By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool looks to continue its unbeaten run on Wednesday, but the club has its biggest test yet. The Reds venture down to North London to clash with Tottenham Hotspur, a club five points ahead of Liverpool in the table at this point.
Liverpool hasn’t lost since late September, a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, and while wins haven’t been plentiful — three wins in the past eight matches — the 14 points during this streak helped the club climb to midtable. What may be even better for the Reds faithful, is that they are only five points off of Everton in fifth place.
While Liverpool only managed a 0-0 draw in Wales against Swansea City last weekend, a win against a direct competitor for Europe could further motivate the squad to push during a difficult stretch.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is still without midfielder Lucas Leiva, but Andre Wisdom should be fit after a minor knee injury. While the club has done well in the past few months with so few options, the next month could be a real test on fitness. Including this match, the club has eight fixtures before the January transfer window opens. Seven of these matches are in league play.
Liverpool will likely depend on Luis Suarez for goals, as this has been the norm this season. Currently, the Uruguayan leads the league in goals with 10 from 13 matches. With Suarez experiencing some of the best form of his life, he will likely be closely watched by the Tottenham defense.
The North London side doesn’t have a player like Suarez, but they haven’t needed one so far this season. Forward Jermain Defoe and utility man Gareth Bale combined for 12 goals in the league so far, and the two pose a threat against a Liverpool back line that has allowed 16 goals this year.
Spurs’ recent form isn’t particularly impressive, removing the 3-1 win against plucky West Ham United over the weekend. The club drew against Lazio in Europa League play after being defeated convincingly by Arsenal. Additionally, Tottenham lost 2-1 to Manchester City in league play beforehand.
The club will be without Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul, who all have long-term knee injuries. However, Sandro is likely to return from his stomach injury.
Tottenham hasn’t lost to Liverpool since January 2010, and Liverpool hasn’t experienced two consecutive positive results against Spurs since the 2007-08 season. After last season’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham, Liverpool managed a 0-0 draw in the return fixture.
The match will be the first between Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas and Rodgers since they joined their new clubs this summer. Both men were a part of Jose Mourinho’s staff at Chelsea previous to their first team managerial careers.
If you are in the greater Boston area, you will be able to watch the match at The Phoenix Landing with LFC Boston. If not, it is streaming on ESPN3.
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
When: Wednesday, November 28, 1445 EST/1945 GMT
Where: White Hart Lane, London
Previous Premier League match: Swansea 0-0 Liverpool, Tottenham 3-1 West Ham
League Position 2011-12: Liverpool 11th (16 points), Tottenham 7th (20 points)
Projected Tottenham Starting 11
DEF: Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen
MID: Lennon, Dembele, Sandro, Dempsey, Bale
Subs from: Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Livermore, Sigurdsson, Huddlestone, Carroll, Falque, Adebayor
Projected Liverpool Starting 11
DEF: Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson
MID: Gerrard, Allen, Henderson
FW: Sterling, Suarez, Suso
Subs from: Jones, Flanagan, Wisdom, Coates, Carragher, Robinson, Cole, Sahin, Shelvey, Downing, Assaidi, Morgan, Yesil
Interact: What’s your projected lineup and final score prediction? Comment below.