White Hart Lane, London
December 15th, 2013; 16:00 GMT
This Super Sunday brings together Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, two exciting teams fighting each other to decide who will inch closer to rivals Arsenal and occupy the coveted Champions League spots. The last time Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC met in the League, Tottenham were sunk by the magic of Luis Suarez, losing important points that ultimately cost Spurs the 4th and final Champions League spot.
Currently sitting in an unexpected yet deserved 6th position, Tottenham Hotspur have just recovered from the scathing defeat at the Etihad Stadium by orchestrating a hard fought draw against Manchester United and two narrow victories over Fulham and Sunderland (both away from home). Many have started questioning Tottenham’s transfer market activities and are wondering if Spurs would even finish in the top 6 or 8 let alone vie for a Champions League spot.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are a lot more comfortable sitting pretty in 2nd spot. Liverpool have had two back to back victories after losing at Hull City; both with big margins (beating Norwich City 5-1 and West Ham United 4-1). The loss of Daniel Sturridge due to injury has only made Suarez go into a goal frenzy. Rodgers will only look to further close the gap between him and Arsenal and will send out a strong squad for the trip to Tottenham and will look to emulate what Manchester City achieved against the home side.
Team News and Tactics
It is quite clear that Tottenham have got goals from players playing in every position other than their strikers and have failed to score in 3 of their last 6 games. Andre Villas-Boas seems to have finally learnt his lesson and has handed out the Europa league star and club veteran Jermain Defoe a much deserved start for Spurs. Although he looked a lot more promising finding the post twice in the previous game has also failed to find the back of the net. However it seems as though Defoe will get the nod for this fixture ahead of Soldado and the injured Adebayor, as his performance in the previous game was worthy of a second try.
In midfield, Paulinho and Dembele combined well for Tottenham at Sunderland. However the lack of a hard tackling defensive midfielder (such as Sandro) left the back four exposed. AVB might opt to play Sandro in order to keep a tab on the ever-lethal Suarez. Paulinho’s goal would earn him a midfield spot by his countryman’s side. Lennon’s tireless performance might see him patrolling the right flank for Tottenham; while Chadli will retain the left. Holtby will be set to play the Number 10 role.
In Defence, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen ruled out due to injury will leave AVB no choice but to play Kyle Naughton on the left and Kyle Walker on the right. With Vlad Chiricheș also injured for the Sunderland trip, Etienne Capoue played in central defence. Chiricheș, however, is set to return for Tottenham Hotspur and will be available for the Liverpool game could see him paired up with Dawson and with Lloris on goal.
Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Naughton, Chiriches, Dawson, Walker; Sandro, Paulinho; Chadli, Holtby, Dembele; Defoe
Liverpool has recently had a bad set of games away from home losing 2 and one draw of the last three. If they wish to close the gap with the league leaders they need to put up a performance that sends a message. A victory would put Liverpool just two points behind Arsenal.
Simon Mignolet remains in goal to ensure that Tottenham, who are fond of long range shots, are kept on the back foot. On Liverpool’s right flank, Glen Johnson who has the urge to burst front on the bye line and provide the necessary width will cause Naughton some problems as the latter will be drawn inside by Sterling in right mid who will constantly cut in. John Flanagan’s recent form and injury to Enrique will see him on his weaker flank behind Coutinho. However their lack of physical strength would be severely tested by Walker and Lennon who both like to get forward and run at the opposing players. Coutinho on the other hand might pose a problem for Walker as his creativity and the latter’s trait to be caught out of position might give Tottenham a thrashing.
Although there has been quite a bit of rotation in the centre of defence for Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers may retain Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel, even though Daniel Agger is fit again, having missed the visit of West Ham due to illness.
Gerrard’s injury will see Joe Allen alongside Lucas in a deep midfield for Liverpool; where Lucas is required to keep a tab and break up any creative play. Henderson if pronounced fit will find his place to complete the team behind the Suarez. Henderson off late has been rumoured to be the heir to Gerrard’s throne but he has much more to do.
Probable Line-up (4-3-3): Mignolet; Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson; Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Allen; Suarez
- Luis Suarez has scored the same number of goals (15) for Liverpool, as the entire Tottenham Hotspur squad this season
- Tottenham Hotspur have conceded 16 goals whereas Liverpool has managed to let in 18.
- Liverpool have kept 1 clean sheet in 12 their last League games.
- Liverpool have won only 2 of their 7 away games.
Player to Watch
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
“It’s not Liverpool at Anfield this season, if Luis Suarez does not score”. The current top scorer of the Premier League is still fresh from the 4 goals against Norwich City and 2 against West Ham United for Liverpool, and will only look to better his tally, against Tottenham, to win the golden boot.
Tottenham 1 – 2 Liverpool
Suarez’s excellent form coupled with the creativity of Coutinho will give Liverpool an edge over Tottenham as they are likely run circles around the likes of Michael Dawson and Kyle Walker. Spurs will likely pull one back with a sensational strike from Paulinho or Defoe. We can expect a game where possession is dominated by Tottenham. Liverpool, though, may also exert a degree of control in midfield, given the likely presence of Joe Allen in a pivotal role. However, Liverpool’s ability on the counter should win the game.
Blast from the Past
Have a look at the highlights from the previous meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in March 2013, that ended 3-2 in favour of Liverpool.