Sunday sees two Champions League hopefuls Tottenham and Liverpool clash at White Hart Lane. The Reds have been one of the surprise packages this season as they occupy second spot and are considered dark horses for the title. Tottenham lie sixth on the table but just three points off the visitors and will see this match as a chance to boost their top four ambitions.
To Win (90mins)
Tottenham are coming off a hard fought 2-1 win at Sunderland last weekend which completed a good week for manager Andre Villas-Boas, who had found himself under pressure in the wake of his team’s 6-0 trouncing at Manchester City last month. A 2-2 home draw with Manchester United and wins at Fulham and Sunderland have more than steadied the ship and left the Londoners just two points adrift of a Champions League spot. Spurs’ collective defensive displays have improved considerably since the City debacle. However, scoring goals remains their Achilles heel as they have managed just fifteen in as many games. Of those goals, only seven have been scored at home. They have failed to assert themselves over opponents at The Lane with just three wins and two draws out of seven games. Roberto Soldado has been spearheading the Tottenham attack for most of the season and has only one goal to show for it, with his other three goals all coming from the penalty spot. That poor form resulted in Jermain Defoe starting Tottenham’s last two league matches, but the Englishman hasn’t played to his potential and it will be interesting to see who Andre Villas-Boas starts upfront against Liverpool.
A 4-1 victory over West Ham last Saturday catapulted the Reds into second place and extended their home record this season to seven wins out of eight. The Reds weren’t at their free-flowing best throughout the contest, but whereas that would have previously only brought frustration, here it brought three points, ultimately thanks to their perseverance. Results away from Anfield have been a different story however, with Liverpool securing all three points only twice – at Aston Villa and Sunderland – from their seven fixtures on the road. Liverpool have suffered a major blow with the news that skipper Steven Gerrard will be out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury. The midfielder limped off early in the second half against West Ham. Jordan Henderson also took a slight knock and is likely to miss this match. Both Gerrard and Henderson have started every one of the Merseyside outfit’s fifteen Premier League games this season. However, manager Brendan Rodgers has claimed that Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva have what it takes to carry the Liverpool midfield through a period of five games in fifteen days. With one big player already on the sidelines in the form of Daniel Sturridge, it will place more weight on the shoulders of Luis Suarez, who has been in fine form this season, and Philippe Coutinho to provide Liverpool’s main goal threat. After missing the first five league games, the Uruguayan striker has scored fourteen goals in ten appearances and has the best minutes-per-goal ratio in the top five European leagues.
VERDICT: Draw 24/10
Tottenham have beaten Liverpool in the last six meetings at White Hart Lane. However, Liverpool are much improved than in recent seasons and also have the most in-form striker in the world at the moment. With some key players missing for the Reds and Tottenham having returned to their solid ways defensively, the teams are tipped to cancel each other out.