AMSTERDAM — Brad Friedel recovered just fine on Sunday after a rare loss the last time out, notching four saves to backstop Tottenham's 1-0 victory over Sunderland.
The American netminder set up the win with key first-half stops on Kieran Richardson and Sebastian Larsson. In the end, Friedel pushed his White Hart Lane shutout streak to 298 minutes, helping Spurs reclaim third place.
Also in the EPL, Brad Guzan suffered from being under the gun early in Aston Villa's 2-0 defeat to rude guests Liverpool.
Fronted by some lax set-piece defending, the former Chivas USA man had little chance on corner-kick conversions by Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel inside the opening quarter hour. Guzan would settle down to make five saves, but eventually saw the end of his unbeaten Aston Villa run of 13 starts.
Elsewhere, Oguchi Onyewu and Sporting CP fell to six points off the top in Portugal with a 1-1 draw at Académica Coimbra. Taking a positive from the dreary team outing, the US defender has now played in as many league contests this term as in the prior two full seasons combined.
Eredivisie action saw AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore depart after a decent 45 minutes of a 2-1 loss at NAC Breda. With Kaasboeren technical director Earnie Stewart working the crowd at his old stomping ground like a favorite son, the league leaders were beaten near the death by a goal from former defender Milano Koenders.
Dropping points for the third time in four rounds, AZ head to the winter break with a tabletop edge shaved down one point.
South of the border in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan continued his strong form as Anderlecht maintained a three-point Jupiler League lead by scoring a 3-2 home win over pesky Lokeren.
The midfielder's slip pass led to a rebound scooped in by Guillaume Gillet to break the ice on 38 minutes. Lokeren rallied from two deficits to tie, but were done in by a late own goal as the Mauves extended their home unbeaten run in league play to nine.
Over in the Bundesliga, Hannover 96 skipper Steve Cherundolo watched a 1-1 share at Kaiserslautern from the dugout.