Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
LONDON (SE) - Tottenham Hostpur will be looking to build on a morale-boosting victory when they welcome Liverpool to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening.
Spurs ended a three-match losing streak when they beat West Ham 3-1 at the Lane on Sunday, with former Hammers striker Jermain Defoe scoring twice for the Lilywhites.
"He's an incredible striker," enthused manager Andre Villas-Boas. "I mean his moment of form is absolutely immense.
"I think he is enjoying his football. When we see the strikers of this nature and their hunger for goals is what you need and what you request from a striker. We have been getting exactly that so at the moment we have all positive things to say about it."
Perhaps even more encouraging for Spurs in the win over West Ham was the performance of Clint Dempsey. The American had struggled to impose himself on matches since joining Tottenham in the summer, but played a crucial role in the build-up for two of the three goals.
"I've been frustrated with not getting on the ball, being in the game or affecting games, but I think I'm now starting to do a better job," said Dempsey. "I thought I was good against West Ham. I was able to get a little bit more on the angle, be able to drive with the ball a bit more, take more shots and create chances for other people.
"I'm traditionally used to playing in a 4-4-2 where I'm the guy on the left but I'm not an out-and-out winger. I come inside and I'm more like an attacking inside-left, so being more central is good, but it's about getting on the ball and making the right movements, and I'm starting to do a better job in that respect."
Liverpool drew yet again on Sunday (0-0 with Swansea) to make it five draws in their last eight league games. After the game, manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that even though he is pleased with the way his players are performing, he is looking forward to getting some new faces into the squad to improve their attacking threat.
"The guys are working very well, they have been fantastic, but we all know you need to get in your own types of players before you can say it is your own side," said Rodgers. "Until you get that turnover of players you can only look at it then as your team. But we will work with the players we have."
"There was a big investment in the club and obviously a lot of players went out in the summer and a few came in. We will look to do some business in January to help and support the players here, but that is where we are at as a football club and it is something the owners trust me to grow over time. Eventually we will get there."
Tottenham have doubts over Sandro (stomach), but Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee), Younes Kaboul (knee) and Scott Parker (Achilles) are out. Villas-Boas is expected to continue with Hugo Lloris in goal, but may change a winning side by bringing back William Gallas and fit-again Moussa Dembele for Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone.
Liverpool have concerns over Andre Wisdom (knee), while Fabio Borini (ankle), Martin Kelly (knee) and Lucas Leiva (thigh) are out. Rodgers sprung a slight surprise by starting Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson in the draw with Swansea, but substituted both and may choose to remove both from his first XI.
Spurs took four points off Liverpool last season, and their 4-0 win over the Reds at the Lane was the biggest winning margin in the fixture for 48 years.