ginola. Potentially dangerous, but the first half passed without incident. Boring, dull, missing nothing.
Then the radio cuts out. Nightmare. Stuck on the M6 and no idea what the Reds are doing. They’ll be losing. My mental images of Ginola taking the ball round and round Bjorn Tore Kvarme until he vomits on a nearby ball boy couldn’t shift. Damn these imaginary Reds.
It was easier to do the Likely Lads thing in those days. No rolling sports news, no score apps, no internet at all, in fact. So I wait patiently to sit, legs-crossed, on a rock hard Travelodge bed and watch Ginola inevitably batter us on Match of the Day.
First half passes without incident, but I already knew that. Second half begins, and the first highlight is Steve McManaman scoring. The next one is Oyvind Leonhardsen scoring. The next one is Jamie Redknapp scoring. Mickey Owen bags a fourth off the bench, and we’ve hammered them. 4-0.
These Reds loved winning 4-0. The real Reds. Not like those shitty imaginary ones that lost in the car. Roy Evans’ real Reds made my day, my night, my weekend.
Liverpool 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0 – January 14, 2006
WEIRD one, Harry Kewell.
Rightly or wrongly, I ended up a bit suspicious of him. I wondered if he was one of those players who was really talented at the game but didn’t actually love the game.
He was hailed as a signing that “would get bums off seats” but the truth was he didn’t do it enough. He was unfortunate with injuries, infamously being substituted in three successive finals for the Reds.
If you do a bit of digging, you’ll find Rafa Benitez questioning his injury record and Kewell’s agent questioning Liverpool’s medical staff. Who knows what went on but either way it didn’t help anyone.
What we do know is that the Aussie turned out only 139 times in a Liverpool shirt in nearly five years, scoring 16 goals.
Kewell certainly had his moments, though. And this was one of them – a goal volleyed with the purpose and technique of a player who knows how good he is.
It was enough to sink Spurs in a tight game. It was also his first goal in over a year. It’s a shame we didn’t see that player more often.
Liverpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1 – May 24, 2009
IT was a season of ‘what could have been’ for the Reds. Manchester United had picked up a point at home to Arsenal which confirmed their position as champions. Liverpool had been imperious but ultimately fell short.
The ridiculous thing is that Benitez’s side had lost just twice all season. The 11 draws were the killer, so many said, but with hindsight United had been so close to perfection.
It was an emotional day at Anfield. The emotions of falling short in the title race, losing out to rivals but also the imminent departure of a club legend. After 463 appearances and just over 10 years on Merseyside, Sami Hyypia was to leave for Bayer Leverkusen. But he wasn’t starting. He was on the bench, as he had been for most of the second half of that season.
Fernando Torres scored after half an hour. Alan Hutton stabbed it into his own goal after the hour mark. Robbie Keane gave Spurs hope but Yossi Benayoun ended that with nine minutes to go. Still no sign of Sami, the supporters just wanted to see Sami. The win was in the bag.
“Sami, Sami, Sami, on, on, on.”
With six minutes remaining Rafa gave the Anfield faithful what they were waiting for. The Big Finn replaced Steven Gerrard and took the captain’s armband for the last time.
The lasting image from that game is Hyypia’s tears after the final whistle. The standing ovation post-match and the ‘SAMI’ mosaic on The Kop pre-match.
Sami was a great fella. He loved the club. A true legend.
Liverpool 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0 – January 20, 2010
JANUARY 20, 2010. The Reds were cabbage absolute cabbage. The wheels hadn’t just come off. They had dissolved into dust.
The day before my 29th birthday. I went on my own. I made this deranged pilgrimage from the flat above the garage in Back Percy Street to Anfield. I walked the whole way and drank from a hip flask in doing so.
Benitez was under siege. Pathetic fallacy all over the show. Banners were out — solidarity, pride, fever; there was a bite in the air.
The atmosphere was like a cornered wolf. Snapping and biting. I took my seat and snapped and bit with the best of them. Jamie Carragher absolutely walloped Niko Kranjcar first minute. I mean made mincemeat of him. I maintain Jamie deliberately set up a 50-50 so he could utterly break him early.
A long ball, an Alberto Aquilani flick-on and Dirk Kuyt made it 1-0. The Reds get the half and deserve two, maybe three.
It was probably Aquilani’s best game in a red shirt. It was possibly Kuyt’s most Kuyt game. An unlikely front two which worked in that way sometimes two lads just work for an evening. Work because they have to, because this is everything here and now.
Even the winning penalty had to be retaken, South Yorkshire’s finest Howard Webb had refused to give us another couple of shouts earlier. We finally got the penalty and Kuyt converted, Liverpool everything they deserved.
There were some comparatively poor footballers playing that evening for the Reds, but they all gave everything. It was a victory for Carragher and Kuyt, a victory for footballers and a football support who really, really, really gave everything.
Up the besieged Reds.
Liverpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – March 10, 2013
THIS was a big day for The Anfield Wrap. Our very first show in The United States. We were watching in a packed 11th Street Bar in The East Village of Manhattan at an ungodly hour hoping the Reds would do the business.
Liverpool had started to look much better in the second half of Brendan Rodgers’ first season, but were still sixth, 12 points behind Spurs in third place. It all looked rosy when Luis Suarez put us 1-0 up after 20 minutes, slipping the ball under Hugo Lloris. But then Tottenham started to play.
It was a fine Spurs team this, my dad reckoned the best to come to Anfield all season. Gareth Bale was on his way to Footballer of the Year and a record breaking move to Real Madrid. We had Brad Jones in goal. So it’s fair to say it was never going to end 1-0. Jan Vertonghen scored just before half-time from a delicious Bale cross and it’s game on again.
The second half saw the type of end-to-end attacking, nerve-wracking football that came to characterise Rodgers’ reign. Liverpool, with just Gerrard and Lucas Leiva in the middle, always seemed outnumbered, yet remained a threat with Suarez and Daniel Sturridge upfront.
Vertonghen pounced on a bouncing ball to make it 2-1. Spurs then dominated play, but a mistake from Lloris gifted Stewart Downing an equaliser.
It could have gone either way after that. A slightly soft Gerrard penalty won it for Liverpool. Maybe they knew a night out in New York depended on it. Go ‘ed, lads. We had a blast.
Liverpool 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0 – March 30, 2014
MARCH 2014. In the midst of a title race, Tim Sherwood brings his lads to Anfield to attempt to stop the Red juggernaut that had won every league game for the thick end of two months.
On paper it was tough, I’d managed to develop an actual hangover by kick-off and I’d taken it as a sign. I had a banging headache, was dehydrated and I wanted to curl up and die when You’ll Never Walk Alone started.
I learned a life lesson. Don’t drink 12 per cent Belgian beer on a train at 11.30am.
The Reds dished out a lesson on the pitch. Any nerves disappeared inside two minutes when Younes Kaboul put the ball in his own goal, Suarez effectively killed the game in the 25th minute, Phil Coutinho just sauntered through their midfield and then Jordan Henderson scored with the softest free-kick that wasn’t a shot you’ll ever have seen.
We needed a regulation three points. We got three regulation points. Eight in a row, the Reds were on fire. It isn’t very often you beat a team 9-0 on aggregate in a season. This team could though — it was capable of almost anything.
Liverpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – February 10, 2015
LIVERPOOL FC decided they were going to win this football match.
Mousa Dembele, built like a wardrobe, marauding in midfield. Harry Kane, emerging as one of the Premier League’s brightest talents. Mauricio Pochettino looking suave on the touchline.
The Reds weren’t interested. They were going to win.
It’s *probably* Lazar Markovic’s finest hour in red. Although he did nearly score the GOAT goal at The Stadium of Light with that fucking mad karate kick, as Connor Wickham’s face would attest to.
On a night were Rodgers played the Serb in his actual, real-life position (shock horror) he scored a goal. Firing through the smoke-like hands of Hugo ‘quite handsome and can kick it in a straight line but doesn’t actually save anything ever’ Lloris.
Gerrard scored a penalty. Obviously. It’s just what he did by this point.
It’s *certainly* Mario Balotelli’s finest hour in red. The Italian, ultimately, wasn’t that good at footy. Not for Liverpool, anyway. A last-minute winner, though.
A last-minute winner.