Last four head-to-head:
0-2 Spurs (h) 05.15.11
1-2 Spurs (a) 11.28.10
2-0 Liverpool (h) 01.20.10
1-2 Spurs (a) 08.16.09
Last three matches:
Liverpool: 0-1 Stoke (a); 3-1 Bolton (h); 3-1 Exeter (a)
Spurs: 0-0 PAOK (a); 2-0 Wolves (a); 1-5 City (h)
Liverpool: Suarez 2; Adam, Henderson, Skrtel 1
Spurs: Adebayor, Defoe, Kaboul 1
Referee: Mike Jones
Jones has done two Liverpool games in his Premiership career: last October's 1-2 loss to Blackpool and, um... oh, right. I'm sure there's absolutely no coincidence between his appointment and Dalglish's "attack" on referees following Stoke.
Guess at a line-up:
Kelly Carragher Agger Enrique
Henderson Lucas Adam Downing
There are three questions about the Liverpool side to face Spurs, the same three questions we've been asking since the start of the season. Will Gerrard finally return? Who'll play right back with injuries at that position failing to subside? And what's the deal with
As for the first two questions, Dalglish stated that Johnson is the only definitive absence in yesterday's press conference. That Gerrard and Kelly are both in full training is no guarantee either will play. Troubled by a wonky groin for the last six months, Gerrard's unlikely to start right away, appearing off the bench if at all. Wednesday's league cup trip to Brighton seems a more probable return.
Even though ostensibly fit, Kelly still needs to be protected, having suffered three hamstring injuries since February. Facing Welsh Jesus, Skrtel would be under far more pressure than against either Bolton or Stoke. Flanagan hasn't even made the bench since starting against Exeter. It seems a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation for any of the three.
And then there's Carroll. Unimpressive in either substitute appearance against Bolton or Stoke, he looks a player who needs to play to find form. But with Suarez and Kuyt continuing to pair well and Carroll continuing to look like a fish out of water attempting to ride a bicycle, he simply hasn't done enough to force his way into the side. A match at barbarous Stoke seemed the perfect opportunity, but Tottenham's defense poses a different challenge. Ledley King, a perpetual question mark, was excellent a week ago, but the crucial Dawson (as well as Gallas) is out injured, probably replaced by the sometimes excellent, sometimes hilarious Kaboul. Bellamy's another option up front, in place of Kuyt, Henderson or even Downing, having been Liverpool's best player for the 20 minutes he was on the pitch against Stoke.
Last week, Stoke played for a draw at the Britannia, lucky to get the win thanks to a moment of madness leading to their lone shot on goal. Tottenham will have slightly more ambition at home. Liverpool have lost the last three meetings to Spurs, and the last four trips to White Hart Lane, with the last Lane win on the last day of the 2007-08 season.
Spurs took an under-strength line-up to their Europa League match in Greece yesterday, withholding any player likely to play on Sunday. Embarrassed in their first two league matches against the league's two best sides, Tottenham were far better winning at a difficult venue last week, beating Wolves 2-0. Adebayor linked well with Defoe, each scoring in the second half, while Parker unsurprisingly added grit to Modric's guile in midfield. With a far longer casualty list than Liverpool, including the aforementioned Dawson and Gallas as well as Sandro, Pienaar, Huddlestone and possibly Lennon, Redknapp's main choice is whether to wedge the returning van der Vaart into last week's 4-4-2, in place of either Defoe behind Adebayor or Kranjcar on the flanks.
The last time Liverpool traveled to London for a Sunday 8:30am ET kickoff saw the most discouraging loss suffered under Dalglish, a comprehensive 1-3 failure at West Ham, which coincidentally saw Scotty Parker as the game's best player. Early away kickoffs have often been Liverpool's bane in recent years. However, the last time Liverpool played in London was an early kickoff as well – that 2-0 victory over Arsenal a month ago. Please replicate the latter rather than the former.