Tottenham seizes advantage in Europa League race

Tottenham seizes advantage in Europa League race

Published May. 15, 2011 7:20 p.m. ET

Tottenham seized the advantage in the race for England's final Europa League spot with a 2-0 win at Liverpool.

Rafael van der Vaart's volley had given Harry Redknapp's side an early lead only for Liverpool to wrest back control of the game until 11 minutes after the interval when referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot and Luka Modric converted.

Spurs moved a point ahead of their rivals into fifth place as they inflicted a first home defeat for Kenny Dalglish, who signed a three-year contract as manager on Thursday.

Liverpool's home record of 20 points from eight matches prior to this encounter counted for little as the visitors took the early initiative on their way to their first league win at Anfield since 1993.


Van der Vaart fired well wide early on but, when Modric's right-wing corner skimmed off the head of defender Martin Skrtel, the Netherlands international brought the ball under control with his first touch and with his second volleyed it over a crowd of players into the far corner.

Tottenham's tight marking prevented the hosts producing the flowing pass-and-move football which has returned to Anfield under Dalglish.

The only stroke of fortune Liverpool enjoyed was the leniency of referee Webb, who chose to only book Luis Suarez for a petulant kick at Michael Dawson while he was on the floor.

Van der Vaart lasted just five minutes into the second half before limping off to be replaced by Jermain Defoe but Spurs doubled their lead when Webb penalized John Flanagan for a foul on Steven Pienaar.

Modric struck home the spot-kick to give Tottenham a two-goal cushion they barely deserved.