1:30pm, live in the US on FSC
Last 4 head-to-head:
2-0 Liverpool (a) 05.11.08
2-2 (h) 10.07.07
1-0 Liverpool (a) 12.30.06
3-0 Liverpool (h) 09.23.06
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 1-0 Pompey (h); 1-0 Chelsea (a); 1-1 Atletico (a)
Spurs: 4-4 Arsenal (a); 2-0 Bolton (h); 0-2 Udinese (a)
Liverpool: Torres 5; Kuyt 3; Gerrard 2; Alonso, Babel, Carragher, Riera 1
Spurs: Bent 5; Jenas 2; Bentley, Lennon, Pavlyuchenko 1
Referee: Phil Dowd
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Riera
This is the match where I expect to see the same lineup that went out against Chelsea. Unless Torres surprisingly starts, my best guess for a change is Dossena instead of Aurelio, as Fabio’s played the last two games. But Aurelio and Arbeloa have been excellent at fullback in both of those matches.
And even if Torres is fit, I imagine he wouldn’t begin beyond than the bench. There seems little chance of him starting after he’s missed the last four matches, but if he’s recovered enough to train, he’s probably recovered enough to see 30 minutes as a sub if needed. With emphasis on the ‘if needed.’
Having been rested on Wednesday, Keane should be the focal point if Liverpool play with a lone striker up top. He was the difference in the 2-2 draw against Spurs last year, with quick goals on either side of halftime, and he’ll be raring to face his former club. I am curious to see the reception he gets at Tottenham; he didn't leave like Sol Campbell left, but with Spurs' start to the season, there might be some resentment.
If anyone’s getting a rest in midfield, it’s probably Alonso, who’s started every game since Crewe. But, again, he’s in superb form, and unless there’s a clear fitness reason, I have to imagine he will here as well.
Spurs, both the fans and players, will assuredly be up for it after the 4-4 draw on Wednesday (yes, it was a great game, but is a DVD release really necessary?). Redknapp’s restored a lot of belief, and – no offense to Ramos – will get a lot more out of the players in the squad. He’s gone in there and raised the confidence, which is the same thing he did on his return to Portsmouth to keep them from relegation, and it’ll make an enormous difference.
Evidenced by the four goals given up, Tottenham’s defense can be error-prone, with Gomes often looking incredibly sketchy in goal. However, I’ve seen rumors that the understudy Cesar will start in goal, and despite their league standing, Tottenham’s still a team that’s taken points off both Chelsea and Arsenal.
If we’re solely judging by Wednesday’s match, Redknapp’s arrival will do wonders for Modric, who looked a different player last time out. Chances are the Croatian will be marked by Mascherano, though, and I expect the Argentinean to stay with him step for step. Pavlyuchenko, Bent, Jenas, and Bentley are all attacking players that can strike with goals out of the blue as well.
This assuredly won’t be standard top vs. bottom fare, as I doubt Spurs under Redknapp will be propping up the table much longer. But belief is coursing through the Liverpool side as well, and Benitez will have the players ready for the opposition and focused on keeping up this form.