This Sunday see’s the Red Men travel down to North London to face Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool have not managed to pick up a single point from White Hart Lane in 5 premier league visits while also losing a league cup tie there during this period. Liverpool’s last win at the Lane came on the last day of the 2007/2008 season with Andriy Voronin and Fernando Torres both netting in a 2-0 win.
Tottenham haven’t lived up to expectations so far this season and, although they do sit in a respectable 6th place only 3 points behind Liverpool who occupy 2nd, they have been struggling for goals. While they have been picking up points their performances have not been too convincing, summed but by a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City and couple of weeks ago. The reasons for this are unknown, many people suggest AVB isn’t up for the job and there have been some calls for his head. Spurs lost PFA Player and Young Player of the Year winner Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for 100 million in the summer and embarked on a huge spending spree bringing in some top quality players such as Erik Lamela from Roma, Christian Eriksen from Ajax and Roberto Soldado from Valencia. However these new players haven’t quite to hit the ground running. Soldado has only scored once from open play in the league, Eriksen has picked up an injury and rumours suggest that Lamela is struggling to adapt to life in the capital.
Despite their attacking frailties Tottenham did have one of the best defensive records in the league having only conceded 6 goals in 11 games before Manchester City doubled their goals against tally. None of this can be taken for granted on Sunday as Tottenham are a very able team and these players are all top players, they are unbeaten since the 6-0 defeat to Manchester City earning a draw with Manchester United and getting wins against Fulham and Sunderland.
Moving onto the game on Sunday I have picked a Liverpool player who I believe will be key if the reds are going to come away with some points from the Lane and one danger man who could cause Liverpool a few problems during the match.
I’ll start with the player who I believe Liverpool will have to keep under wraps in order to get something from the game. It was a very difficult choice as I mentioned earlier Tottenham have an abundance of quality players at their disposal and keeping this one man quiet won’t guarantee 3 points but it would help. That man is Mousa Dembele. Liverpool’s inability to control the midfield has been a widely discussed topic so far this season, not a week goes by without some mention of a need for change in the middle of the park. Unfortunately I see Tottenham main strength to be their midfield, with the likes of Paulinho, Holtby, Dembele, Capoue and Sandro to choose from Liverpool’s midfield will have to be on the top of their games to deal with any combination of those players. Liverpool travel to the Lane without Captain Steven Gerrard who picked up an injury in the 4-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.
Jordan Henderson has also piled more worry on the Liverpool midfield after news emerged he left Anfield in a foot brace on Saturday, however it is believed he will be fit for the trip to Spurs on Sunday. So out of all those quality Midfielders why Mousa Dembele? Well in my opinion he is the man who poses the biggest threat in the midfield. His ability shone through in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United making 6 tackles in the game with 100% tackle accuracy winning possession back every 8 minutes mostly in the midfield third. Dembele also made 18 attacking third passes with an accuracy of 89% getting an assist in the process. He is a player with unbelievable strength combined with a great ability to keep hold of possession. Another key feature of his play is how simple he keeps things allowing Spurs to keep ticking over and whenever he loses the ball, he always think about how he is going to win the ball back.
Below is a table showing some of Mousa Dembele’s key stats from the 2013/14 season so far.
Key Player – Liverpool
No surprises from me here, after selecting Mousa Dembele as the dangerman I could well have selected Joe Allen after his impressive performances against Norwich and West Ham, Allen is a player I have a lot of time for and feel he gets some unnecessary stick at times. However he isn’t the man I have chosen as Liverpool’s key player, that man is none other than Luis Suarez. Suarez has been unstoppable since returning to the side after completing his ban for biting Ivanovic last season scoring and impressive 15 goals in 10 games. Suarez has taken a shot every 18 minutes scoring a goal every 60 minutes which is the best minutes per goals in the top 5 European league this season as shown below.
Luis Suarez’s 15 league goals is equal to what the entire Spurs team has managed so far this season, one way in which we could take all 3 points home from London on Sunday is by outscoring Tottenham and with strike partner Daniel Sturridge injured more impetuous is piled on Suarez’s shoulders and his need to perform is much greater.
Below is a table showing some of Luis Suarez’s key stats from the 2013/14 season so far.