Eyes will largely be cast upon two players at Anfield on Sunday, as Liverpool take on the in-form Tottenham Hotspur in a mouth-watering Premier League clash. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale have set the league alight this season with some sensational individual performances for their respective club sides, as the anticipation builds to see who will grab this game by the scruff of the neck.
Liverpool have only lost one of their last six matches in the Premier League and on the surface they appear to be fully prepared for the challenge that awaits them from a Tottenham team, that seems to be improving with every game. Brendan Rodgers saw his team dispatch of Swansea City and Wigan Athletic with consummate ease in their last two league matches and are within touching distance of their Merseyside rivals, Everton.
The home side have the Premier League’s current top goalscorer (21) in Luis Suarez and he is coming into this game on the back of a hat-trick in Liverpool’s last league game, against Wigan. It is not just the quantity of goals Suarez has bagged for his side that have been important; his tally has contributed 40% of all goals scored for ‘The Reds’. The Uruguayan has been pivotal for Liverpool in front of goal and the club’s supporters will be hoping he shows up once again in another key game.
Although a Champions League spot looks like a fairly unrealistic dream for Liverpool; Tottenham head into this game with a strong case to partake in Europe’s elite competition next season. Tottenham will be determined to stretch their impressive four-match winning run in the Premier League with a professional display at Anfield. The North London club have not been beaten in the league since the middle of December and their tails are up after a classy performance in mid-week against Inter Milan in the Europa League.
Gareth Bale has been in scintillating form as he has scored 10 times in his last eight appearances in all competitions for Spurs. Tottenham’s talisman and his teammates will be eager to put the pressure on Manchester City, who sit above them in 2nd position.
Martin Skrtel is available for selection after picking up a knee injury but it is anticipated that the defender will start on the bench whilst Daniel Sturridge has recovered from a problem with his thigh. Sturridge is expected to be placed straight back into the starting XI, having missed the 4-0 win over Wigan. Joe Allen could be the man to make way for the young striker.
Tottenham are set to be without Aaron Lennon who had to be withdrawn from the Europa League tie against Inter Milan citing a hamstring injury. Tom Huddlestone (knee) and Clint Dempsey (calf) are also doubts heading into this game. Solace for Tottenham supporters comes with the news that both Emmanuel Adebayor and Mousa Dembele should be passed fit and will travel to Anfield.
- Spurs have only won one of their last 18 visits to Anfield in the Premier League.
- Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight home league games.
- Luis Suarez became only the third Liverpool player to score at least 20 goals in the Premier League; Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres being the other two.
- Spurs are unbeaten in 12 league games, their longest run without defeat since a 14-match streak between November 1984 and March 1985.
- If Gareth Bale scores against Liverpool, he will become the first Tottenham player to have scored in six consecutive Premier League matches.
Luis Suarez Vs Gareth Bale
Both players are regarded as roaming attack minded players but what is striking when comparing their creativity statistics is that they are very different. For example, Bale is thought of as a player who likes to take men on but he has attempted less than half of the number of dribbles that Suarez has. That being said, the Welshman has been more successful when trying his hand at dribbling round a man as the statistics highlight his better completion rate.
Bale, as a product of having to play wide at times this season (and throughout his career) has crossed the ball a lot more than Suarez. This is striking given how Suarez tends to drift to the flanks but as these numbers could show, the Liverpool man tends to cut inside and attack the defence and not attempting to bypass it with a cross. Expect this game to follow a similar pattern with Suarez looking to take on the Spurs central defensive pairing, with Bale looking to roam across the span of the pitch but will happily whip a ball into their solitary front man if the chance arises.
The shooting statistics are fascinating when comparing Suarez and Bale, given how these two men have been reported as being the best two players in the league this season. With the exception of Bale’s slightly more impressive shooting accuracy percentage, the two men are almost inseparable and that mirrors how the media and fans of the game regard who is better; the consensus seems to be that it is largely split down the middle.
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