Andy Carroll returned to the squad after recovering from a knee injury sustained in April. Raul Meireles, meanwhile, was not fit enough to play after picking up a knock against Fulham.
William Gallas was out for Tottenham, and is unlikely to play again this season [a saying that’s fairly meaningless past mid-May). Ledley King was fit, though, having made a comeback from his recent groin injury. Gareth Bale (ankle), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (hamstring), Heurelho Gomes (back) and Jermaine Jenas (thigh) were all unavailable.
Since Harry Redknapp took charge of Spurs, the team playing at home had won all six encounters.
Tottenham hadn’t won in sixteen league games at Anfield. They had won only ten points from their last nine matches against the top five in the league all season. They are also the only team not to have named an unchanged side in the league this year. None of the last ten goals Spurs had scored against Liverpool has arrived before the 44th minute.
Kuyt had scored for five consecutive league matches and has got nine goals in his last eight appearances. Maxi Rodriguez scored seven goals in three matches, including two hat-tricks; this is despite grabbing only four goals in his previous 41 appearances. Jamie Carragher holds the dubious honour of having scored as many (own) goals for Tottenham as he has for Liverpool (three).
Liverpool had kept a clean sheet in each of the three previous Premier League games against Tottenham that have been officiated by Howard Webb.
Dalglish named ten of the eleven that started against Fulham in the previous league match, with Andy Carroll the only new name on the team sheet. Redknapp, however, made three changes; two because of injury and one to bring Kaboul back into the side.
The shapes were similar. Liverpool continued with their modified 4-4-2. Suarez dropped off Carroll to create a 4-4-1-1 shape. Tottenham were more explicitly 4-4-1-1 as van der Vaart played very much in the hole rather than as a second striker. Both sides had a target man spearheading the attack (Carroll; Crouch) and one proper wide player (Kuyt; Lennon). On the left wing, the midfielder cut inside onto his stronger right foot (Maxi; Pienaar). The full backs also behaved in a similar way. The left backs pushed forward when attacking (Johnson; Rose) while the right back was more reserved (Flanagan; Kaboul). Both sets of central midfielders held slightly deeper positions, playing short passes to recycle possession or hitting diagonal balls to the flanks.
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