Tottenham’s unbeaten run ends with Liverpool loss
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard ended Tottenham’s 12-match unbeaten run in the Premier League by clinching a 3-2 victory from the penalty spot on Sunday.
As Liverpool climbed to sixth place with a third successive win, Tottenham missed a chance to strengthen its grip on third place.
Gerrard struck the winner in the 82nd minute after Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled Luis Suarez.
It was Suarez who put Liverpool ahead in the 21st with his 50th goal for the club.
Jan Vertonghen headed Tottenham level on the stroke of halftime by meeting a cross from Gareth Bale, who set up the defender again after the break as the visitors took the lead.
But a defensive mix-up allowed Liverpool to equalize in the 66th as Stewart Downing grabbed a rare goal before Gerrard had the final say.
“A couple of mistakes cost us but we can’t be too negative about what we have done so far,” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. “Hopefully this is a good reminder for us.”
Liverpool ripped through Tottenham on the left flank before taking the lead, with Philippe Coutinho combining well with Jose Enrique.
The pair exchanged passes before Enrique, holding off Kyle Walker, slid a perfectly-weighted pass for Suarez to run onto and surprise goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at his near post with the outside of his right foot.
Tottenham made a strong response, with Bale sending a left-footed shot into the stand and then an angled right-footed effort wide.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, who rejected a summer move to Liverpool, missed an even better opportunity from Bale’s flick as he shot wide of Brad Jones’ right-hand post with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Bale, playing mainly through the middle, went off temporarily for treatment which allowed him to rejoin play on the right wing and this contributed, in some part, to the equalizer on the stroke of halftime.
Bale received the ball on the flank and curled a left-footed cross over the head of Jamie Carragher, on his 500th league appearance, for Vertonghen to get in front of Glen Johnson and head inside the far post.
Bale played a part in Tottenham’s second just after the break when his free kick was weakly headed down by Carragher to Vertonghen who fired home.
A trademark driving run by Bale saw him pick out Sigurdsson in space at the far post but his shot was deflected onto a post by Johnson.
It proved to be a costly miss and Tottenham collapsed.
Walker attempted an inexplicable back-pass from the halfway line which succeeded only in drawing Lloris out of his goal to clear.
When he failed, Downing nipped in to advance on goal and drill a shot through the legs of Vertonghen on the line.
The pace of the game went up a notch and Sturridge headed into the side-netting and Bale nodded wide before another dreadful backpass, this time by Jermain Defoe, forced Benoit Assou-Ekotto to barge into Suarez.
Gerrard stepped up to slot home his ninth of the season from the penalty spot.