Liverpool returned to second in the league as their title challenge continued apace, thanks to an edgy 2-1 victory over Sunderland after goals from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
No discussion around Liverpool’s fortunes this season can be separated from the incredible form of Luis Suarez. The Reds’ new talisman has spearheaded their attack in every sense this campaign and he has the statistics to show for his handiwork. He leads the league for total shots attempted according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 124, racking up an attempt on goal on average once every 18.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
The likes of Raheem Sterling can only have benefited from training and playing alongside a player of Suarez’s quality, something reflected in his own stellar form this season. Indeed, he ranks behind only Suarez for dribbles this term, with 62 to the Uruguayan’s 75.
Under Brendan Rodgers this Liverpool squad appear to have the work to match their flair, a vital attribute in any side who wishes to challenge for a Premier League title. They now have four midfield players who have broken through the 100-barrier for tackles attempted (Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson and Leiva), a sign of the desire and commitment instilled into this team.
Tottenham showed great resilience to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit to eventually come out on top in a fine 3-2 win over Southampton at White Hart Lane last weekend. Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed the winner but it was Christian Eriksen who inspired the hosts to victory, and, Tim Sherwood will be hoping, the start of a renewed push for a top four finish.
Eriksen is a player of wonderful ability and he appears to have found his feet at White Hart Lane is recent weeks, showcasing some of the form which brought him from Ajax with increasing consistency. He now has the best shot accuracy rate of any Tottenham player, working the ‘keeper with 72% of his 25 attempts this season, and no doubt Spurs fans will be looking to him to maintain their push for the top four as the season comes to it’s conclusion.
Emmanuel Adebayor is another who has appeared refreshed under Tim Sherwood, the Togolese striker once again proving he is a handful for any defence on his day. He now has 44 attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) to his name, a total many will be expecting him to add to dramatically in the final few games of the season.
Stopping the flow of possession to Liverpool’s dangerous attacking line at it’s source could be an important factor in Tottenham’s gameplan this weekend, a task that may well fall to Moussa Dembele. He has the defensive ability to back up his attacking instincts though, winning a highly impressive 91.2% of his 68 attempted challenges this season.