Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers queries referee decisions

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Brendan Rodgers on Tottenham v Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers said Mousa Dembele's challenge on Steven Gerrard in the penalty area was "bordering on assault" during the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

The Liverpool captain fell to the ground in the first half when Dembele made contact with him, before the ball fell to Luis Suarez whose shot was cleared off the line by Kyle Walker.

"I don't know what Gerrard and Suarez have to do to get a pen," said Rodgers.

"I thought it was bordering on assault on Gerrard."

The other incident Rodgers referred to occurred in the second half when referee Phil Dowd waved away appeals after Suarez went to ground under the challenge of William Gallas. The Reds have yet to be awarded a penalty in the league this season.

The Liverpool manager also said he was "bitterly disappointed" his side did not come away from White Hart Lane with at least a point.

Tottenham were the better side in the first half, with wingers Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale giving Spurs a two-goal advantage inside the first 16 minutes.

Liverpool, who were unlucky to see Suarez's shot cleared off the line, improved in the second period, with Bale inadvertently heading into his own net to reduce the deficit, while Suarez and Jose Enrique went close.

"The players were brilliant," added the former Swansea boss.

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"We're bitterly disappointed to have lost, but if we continue to play like that we will climb the league quickly.

"We started OK. The free-kick [that led to the second goal] should not have been given - Clint Dempsey [who was fouled by Jordan Henderson] was clever.

"It wasn't to be tonight - we go away empty handed. Their striker Jermain Defoe, who has been on fire, was quiet. And apart from the first 15 minutes, both wingers were quiet."

The victory lifted Tottenham to fifth - only three points behind third-placed Chelsea, who drew 0-0 against Fulham.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said that is the position his side are aiming for, although he added that they were lucky to beat Liverpool.

"To get a win in from a midweek league fixture is important," said the Portuguese manager.

"We benefited from a couple of results of other teams around us tonight. We're three points from third - we want to be third.

"Brendan feels a fair result would have been a draw - I have to agree.

"We did extremely well to hold on to the lead. We got the result we wanted. The players have shown great strength and character throughout the season."