Following our highly successful Europa league group stage qualification with eight wins out of eight, (a record for us in any European campaign) we have some good news tempered by some bad.
First some good news – Soldado can score from open play and his lack of playing time and goalscoring has not diminished his ability or confidence when presented with a penalty.
The bad news from last night is that we are still susceptible at the back – their goal should have been cleared by one of our centre backs and here there is more bad news. With Dawson the only fully fit centre back, and him not being risked, using a midfielder and a left back as cover is never going to work.
On that front however there is now some good news, as Chiriches was apparently considered fit enough to play but the risk to aggravating the injury was too great for him to even be on the bench. The bad news is that both Vertonghen and Kaboul are likely to be out until the New Year.
Good news on the injury front has however come in the form of Rose returning at long last and although he only played 45 minutes he came off as a precaution and not due to any recurrence. Whether he will be fit for Liverpool remains to be seen. Eriksen also returned for 15 minutes but Sunday is maybe too soon for a starting berth.
More good news on injuries comes not from White Hart Lane but from Anfield where both Gerrard and Sturridge are definitely out for the next few weeks. Suarez has been in fine goalscoring form this season but most of his chances have come from the supply route of that missing pair. Also, most of his goals have been at Anfield and Liverpool have struggled on their travels – indeed they lost at Hull in their last away game.
With Liverpool already out of Europe (they were never in it were they) they will have rested this week while we had the game last night and it did come as a surprise to see Dembele and Holtby on the pitch at the start as both can expect to be in contention to play on Sunday. Apart from Rose, however, it is highly unlikely that anyone else from last night´s starting line up will be.
Lloris will return as will Walker, Dawson and Chiriches. Sandro and Paulinho will operate from central midfield while Lennon, Chadli and Defoe will form the attacking force. Which leaves just left back and one central midfield position to cover from those that played last night, not too bad a situation to be in.
But with more important games on the immediate horizon, including a Capital One Cup Quarter final encounter with WetSpam, the need to constantly rotate and rest will be paramount in everyone´s minds.
Three Premiership games during Christmas week and – let us not forget – if we overcome WetSpam, the first leg of the semifinals are in early January immediately after we travel to ManUre in the League and Le Arse in the FACup. The fixture list does not come much harder.
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