Usually for Subscribers only, this week’s match preview can be read by anyone – although as ever, only Subscribers can comment.
Following Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat away to Blackburn Rovers on 5 January 2011, the Reds sat in 12th place just four points above the relegation zone. A gap of 11 points separated us from then 4th placed Tottenham Hotspur. Amazingly, we are now in a position where a victory over the north London outfit on Sunday will guarantee us a 5th place finish and in the process a spot in next season’s Europa League. Whether we claim 5th place or not Kenny has more than earned his newly signed three year contract after revitalising a club that was almost brought to its knees during the first half of the season.
It’s interesting to see how the league table looked in early January for both Liverpool and Spurs when FSG decided a change was needed:
• Tottenham: 4th – P: 21 W: 10 D: 6 L: 5 F: 31 A: 25 GD: +6 Pts: 36
• Liverpool: 12th – P: 20 W: 7 D: 4 L: 9 F: 24 A: 27 GD: -3 Pts: 25
It’s also worth remembering that Liverpool lost and drew their next two league games (Kenny Dalglish’s first two PL games in charge), while Spurs drew their next league game to leave the gap between the two teams looking like this on 16 January 2011:
• Tottenham: 5th – P: 22 W: 10 D: 7 L: 5 F: 31 A: 25 GD: +6 Pts: 37
• Liverpool: 13th – P: 22 W: 7 D: 5 L: 10 F: 27 A: 31 GD: -4 Pts: 26
14 games later and Liverpool would jump up eight places, overcoming an 11 point deficit and a negative goal difference to move into 5th place ahead of Spurs. From those 14 games, we picked up ten wins, two draws and two defeats. This is how the Premier League table now looks prior to Sunday’s match:
• Liverpool: 5th – P: 36 W: 17 D: 7 L: 12 F: 59 A: 41 GD: +18 Pts: 58
• Tottenham: 6th – P: 36 W: 14 D: 14 L: 8 F: 51 A: 45 GD: +6 Pts: 56
Not even the most hopeful optimist could’ve predicted such a turn around in fortunes when FSG made the decision to sack Hodgson and replace him with Kenny Dalglish following that awful defeat at Ewood Park in January. As Opta Joe has pointed out in the table below, Liverpool sit in 2nd place based on league results since Kenny took over. Only Chelsea have claimed more points, while no team has scored more goals or has a better goal difference, over the 16 league games that have taken place since January 5th.
Spurs make the trip to Anfield with a poor record behind them. They’ve picked up just one win at Anfield since the PL began and have claimed maximum points on just five occasions from 67 visits to L4. Of the 19 draws at Anfield seven have finished 0-0 (two in the PL era), while they’ve managed to prevent Liverpool from scoring on just nine occasions overall (twice in the PL).
Liverpool’s stats are more impressive. We’ve won 43 of the 67 games prior to this meeting and have prevented Spurs from scoring on 26 occasions. We have also scored four goals or more in a single match on nine different occasions.
Liverpool’s Premier League record v Tottenham at Anfield:
• Played: 18 Won: 12 Drawn: 5 Lost: 1 F: 38 A: 15 Pts: 41
Liverpool’s overall record against Tottenham in the league (includes PL stats):
• Total: P: 135 W: 63 D: 34 L: 38 F: 215 A: 152
• Home: P: 67 W: 43 D: 19 L: 5 F: 133 A: 53
• Away: P: 68 W: 20 D: 15 L: 33 F: 82 A: 99
Liverpool’s biggest home victories and defeats v Tottenham (league):
• Biggest home win (overall): 7-0 (2/9/1978)
• Biggest home defeat (overall): 2-1 (on three occasions)
• Biggest home win (Premier League): 6-2 (8/5/1993)
• Biggest home defeat (Premier League): 2-1 (25/8/1993)
The overall form guide shows just how impressive we’ve been recently. We’ve won four of our last six league games, scoring three goals on two occasions and five goals on another two occasions. Spurs in comparison have picked up three draws and two defeats from their last five games. Going further back Harry Redknapp’s men have picked up just the one victory from their last ten PL games (six draws, three defeats). A poor return for a team that had ambitions of securing a second season of Champions League football.
Form Guide – last 6 Premier League games):
• Liverpool: L W D W W W, F: 18 A: 5 Pts: 13
• Tottenham: W D D L D L, F: 10 A: 11 Pts: 6
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last nine home matches in the Premier League – picking up seven wins and two draws – while scoring 22 goals and conceding just five in the process. We’ve only failed to score at Anfield once this season; the shock 1-0 defeat to Wolves back in December. We are yet to fail to score home or away under Kenny Dalglish.
Tottenham have won just two of their last nine away games, losing four times and drawing three. They’ve failed to score away from home on four occasions and have kept just two cleans sheets from their 18 away games prior to this fixture.
Form Guide – Last 6 Premier League games with Liverpool at home and Tottenham away:
• Liverpool: W D W W W W, F: 17 A: 2 Pts: 16
• Tottenham: W L D D L L, F: 7 A: 10 Pts: 5
Steven Gerrard (groin), Martin Kelly (hamstring), Daniel Agger (knee) and Fabio Aurelio (hamstring) are all missing for Liverpool. Andy Carroll (knee) should recover from the “bruise” that saw him miss the 5-2 victory over Fulham while Raul Meireles (knock) and Milan Jovanovic (knee) are both doubtful.
Tottenham are missing Gareth Bale (ankle), Ledley King (groin), Alan Hutton (knee), Bongani Khumalo (ankle), Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Benoît Assou-Ekotto (ankle) and Jonathan Woodgate (calf). Heurelho Gomes (back) and Jermaine Jenas (thigh) are both doubtful.
Possible match day squad of 18 selected from:
Goalkeepers: Reina, Gulacsi
Defenders: Johnson, Flanagan, Carragher, (c), Skrtel, Krygiakos, Robinson, Wilson
Midfielders: Lucas, Meireles, Cole, Maxi, Poulsen, Jovanovic, Spearing, Shelvey
Strikers: Carroll, Suárez, N’gog, Kuyt
Goalkeepers: Cudicini, Pletikosa
Defenders: Corluka, Dawson (c), Gallas, Kaboul, Bassong, Naughton
Midfielders: Rose, Lennon, Palacios, Pienaar, Sandro, Modric, Van der Vaart, Kranjcar
Strikers: Crouch, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko
(Stats included in this post were sourced from Statto.com, Opta and the Premier League)