Lennon buries Liverpool


LONDON, November 28- Aaron Lennon's stoppage-time winner gave Tottenham Hotspur a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at White Hart Lane here on Sunday as Harry Redknapp's in-form side climbed up the Premier League table.The win moved Spurs into fifth place but taking all three points had appeared beyond them when Martin Skrtel capped an impressive first half display by the visitors with a 42nd minute goal.

Tottenham rallied after the break, drawing level when Skrtel turned into his own goal moments after Jermain Defoe had spurned the chance to equalise from the penalty spot.

Then Lennon wrapped up the win when Liverpool failed to deal with a Peter Crouch flick and the winger ran into the box to finish past Pepe Reina.

Defeat was harsh on Liverpool, who would have established a more commanding lead had Fernando Torres not missed two good chances either side of half-time.

And the visitors’ sense of grievance wasn’t helped by referee Martin Atkinson’s failure to award a penalty when Dirk Kuyt went down under Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s challenge in the final minutes.

Spurs had been boosted before kick-off when Rafael van der Vaart was declared fit after recovering from an ankle problem while Joe Cole’s hoped for return for Liverpool after a hamstring problem was put on hold when the midfielder injured his ankle in training.

But problems quickly surfaced for Spurs when van der Vaart pulled up after just ten minutes and was forced out of the game.

Redknapp had to make another change before half-time when Younes Kaboul hobbled off but it was the loss of van der Vaart that really hurt Spurs

With their opponents forced to reorganise, Liverpool adopted a impressively positive approach and it was Tottenham’s Heurelho Gomes who was the busier of the two goalkeepers as Roy Hodgson’s side pressed for the opener.

Torres twice set up Maxi Rodriguez and it took an excellent save from Gomes to repel the Argentine’s second effort.

Gomes again had to be alert to deny Kuyt and while Spurs created chances at the other end, Liverpool appeared the more threatening.

With skipper Steven Gerrard yet to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained on international duty with England, Raul Meireles assumed more responsibility in midfield and helped maintain Liverpool’s forward momentum.

Gomes was again called into action when Meireles fired in a low 30 yard shot that the Brazilian keeper almost allowed to squirm under his arms.

Then two minutes later, the Portuguese midfielder clipped a 42nd minute free-kick into the Spurs area where Skrtel headed against the back of team-mate David Ngog and reacted first to stab the ball home.

Worse could have followed for the home side with Rodriguez and Torres both spurning clear chances in first-half added-time.

The second period started were the first had left off, with Torres again missing a good chance after being sent clear by Lucas Leiva’s through ball.

That proved to be Liverpool’s last opening as Spurs upped their tempo.

Tottenham were given a route back into the game when Ngog inexplicably handled Gareth Bale’s free-kick but Defoe’s penalty was wide of the target.

That proved to be only a temporary reprieve for Liverpool with Skrtel diverting Modric’s low cross past Reina in the 65th minute.

The momentum was with Spurs but Liverpool looked set to hold on for a point until Lennon struck.