Friday, 31 October 2008

Spurs v Liverpool Premiership Preview: Can Redknapp Magic End Reds Unbeaten Start In The Premier League?

Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur, play Liverpool in the Premier League at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

New Spurs manager Redknapp has really managed to galvanise the stuttering North London club since he replaced Spaniard Juande Ramos last weekend. Tottenham secured their first win of their Premiership season at White Hart Lane on Sunday against Bolton Wanderers 2-0, and followed it up by coming back from the dead to draw 4-4 at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal on Wednesday in the North London derby thriller. However, Spurs are still bottom of the Premier League and face a Liverpool side, who are unbeaten in all competitions under boss Rafa Benitez this season and stand alone at the top of the table, with the former Portsmouth manager Redknapp only too aware that there is still a lot of work to do at Tottenham, especially in defence after conceding four against the Gunners.

The Reds will arrive at White Hart Lane on Saturday hopeful of getting a positive result after ending Chelsea’s 86-match unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. The 1-0 win at the Blues put them clear at the top of the Premier League, with a 1-0 win against Portsmouth at Anfield on Wednesday keeping them clear of their rivals at the top of the table. Liverpool have won four and drawn once on their travels this season and are being talked about as serious title contenders this year, with Benitez installing a steel in the Reds team that has been missing in recent years, with the results against Manchester United and then Chelsea last week confirming that the Merseyside club have real title credentials this season.

Redknapp will still be without suspended defender Michael Dawson, but the central-defender will be available for Tottenham’s next game after escaping an additional two-game ban for his reaction to being sent off in the defeat to Stoke City. Apart from Dawson, Brazilian Gilberto is the only doubt for the visit of Liverpool, but should recover from a knee injury to be called upon by Redknapp if needed.

Roman Pavlyuchenko looks set to continue upfront, with Croatian schemer Luka Modric to play just off him as the playmaker has in Redknapp’s first two games in charge. Tom Huddlestone could get the nod over Didier Zokora in the centre of midfield again, having started both games since Redknapp’s arrival. Captain Ledley King is also in contention after sitting out the North London derby on Wednesday. Another dilemma for Redknapp is whether to persevere with goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, with reports this week claiming Redknapp is unsure of the Brazilian and looking to replace him at Spurs after a series of errors.

Liverpool are unable to call on defender Martin Skrtel (PCL tear), who will be out for another 7 weeks, but could have star-striker Fernando Torres available after a hamstring injury. However, Benitez is likely to save Torres for the Champions League match with Torres’ former club Atletico Madrid next week.

Daniel Agger, Javier Mascherano and Robbie Keane are all in contention for recalls, having been rested by the Reds for the win against Pompey, with Keane back at Tottenham for the first time since his £20million transfer to Anfield in the summer.

Tottenham Hotspur: (from) Gomes, Bale, Gunter, Woodgate, Corluka, King, Hutton, Assou-Ekotto, Jenas, Zokora, Huddlestone, Bentley, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Cesar, Bent, Campbell, Taarabt, Stalteri, Ghaly, Giovanni, Rocha, Lennon, Gilberto, Prince-Boateng, O’Hara,

Liverpool: (from) Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Arbeloa, Degen, Dossena, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel, Keane, Pennant, Benayoun, Riera, Cavalieri, Agger, Aurelio, Kuyt, Lucas, Insua, N’Gog, Plessis, Nemeth, El Zhar, Spearing, Nemeth, Itandje

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