Liverpool - Tottenham Preview: Spurs aim to continue three-game winning streak against Kenny Dalglish's side
The Reds have not beaten Monday's opponents since January 2010 and now look to overturn that form against the team 11 points above them in the Premier League standings
By George Ankers
Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Gerrard, Spearing, Adam
Suarez, Carroll, Bellamy
Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto
Krancjar, Parker, Modric, Livermore, Bale
Liverpool are likely to welcome back two talismanic figures after Kenny Dalglish confirmed that captain Steven Gerrard will be in the squad to face Harry Redknapp's men, having missed the 3-0 drubbing of Wolves last time out. Forward Luis Suarez is also in line to return for the Reds having now served his nine-game suspension (eight of which were for using racist language toward Manchester United's Patrice Evra, the other for an obscene hand gesture to Fulham fans).
This should see Jordan Henderson drop out of the midfield while Jay Spearing continues to deputise for Lucas, who is out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, while the Uruguayan striker takes the place of Dirk Kuyt up front, despite the Dutchman scoring at Molineux.
Rafael van der Vaart is a doubt for Tottenham after being forced off the pitch with a calf injury after half an hour of their deadline-day win over Wigan, with Jake Livermore a potential replacement to shore up the midfield in his absence. The Dutchman's participation is touch-and-go with Kyle Walker (groin) and Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) also being monitored. Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) are both considered unlikely to be fit.
Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen, both signed at the end of the final day of the January transfer window, are available for selection and could make debuts at Anfield.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Liverpool have drawn seven of their 11 home league games so far this season though they remain unbeaten at Anfield.
- Tottenham have won six out of 11 on the road in the Premier League.
- Spurs have won the last three encounters between the two sides, with the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane in September of this season finishing 4-0 in their favour.
- Kenny Dalglish's side average 56 per cent possession in the league so far in 2011-12.
- New Spurs signing Louis Saha (pictured right) could make his debut on Monday against the Reds - fierce rivals of his old club, Everton.
- So far, 37% of Liverpool's total shots on target in the league have come from outside the penalty area, while Spurs are in fact most accurate from range, with 53% of their on-target efforts from further distances.
- Tottenham currently top the Premier League's Fair Play standings, having picked up a division-low 25 yellow cards and one red - Liverpool are joint-sixth on 33 and three, respectively.
- Craig Bellamy's goal against Wolves on January 31 saw him overtake Luis Suarez as the Reds' top goalscorer for the season with nine strikes in all competitions compared to the Uruguayan's eight.
- Spurs have seen 31% of the league goals they've conceded scored between the 60th and 70th minutes of matches.
- Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel made 31 appearances for Liverpool between 1997 and 2000.
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Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham
- 15.55 %
Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
- 14.1 %
Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham
- 10.22 %
|Premier League (EPL)||10 Mar 2013||Liverpool 3 - Tottenham 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Nov 2012||Tottenham 2 - Liverpool 1|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||28 Jul 2012||Liverpool 0 - Tottenham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 Feb 2012||Liverpool 0 - Tottenham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Sep 2011||Tottenham 4 - Liverpool 0|
|4 Dec 2013||Liverpool 5 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Hull City 3 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|9 Nov 2013||Liverpool 4 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|2 Nov 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Liverpool 0||EPL|
If the Reds are to maintain their unbeaten home record then they will need to nullify the well-publicised threat of Gareth Bale on the left wing, which means that plenty of defensive responsibility will fall on Johnson's shoulders. The England man has always been more proficient in his attacking duties but may need to rein in his natural instincts to contain the Wales dynamo. The home side need a big performance from their right-back.
The evidence so far this season suggests that visiting teams to Anfield have not had too much trouble in nullifying the home attack, but prising open the stable defensive pairing of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger is proving difficult. The two will have few sterner tests this season than Adebayor, if the Togolese overcomes a hamstring complaint to start the game. The loanee from Manchester City has nine goals in the Premier League so far this season but arguably more crucial is his ability to boss the back line and create space for the Spurs midfield to exploit.
Spurs have plenty of quality in the final third but Liverpool's defensive solidity at Anfield has been pronounced. The hosts are sure to welcome back Luis Suarez, a figure around whom the team are likely to rally, playing alongside the in-form Craig Bellamy and recently-improved Andy Carroll. Tottenham have one too many first-choice players carrying niggling injury doubts going into the game and could well come unstuck.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed