Tottenham vs Liverpool Preview Tottenham vs Liverpool Preview

  • Its back. After 82 days of no Premiership activity, the days instead filled with talking about transfer rumours and our pointle s friendly endeavours, Tottenham Hotspur will once again contest a Premier League match on the 16th of August. We kick off our season with a home clash against Liverpool, a team who are once again sure to be in the thick of the title race (until March at least).Despite beating Manchester United, Liverpool mi sed out on the title last yearAs season openers go, hosting Liverpool is probably one of the hardest po sible fixtures. The Reds really do look like they could mount a serious title challenge last year, and will probably contest Manchester United and Chelsea for first place. Last season was one of their best seasons in ages, and even though they ran out of steam near the end, Liverpool confirmed their status as one of the top three teams in England.Its crucial to get off to a good start, and an early three points can propel any team to a good early season run. Many will expect a Liverpool victory, though influential captain Steven Gerrard faces a late fitne s test. Many have commented on Liverpools good title chances this season, but afters selling Xabi Alonso, injuries to Gerrard and other key players like Fernando Torres could hijack Rafa Benitezs title plans. Despite beating Liverpool twice last year few foresee Tottenham victory; in fact, few foresee Tottenham succe s in general this year. The rapid rise of Aston Villa, the consistency of Everton and the millions of Manchester City have pushed Tottenham down in the mini-league of top four contenders, and many Spurs fans feel we have mi sed the boat on Champions League qualification. Its a sad thought and Harry Redknapp vehemently denies this. This game will give Arry an excellent chance to silent these doubters and give fans hope of a top four finish.Its unlikely well be getting any of this anytime soonFor a club with aspirations of Premiership and Champions League succe s, any defeat is costly to Liverpool. Its hard to see them going for anything other than the three points and with players like Gerrard, Torres and Mascherano, Liverpool will go into nearly all of their 38 fixtures as favourites. I doubt Tottenham will play as offensively as the opposition, Redknapp showed last season that hes not adverse to playing for 0-0 draws and hitting teams on the counter, and that tactic could come into play here. Its also worth taking note of our fantastic record against the big four. The players seem to rise when playing against higher opposition and, in the English League, they dont come much higher than Liverpool. Team NewsTottenham go into the match with a few injuries to contend with. Jermaine , a blow to the centre of our midfield, whilst long term absentee Gareth Bale is also out. Much has been made of our centreldefensive injury woes, withboth Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate mi sing Sundays game. However Dawson is expected to be back soon and Woodgate is reportedly recovering well following his operation.JJs injury is a blowOn a more positive note, Ledley King could feature if he pa ses a late fitne s test. New signing Sebastien Ba song could also feature for Spurs, despite being sent off for Newcastle in the last game of last season and receiving a two game ban. Levy says the ban only applied to Ba song whilst he was at Newcastle so the defender will make his debut against Liverpool after all. Lets just hope Levys got the rules right and the club dont end up with a hefty fine.Tottenhams other big summer signing, Peter Crouch, could make his first Tottenham start playing alongside Jermain Defoe. However it would be interesting to see him start alongside Robbie Keane, as both forwards played for Liverpool not that long ago. Whatever partnership Arry decides on however looks bleak for Roman Pavlyuchenko, who is unlikely to start despite scoring mid-week for Ru sia against Argentina.Lets hope Robbie humbles RafaAt the other end of the pitch, Liverpool are facing some injury problems of their own. Both Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurellio are out, as is new boy Alberto Aquilani. Martin Skrtel faces a late fitne s test, as do Liverpool legends Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard. It would be a big blow to the Reds if the latter two failed to pa s late tests, and the outcome of these examinations will have a big impact on the game.Aside from these worries, Liverpool have a strong, fit squad with Fernando Torres set to start. Lets hope Ba song and King are on top form.Liverpool fans will be praying Carragher pa ses a late fitne s testKey Battles#1. Peter Crouch v. Jamie CarragherProviding he pa ses a late fitne s test, this battle will be crucial to both teams chances of succe s. Crouchies height gives many teams a problem and the forward should give us a new threat from set-plays. However hell have a tough game against Carragher, one of the most well-respected defenders in the country. Carragher will have to be on his game to nullify the Crouch threat, but should be able to get the better of his ex-teammate.Carragher will hope to have Crouch under control#2. Ledley King v. Fernando TorresOur kingpin against theirs. He might be a frail, injury-prone, knee shaking me s but theres no doubt: when Ledley King has a good game Tottenham have a good game. King has proven himself to be a great defender, but opponents dont come much harder than Fernando Torres. The Spaniard will be eager to start his campaign with a goal or two (or three or four); King has a tough game ahead.Expect King to be in the thick of the action#3. Sergeant Wilson Palacios v. Steven Gerrard.Again, this all depends on a late fitne s test. But if Gerrard does prove himself to be fit, this battle will be a fascinating one. Gerrard is Liverpools best player and the Reds need him to run the show from midfield, pulling the strings and feeding Fernando Torres. But hell have a tough game against Sarge, who became a rapid fans favourite last term thanks to his powerhouse displays and never-say-die attitude.A good Palacios performance is vital #4 Harry Redknapp v Rafa BenitezAs I mentioned earlier, Benitez will want three points and three points only. Champions have to beat every one going, and Benitez probably wont be content with a point against a mid-table team (yes it pains me to say it but thats what we are). Redknapp would happily take a point against any top-four club so expect a tight Tottenham performance with us only attacking on the counter.Lets hope, come Sunday, Benitez looks like this after 90 minutesPast Meetings24/05/09 Liverpool3-1 Tottenham (Premier League)12/11/08 Tottenham 4-2 Liverpool (League Cup)01/11/08 Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League)11/05/08 Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool (Premi

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