Spurs snapped a three-match losing streak with victory over West Ham at the weekend and will be hoping to secure another three Premier League points when they host Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Wednesday (7.45pm GMT).
Tottenham were well deserved 3-1 victors over West Ham on Sunday, dominating the ball but also showing a degree of incisiveness that has not always been on display at White Hart Lane this season. It was the first time they have scored more than twice at home this campaign and their first home victory since early October.
With Emmanuel Adebayor sitting out the first of three matches he will miss for his red card against Arsenal, Jermain Defoe stepped up to the plate with two goals.
The first of those was a superb solo effort. They were Defoe’s sixth and seventh of a fine campaign that is all but certain to see him exceed the 11 goals he scored last season.
Defoe has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Andre Villas-Boas short tenure. It would also have been heartening for the Portuguese boss to note much-improved performances from a few players who have struggled under his tutelage.
Clint Dempsey swatted aside a poor first half performance to provide a brilliant assist for Gareth Bale and a neat touch in the build-up to Defoe’s second. Kyle Walker was solid at right-back and attacked much more effectively than in previous matches. Even Tom Huddlestone began to look somewhat like his former self in the second half, nonchalantly spraying passes across the width of the pitch.
With Hugo Lloris looking very secure between the sticks and the central defensive partnership of Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker standing strong in the face of West Ham’s aerial assault, Villas-Boas may finally be starting to see the team perform on the pitch as he imagines them to in his head.
Midfielder Moussa Dembele is coming back to full fitness – the Belgian made a substitute appearance against West Ham – and the additional drive he brings to the centre of the park could very well precipitate a good run of form. That said, this match is followed by tough away trips to Fulham and Everton.
Spurs are seventh in the Premier League, level on points with North London rivals Arsenal, and five points off Chelsea in fourth. They are currently four points and four places better off than Liverpool, although the Anfield side do travel to White Hart Lane in the midst of eight-match unbeaten run.
The reign of Brendan Rogers began with just two points from Liverpool’s opening five matches of the Premier League season. The 14 points gained from the subsequent undefeated streak have at least added an air of respectability to the club’s league position, although a charge towards the top six will still be the primary objective for the season.
That goal is unlikely to be achieved unless the Reds start turning some of their draws into victories. Liverpool had drawn the joint-highest (7) number of matches of any team in the division, including five of the matches in their current unbeaten run. The latest was a 0-0 draw away to Rogers’ former club Swansea on Sunday.
That match again illustrated Liverpool’s need for a prolific scorer to convert some of the plentiful chances they create. Only two other Premier League teams have taken more shots so far this season, but the Reds have the worst record in the league when it comes to the percentage of those shots (26.23%) that are on target. They also have the fifth-worst ratios in relation to shots to goals (7.15%) and shots on target to goals (27.24%).
Luis Suarez is an excellent player and has an impressive goal return so far this season (10 in 13 matches), but calm finishing is not one of his strong points and when he does not find the back of the net, Liverpool struggle. The Reds are undefeated in the seven matches this season in which Suarez has scored, winning two and drawing five, but have lost three of the six in which he has not.
Spurs v Liverpool Betting Tips Verdict & Advice
This match could very well turn into a story of two strikers. Suarez is Liverpool’s primary threat (scoring 58% of their league goals this campaign and assisting two more) and as long as Spurs can keep him quiet they look to have few other significant goal threats.
Tottenham’s Defoe will be buzzing on the back of his two-goal haul at the weekend and with his teammates beginning to look more at ease with their new manager’s approach he is likely to be the one who emerges victorious.