Soldado not guaranteed start against Liverpool despite hat-trick, says Villas-Boas

The Spurs boss insists the Spaniard's three-goal display against Anzhi Makhachkala changes nothing, with Jermain Defoe also in contention for a first-team place on Sunday
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas insists Roberto Soldado is not guaranteed to start against Liverpool despite his hat-trick against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League on Thursday.

Soldado's treble – and a second-half goal from Lewis Holtby – led Spurs to a convincing 4-1 win against the Russians at White Hart Lane.

5/1 Roberto Soldado is 5/1 with Bet365 to score first against Liverpool
Villas-Boas, however, says Jermain Defoe may be still be given a starting berth against the Reds on Sunday.

"We have to think about it," he told reporters.

"It's a bit premature. We always wanted to give this game to Roberto after two games in a row for Jermain Defoe.

"Jermain was deserving of his chance as well. Now it's about putting the best possible strategy of the game and seeing what we can do."

The Spurs boss did admit that Soldado's performance will help him regain confidence after a tough period in front of goal.

"What this will help is put the player back with confidence with his final touch, a striker always lives off goals so it's extremely important," he added.

"I don't think he lost confidence but I think as a striker you have to persist in trying to finish off the situations you are given.

"That final touch hasn't been there for him recently, bearing in mind he scored three today this will be a great boost of confidence for him."

Villas-Boas also dismissed reports he was considering sending Argentine attacker Erik Lamela out on loan, saying there was "no chance" of that happening, before expressing his happiness at his performance on Thursday.

"It was still not his best we can see but still a good performance," he continued.

"He had a big chance on the header and this last shot to brighten a little bit more his performance but I was extremely happy with how he played."