Liverpool entertain Spurs this Tuesday hoping to make some ground up in the race for the top four. The Reds drew 0-0 with city rivals Everton at the weekend whilst Harry Kane and Spurs put Arsenal to the sword despite going behind early on. That result left Liverpool a further two points behind the London club whilst top four rivals Southampton also won. Those results make this game an even bigger prospect than it already was with a victory absolutely vital to both sides.
Brendan Rodgers has four injuries to contend with before this game with Lucas Leiva the most worrying after he hobbled off at the weekend with a groin strain. Adam Lallana also has a slight groin strain too and the Englishman could miss this clash. Brad Jones and Jon Flanagan are also missing with thigh and knee injuries respectively.
Spurs have no injury concerns ahead of this game which means Mauricio Pochettino has a full strength squad to choose from. The fitness of the squad has been a real factor in the London club’s recent run of wins with Pochettino playing a big role in ensuring his side is the strongest in the league in terms of running power and sheer determination.
The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 home league games against Spurs (W13, D6, L1).
Spurs managed just one shot on target when they hosted Liverpool in the third round of fixtures earlier in the season. That game ended 3-0 to the visitors.
Daniel Sturridge is in-line to make his first start for Liverpool since August and Liverpool supporters are licking their lips at the prospect of having their star striker fully fit once again. Had it not been for the unfortunate injuries to Sturridge at the tail of end of 2014, many believe that Liverpool would be much higher in the table than their current lowly standing of 8th place and it’s really clear to see what Sturridge brings to the team.
Some of Sturridge’s figures are still quite impressive despite being below full match fitness in two of his five league appearances this season. The England international has completed 58.33% of his attempted take-ons, which is a very competitive percentage that many tricky wingers would aspire to. He’s also been a real threat for Liverpool when he has played with his shooting accuracy currently standing at 43%. Not only is Sturridge accurate with the ball he’s also confident and can challenge the ‘keeper from different areas of the pitch – something Liverpool have badly missed this term – and he averages 4.56 shots per 90 minutes played (p90). He also creates chances with the striker averaging 1.37 chances p90.
So, will he start? There are whispers going around that he will be ready to start in this game but as Alan Shearer pointed out on Match of the Day, it can take as many as 10 games to get fully up to speed in the rugged Premier League.
Harry Kane has been in blistering form for Spurs this season with the young man becoming the main man at White Hart Lane in a very short space of time. The future England man now has 22 goals in all competitions this season with 12 of those coming in the league.
Kane’s statistics are fairly similar to Sturridge’s, however, his data sample is much larger than the Liverpool man’s so his figures are perhaps more impressive because they’ve been achieved and maintained over a longer period of game time. So far in this campaign, the Spurs man has completed 52.63% of his attempted take-ons – this despite not being blessed with the natural pace of Sturridge which shows how good he’s been with his feet. Kane’s shot accuracy is mightily impressive at 59% but he creates just one chance p90 compared to Sturridge’s 1.37.
I think it’s fair to say that these players will decide the game on Tuesday night with the better performer on the night surely ensuring his side takes all three points.
Both sides are in very good form going into this one with Spurs beating their local rivals Arsenal last time out. However, I can’t see a difference between the two sides so I’m going for a 0-0. I can’t see either side conceding because of Liverpool’s new found sturdy backline and Spurs’ confidence. Hopefully it’s a better game than the dour Merseyside derby we all had to endure on Saturday night.