Liverpool will face Tottenham this Sunday in an already crucial game for fourth place. The Reds, second and five points behind league leaders Arsenal, will have the difficult task of winning at White Hart Lane with their captain Steven Gerrard injured. For Spurs, a win will bring them back into the top four.
When they step on the White Hart Lane pitch on Sunday, the Reds could be eight points behind the Gunners, should Arsene Wenger‘s team beat Manchester City on Saturday. Tottenham, in sixth place with 27 points (just three behind Liverpool), would equal the Reds’ number of points with a win on Sunday, but will most likely remain behind Brendan Rodgers‘ men due to Liverpool’s superior goal difference (+16 against -1 for Tottenham).
Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas got left back Danny Rose and midfielder Christian Eriksen back from injury, but will assess them before deciding whether or not they should start. The Portuguese manager also has to deal with many injuries in central defense. Jan Vertonghen is still unavailable for selection due to an ankle injury, while Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul are doubtful. If they don’t pass the fitness test, midfielder Etienne Capoue will partner captain Michael Dawson in central defense.
In midfield, Moussa Dembele will most likely be partnered by Paulinho with Aaron Lennon (right) and Nacer Chadli (left) on the wings. Lewis Holtby will be handed the start if Eriksen doesn’t recover on time. Preferred to Roberto Soldado in the last two games, Jermaine Defoe should get another start.
After Daniel Sturridge, out for two months, it’s Gerrard that has been ruled out for six weeks due to an hamstring injury. To replace his captain, Rodgers has a choice between bringing Jordan Henderson, right midfielder since the start of the season, back in central midfield, or picking Welshman Joe Allen to partner Lucas Leiva. Simon Mignolet will be between the sticks, but Rodgers will have to choose two players between Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel in central defense. Glen Johnson will remain as a right back, and the youngster John Flanagan should be on the left.
If Henderson deputizes for Gerrard, Victor Moses will be Liverpool’s right midfielder while Raheem Sterling will be on the left. Phillipe Coutinho will, as usual, be in support of lone striker Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan is the best striker in the Premier League at the moment and has scored 15 goals in just 10 games this season; he has scored as many goals as the entire Tottenham squad.
Prediction: Tottenham-2, Liverpool-0
Liverpool has had an excellent start of the season and is doing better than expected, but without Sturridge and Gerrard on Sunday, the Reds will have a very difficult day at White Hart Lane. Tottenham has won their last two games at Fulham and Sunderland, and will dominate the midfield in the absence of Gerrard and make it difficult for Liverpool to get the ball to Suarez.