The similarities between Spurs and Liverpool as we head into Wednesday night’s game at White Hart Lane are obvious so I won’t mention both side’s new young managers, the mixed early season results, the lack of forward options in both squads or the common Europa League troubles/distractions.
Given this jedwardness we should certainly be set for a closer encounter than last year when we didn’t even have a similar number of players on the field for most of the game. Adam and Skrtel’s suicidal lunges helped ease our way to victory but whilst both teams were at full strength we’d already taken the lead through arguably Luka Modric’s most spectacular goal in a Spurs shirt, not that there’s a Greaves-like catalogue to choose from.
Brendan Rodgers philosophy of press and pass pass pass and if that doesn’t work try press press and pass pass pass pass instead wowed the media when he was at Swansea and obviously those in charge at Anfield too. Personally I’m all for a bit of possession football but it drives me spare to watch all the backwards and sideways movement involved in this style of play if it doesn’t finish with an attempt to create space or get a one on one near goal. An additional irritation is that the pressing is invariably accompanied with cynical fouling when the uppermost line of terriers is breached and half the team are suddenly out of position.
Sunday’s win over the Hamsters was achieved with much confidence boosting panache, Liverpool are a different beast entirely though from the West Ham throwbacks. Keeping the ball when we’ve got it (and doing something with it of course) will be key and we’ll need to up our game from the last time we were presented with a similar challenge, against Wigan.
Graham Roberts was on Talksport saying that after a chat with Villas-Boas he believes that Dembele is ready to start which is great news for us, probably not so good for Big Tom. Other than that, the only changes from Sunday may be at centre-half and left-back as AVB assesses the potential threat of Suarez and Sterling (who I presume is on the right if Enrique is on the left) respectively. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gallas back in spite of his culpability for several goals this season and Dawson’s fine display on Sunday.
Liverpool have won just 1 of their last 9 games, they’ve lost only 2 of the remainder though so clearly aren’t afraid of leaving a whiff of disappointment and mediocrity behind them. It’s not news that they’re heavily dependant on Suarez; at least in Bale and Defoe we can say we that our reliance is a little more evenly spread. Having said that, Lennon should fancy himself against Downing.
As usual it’s important that we start with a good tempo and take our chances when they come. Do that and we’ll have done ourselves a power of good in the race to catch West Brom.
Fatty Dowd is the ref. COYS.
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