Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur – Match Preview
Whisper it quietly but its hard to pick faults with Liverpool right now. Seventh in the table and one of their last six Premier League games has put the Reds in contention for European football come the end of the season. While it would take a minor miracle for them to break into the top four at this stage of the season, fifth is a very realistic proposition. Would that be considered an over achievement for Brendan Rodgers in his first season at Anfield? Very much so but it would be just reward for the stability he’s brought back to the club in his maiden year. Liverpool are positively brimming with confidence as a result and that is in large part down to the scoring feats of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has bagged 21 this term and with a support cast of Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho theres no reason why that tally can’t increase. And that attacking trio could be the key to halting a rampant Tottenham side in their tracks on Sunday.
Spurs have been irresistible in 2013 and can’t seem to put a foot wrong at the moment. They breezed past Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday night and now have their sights firmly set on closing the five point gap on second placed Manchester City. Quite a debut campaign for Andre Villas-Boas. But like opposite number Rodgers his success in North London is underpinned by the enterprises of a singular driving force. How exactly do you contain Gareth Bale in his current mood? His record of 14 goals in as many games has single handedly launches Spurs into the Champions League contention and the battle for headline breathing space with Suarez is not one to miss.
Liverpool have Daniel Sturridge and Martin Skrtel back from injury with the former likely to start after shaking off a thigh problem.
“It [Bale's booking] wasn’t even mentioned today. I know if that had been Luis I would have been sat there answering questions on it for about half an hour. That’s why I defend Luis. If players or people are judging him on his football then he’s been consistently the best player right the way through the season. If they are going to judge him on things outside of football, then they won’t be just judging him and they can’t just judge him, because there have been misdemeanours by other players. But that’s a part of life and football. We hope we are judging him by his qualities on the field and those have been in evidence.” Brendan Rodgers feels the criticism levelled at Luis Suarez is unjust (Guardian)
I think what Tottenham has shown this season contradicts a lot of science, or science fiction. There is a lot of rest time between a Thursday and a Sunday. The intensity of the Premier League is not comparable to the Italian League, but the comparisons in terms of mental stress are bigger. If we achieve Champions League qualification in third or fourth place we’re playing the preliminary rounds, but the money will be different regarding our challenge and the players we can attract, also. That’s the position we want to be in. We are faced with a difficult calendar in front of us.” Andre Villas-Boas protests Spurs have disapproved the ‘science fiction’ that clubs can’t play their strongest team in Europe and the Premier League (Mirror Football)
Pre-Match Statistic: Tottenham have won just once in their last 18 Premier League visits to Anfield – a 2-0 success in May 2011
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur