Liverpool will continue their surge towards the title, with Champions League football all but secured, this weekend against Tottenham. Although many consider that Tottenham have little chance of finishing in the top four, Arsenal’s slight blip in form and tough fixtures over the next few weeks means that Spurs could still qualify for the Champions League. The away side will need to be near perfect to overtake both Everton and Arsenal, therefore they can’t afford to drop points at Anfield on Sunday. They may go into the match with a slight advantage in terms of fitness as Liverpool had to play in midweek against Sunderland, but the home side will be confident given their exceptional form of late.
The home side have been brilliant in 2014, as they are yet to lose in the Premier League. Their last loss came at the end of December against Chelsea. Brendan Rodgers has got his side playing great football and they are in a great position to challenge for the title, with rivals Chelsea and Manchester City yet to go to Anfield. Liverpool have scored 14 goals this month, highlighting the threat they carry in the final third. The main problem they have is their defence as they are always likely to concede goals, especially against the lesser lights of the Premier League as was seen last weekend when they conceded 3 against Cardiff.
After a brilliant start to his reign, Tim Sherwood has gone through a spell of poor results, which has made some Tottenham fans question his position, but their comeback from 2-0 down against Southampton to win the game will give the side a boost. The main concern is whether they have the quality to compete with the top sides. They have scored the least and conceded the most out of the top seven sides, which shows that Spurs have to improve at both ends of the pitch. Tottenham’s start under Andre Villas-Boas has cost the side’s Champions League hopes, but Sherwood has done a good job up until now, he needs a strong finish to consolidate his own position.
Tottenham will be hoping that they do a lot better than they did when the two sides met earlier in the season. Liverpool humiliated them at White Hart Lane winning the match 5-0, this game ultimately cost Villas-Boas his job. Luis Suarez scored twice, while Jordan Henderson, John Flanagan and Raheem Sterling also got on the score-sheet. In the corresponding fixture last season, Liverpool won 3-2, with Suarez, Stewart Downing and Steven Gerrard scoring the goals. Jan Vertonghen got a brace for Tottenham that day.
Liverpool have won their last seven league games, showing that they are building momentum at the right time, only Manchester City have had a longer winning streak in the league season with eight.
The match against Southampton was the first time that Tottenham had come back from two goals down since their 3-2 win against Arsenal in November 2010.
The Uruguayan has developed into a world class player since he joined Liverpool and next season he will finally be playing Champions League football again. He needs six more goals to equal Andy Cole’s and Alan Shearer’s record of 34 goals in a single Premier League season, albeit these were recorded in a 42 game season. If Suarez does draw level or beat this record, it won’t only be incredible as he did it in a 38 game season, but he also missed the first 7 matches of the campaign, therefore it would be an exceptional achievement. At the moment, he has 28 goals, while the forward also contributes creatively having made 11 assists, which is more than anybody else in the league. The Uruguayan is the best player in the league at the moment and that is highlighted by him leading both the goals and assists charts. He showed his quality during the first match against Spurs, scoring twice and generally causing havoc for the Tottenham side. The Uruguayan will be hoping for a similar performance this weekend as he continues his search for individual records, while leading Liverpool’s surge for the title.
Last weekend, Christian Eriksen was excellent as he led Tottenham’s comeback from two goals down against Southampton, as he scored twice and assisted the winner for Gylfi Sigurdsson. He is one of the most creative players in the league, creating a chance every 34 minutes, gaining four assists in the process. The Dane has also netted five times in his debut Premier League season. It’s clear that the midfielder has a lot more to give to the Premier League and he could become a world class player over the next few years if he is given a key role in Tottenham’s side. Liverpool have been leaking goals recently, therefore Eriksen could have a real influence on Sunday as he certainly has the ability to unlock the Reds’ back four. The match is likely to be an open affair, which should give Eriksen plenty of time and space on the ball. The Dane is a very dangerous player when he has space in the final third, due to his ability to play passes that are above most midfield players.
Liverpool enter the final run of Premier League games with only one player injured and that is long term absentee Jose Enrique. This could give them a little bit of an advantage in the title race as both Chelsea and Manchester City have players missing from their squads at the moment through injury. Also the ability to field a more of less unchanged side is rare this late in the season, but Liverpool are reaping the benefits of not playing European football this campaign.
Vlad Chiriches has returned to training, so he will be available this weekend. Kyle Walker is very doubtful to make a return this weekend, therefore Kyle Naughton is expected to continue his run in the first team. Emmanuel Adebayor is also a doubt to make a return for this weekend’s fixture as the forward faces a late fitness test. Sherwood will be keen for him to return as Roberto Soldado continues his poor run in front of goal. Etienne Capoue and Erik Lamela remain on the treatment table.
This should be a great contest with goals at both ends. These two sides both try and play attacking football, albeit utilising different methods. Liverpool have been unstoppable at home this season, but the lack of expectation on Tottenham could prove beneficial to them. I expect Liverpool to win this weekend, but it won’t be easy. Their style of play and quality in the final third will prove too much for Tottenham. It won’t be a repeat of the mauling at White Hart Lane.