By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool is still smarting from the loss at Stoke City, 1-0, and for good reason. After much domination, which included out-shooting the Potters 11-1 on target, the effort ended up fruitless. To add injury to insult, defender Glen Johnson will join fellow right back Martin Kelly at the physio’s table for at least a month with a hamstring injury.
This week, manager Kenny Dalglish will need to tinker further with the lineup in order to defend against Tottenham’s newest attacker, Emmanuel Adebayor.
Adebayor scored in his debut against Wolverhampton last weekend, and aided Tottenham in getting its first win of the English Premier League campaign. Spurs are a hungry bunch, and while many have pegged them to miss out on the top four for the second year in a row, the lads from North London are not to be underestimated. Tottenham will be without vital players such as Rafael van der Vaart, Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon, who are injured, but will still have quite a formidable squad led by Adebayor, Jermaine Defoe and midfielder Gareth Bale.
Expect Sebastian Coates to make his Reds’ debut, especially with the lack of depth left in the back. This will likely be off of the bench, as Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel should start in the middle, with Jamie Carragher moved to the wing. Beyond this, Steven Gerrard is rumored to dress, but if anything, he will be on the bench and is not likely to see action.
Look for Andy Carroll also to work off the bench, and possibly make way for Craig Bellamy to get a start. Bellamy may be able to give the Spurs defense a hard time, making it difficult to keep Luis Suarez under wraps. Dirk Kuyt looked a bit off of his game the past couple of matches, so no start for him here. But with him and Caroll coming on in the second half, Liverpool will not be without a lack of firepower if need be.
If Liverpool can get out of the gate early and punish Spurs with the attack, it could be a very good day for the Reds. But as recent history goes to show, it is never easy playing Tottenham, and this match should be no different.
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
When: 0830 BST/ 1330 ET
Where: White Hart Lane, North London
Table: Liverpool, 6th (7 points); Tottenham 15th (3 points)
Last Premier League Match: Liverpool – 0-1 v Stoke, Tottenham – 2-0 v Wolves
Projected Liverpool starting 11: (4-4-1-1)
DEF: Enrique, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher
MF: Lucas, Adam, Henderson, Downing
FW: Bellamy, Suarez
Bench: Doni, Coates, Flanagan, Spearing, Gerrard, Kuyt, Carroll
Projected Tottenham starting 11 (4-4-2)
DEF: Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Bassong, Walker
MF: Bale, Parker, Modric, Kranjcar
FW: Adebayor, Defoe
Bench: Cudicini, King, Livermore, Townsend, Pavlyuchenko, Falque, Giovani