Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Preview: Stern test at White Hart Lane awaits the Reds
White Hart Lane
Kick-off: 28-11-2012 19:45 GMT (29-11-2012 01:15 IST) , ESPN (India)
Spurs host Liverpool in a crucial game of the full round of midweek fixtures taking place in the Premier League. Liverpool will be looking to add to their eight match unbeaten streak in the league which started in September with a 5-2 thumping of the Canaries. Tottenham will aim to build on their impressive weekend win over West Ham that helped them arrest the slide which saw them lose their 3 previous Premier League encounters versus Arsenal, Man City and Wigan.
Tottenham - Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Dembele, Lennon, Dempsey, Bale, Defoe
Liverpool - Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Sterling, Sahin, Allen, Gerrard, Enrique, Suarez
Referee: Phil Dowd
Team News and Injury Concerns
Having started the last 3 matches, France international Hugo Lloris looks to have gained the confidence of Andre Vilas Boas and is set to be in the starting line-up once again. William Gallas could be in line for a start in place of Michael Dawson – who was in the side versus West Ham. Jan Vertonghen – the versatile Belgian who was bought in the summer – would continue to fill in for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back. Sandro, who was stretchered off in the match vs West Ham after taking a blow to the stomach, looks to be a doubtful starter. However, there is good news for the Spurs fans as Moussa Dembele, who played as a 79th minute substitute in the last match, could start in midfield. Scott Parker is close to his return to first team action after resuming light training following the Achilles injury which kept him sidelined for so long. But he would also be unavailable for this fixture. Jermaine Defoe will lead the line in the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor – who will serve the second of his three match ban for a straight red card after a studs-up tackle on Santi Cazorla in the north London derby.
Liverpool are in a similar predicament as they have only one fit senior striker available for selection as Fabio Borini is out with a long term foot injury. The other long time absentee for Liverpool is Martin Kelly (knee). Andre Wisdom is in line for a starting berth after he sat out the weekend fixture with a knock on the knee. If he starts in his customary position at right back, Glen Johnson will revert to the left back position with Jose Enrique stating further forward. Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson who were subbed off after unimpressive displays against Swansea will drop to the bench in favour of Wisdom and Nuri Sahin.
Recent Meetings and Head-to-Head
Premier League 18 Sep 2011 Tottenham Hotspur 4 – 0 Liverpool
Premier League 15 May 2011 Liverpool 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool and Tottenham have contested 138 matches in the league since 1909 and Liverpool have won 63, drawn 35 and lost 40 of those fixtures. However, the elevation of Spurs to top-four contenders happened simultaneously with Liverpool slipping down the ladder. The last six encounters between the sides ended with Spurs victorious on all but one occasion and they won 4 of those. Liverpool have lost in all their last four meetings at White Hart Lane. Liverpool’s last trip ended in a 4-0 humiliation, Adebayor scoring a brace with Modric and Defoe also on the scoresheet. Liverpool played the last half hour with nine men on the pitch after Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel were sent off. The last time the two teams squared off was in a pre-season friendly match in Baltimore, USA where they played out a drab goal-less draw.
League Position and Form
Spurs are currently 7th in the Premier League table with 20 points – 6 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses. A favourable result for the Lilywhites could potentially see them break into the top five and close the gap to fourth place Chelsea – the final UEFA Champions League spot. In their last match they overcame West Ham 3-1 at White Hart Lane with Jermaine Defoe in scintillating form scoring a brace.
FORM – W L L L W
Liverpool will be eyeing a spot in the top half of the table. They sit 11th having gathered 16 points from 13 games with 3 wins, 7 draws and 3 losses. Their last match at the Liberty Stadium this weekend ended in a dull 0-0 draw versus Swansea.
FORM – D W D D D
Jermaine Defoe (Striker, Tottenham Hotspur): The diminutive England international hit the headlines with a two goal haul versus West Ham which handed his team their first victory in 5 matches. He has scored 10 and assisted 4 goals in the League so far and is the focal point of all Spurs attacks. He will certainly be looking to add to his tally.
Luis Suarez (Striker, Liverpool): Liverpool’s dependence on the Uruguay international for goals cannot be stressed sufficiently enough. This is illustrated by the fact that he has played a part in 12 of the 17 goals Liverpool have scored in the league, with 10 goals and 2 assists. A deadline day goof-up by the management saw Liverpool left with only two recognised first team strikers. This number reduced further as Fabio Borini, brought in during the summer was sidelined by an injury. However Suarez has handled the responsibility of goalscoring admirably and is the top scorer in the league. He certainly needs his teammates stepping up their game if Liverpool are to harbour any top-four aspirations this season.
Jamie Carragher has scored three own goals in this fixture – the same as the total number of Premier League goals for Liverpool in his career (469 PL games).
Tottenham have managed to keep just one clean sheet in the league so far and have shipped in 22 goals in 13 matches– a worrying statistic for a team harbouring top four ambitions.
Liverpool’s unbeaten streak is only second to that of Manchester City – who are unbeaten in the league so far.
The 4-0 thrashing that Liverpool suffered in this fixture last season is their worst League defeat since spring 2003 when they were soundly beaten at Old Trafford by an identical margin.