|DATE||Sunday 10th March 2013|
With a good run in motion and with Gareth Bale looking good when he is in motion on the run, things are looking rosy for Tottenham, but in the Liverpool Reds, they meet a team who have hit a little run of form too and will be looking to maintain the momentum they have gathered.
What may hamper Spurs is the potential loss of Aaron Lennon, who has produced some of his best form lately, but leaving the pitch against Internazionale on Thursday with a hamstring strain, he is doubtful for this match and maybe the return in Milan. Spurs may draft in Lewis Holtby in his place, which will provide a different challenge for the Liverpool defence, as the German international is a touch player ... and an Evertonian to boot !!
There has been a mini-revival at Anfield since Lucas returned to the Reds midfield, as his tenacity in trying to be a ball winner has freed Steven Gerrard to play his more natural attacking game. It has also helped Stewart Downing to be more involved and l with Philipe Coutinho coming in from Inter in January, his passing has produced a more expansive style to the ball retention that Brendan Rodgers has tried to instil in his players. Many games had seen them have huge possession stats, but with little end product.
And while Luis Suarez is scoring freely and trying to turn around his image (a tough job for some one like Max Clifford, let alone a footballer), there are few people chipping in with goals for the Reds. Twenty goals behind the Uruguayan is Gerrard. If Bale makes Spurs a one-man team, then what about Suarez ? There is much to say that if both players are marked out of the game, it could end 0-0.
But apart from Shelvey adding a few in cup games and against weakened teams and Downing starting to score a couple here and there, there are few options of "next scorer" at Anfield. Agger and Skrtel might be handy from set-pieces, but other than the odd bolt out of the blue from Glen Johnson, you would be hard pushed to win money on that bet.
Raheem Sterling has done well after coming into the side, showing good skill, but not always the best awareness of other team-mates, while Franco Borini has got a dislocated shoulder injury that will see him miss the remainder of the season. Daniel Sturridge has formed a good partnership with Suarez since his move from Chelsea in January, so his return to the team will be welcomed, as there is not another experienced forward in the squad. Strong on the ball and showing good movement off it, Sturridge had been a target for AVB when he was about to leave Chelsea, as he knew him well from his time at Stamford Bridge.
With the midfield consisting of Lucas, Gerrard and Downing, that only leaves one slot for Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Coutinho and Shelvey to battle for. Countinho should win the place just on the basis that they paid a fair amount of money for him and his passing can open up opportunities for Suarez. Allen hasn't been quite as impressive at Liverpool as he had been at Swansea and Henderson is still trying to live up to the big price tag Liverpool paid for him.
In goal, Pepe Reina has had his wobbly moments this season (the mad rush off his line against City at the Etihad), but with Rodgers still not sure about Brad Jones, the Spaniard still gets the gloves and Spurs could do well to test his nerve with some stinging shots. Never a great one to hold onto the ball, any rebound might be snapped up by Defoe or Sigurdsson, now both could feature in the side. The player sin front of him have been a bit hit and miss this season too. Skrtel, Agger, Carragher and Coates have all been tried at centre-half and the first two have been the favoured partnership until recently, when Carragher has made a comeback in Skrtel's absence. Without a regular partnership and without confidence through the middle, the defence has looked a little shaky sometimes. With Martin Kelly out until later this month, his height and strength have been missed, but first choice right back, Glen Johnson always looks better going forward than he does going backwards. With Jose Enrique on the other flank offering the same mix of attacking verve and absenteeism when moves break down, Bale and Sigurdsson might capitalise on the space they can find there.
A win would keep Tottenham right up there and put some distance between them and the chasing pack, but Liverpool will be using this as a yardstick to see how they are doing and will be pulling out all the stops. Free-scoring at home against the weakened and weaker sides they have faced lately, it will be an interesting contest for both sides and I think for that reason, they might have to both settle for a point each
|PREDICTION||Liverpool 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
Martin Skrtel and Daniel Sturridge return, with the defender more likely to start on the bench, but Franco Borini's shoulder injury is set to sideline him for the rest of the season and Martin Kelly's knee injury will not be ready for him to return against Spurs.
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Sandro (knee), Younes Kaboul (knee) and Tom Huddlestone (knee) are all out injured, while Clint Dempsey's calf strain is taking longer than anticipated to heal. Aaron Lennon's hamstring pull on Thursday makes him an unlikely starter, but with Bale suspended for the second leg in Italy, he will be given free rein to put in 100% at Anfield. Emmanuel Adebayor might be fit after being carried off against Arsenal last week.
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Liverpool 3 (1)
Sunday 10th March 2013
Venue : Anfield
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 16:00
Gerrard (p) 82
Carragher (foul on Bale) 83
Vertonghen (handball) 53
|Crowd : 44,752||Weather : Dry, chilly|
|Referee : Michael Oliver (Nortumberland)||Assistant Referees : M. McDonough; J. Brooks|
|Fourth Official : Neil Swarbrick||-|
|Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Kop end in the first half.|
|Liverpool :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Phillippe COUNTINHO (24
Joe ALLEN 59)
18 Jermain DEFOE
|Manager : Brendan Rodgers||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Standard Chartered||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : Warrior||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Is Scouseland becoming the new North-East for Spurs ? This time last year (to the day), Tottenham were losing 0-1 at Goodison Park and it was there earlier in this season that we lost out 1-2 to two late, late goals. Going down 2-3 at Anfield to an average Liverpool side was a shock, after coming back from 0-1 down and then gifting two goals to the Reds like charity hand-outs.
After such a long unbeaten run - since that loss at Everton - it had to end somewhere, but for a long time, it did not seem likely here until a penalty given to the home side at Anfield (well, hearing that takes me back a bit) gave the Reds the victory that their performance didn't really deserve.
Spurs had a scare in the
warm-up when William Gallas got an injury and had to pull out,
allowing teenage striker Shaquile Coulthirst to take the Frenchman's
place on the bench. Apart from that, the return to the side of
Lloris and Michael Dawson after dropping to the bench against Inter
Milan was expected, while Jake Livemore came in for the hamstrung
Aaron Lennon, dropping in alongside Parker, while Dembele played in
the forward midfield three. The move of Mousa further forward
didn't seem to work too well early on, as he found himself stuck
tight to the right hand touchline and when he drifted infield, he
invariably ran into a mass of red shirts. Early on, both Benny
and then Parker were both robbed of the ball leading to Sturridge
being put away. Firstly he shot hopefully and wildly from a narrow
angle on the right, then was pushed wide by Lloris' rush to the edge
of the box for the second.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Queens Park Rangers||3||Sunderland||1||Saturday|
|Swansea City||1||West Bromwich Albion||2||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||2||Stoke City||1||Sunday|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||29||13||4||12||40||38||43||+2|
|12||West Ham United||28||9||6||13||32||41||33||-9|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||29||4||11||14||24||45||23||-21|
Position before match :
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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