Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Tottenham
By Football News
Liverpool's 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham in December cost Andre Villas-Boas' his job - and Tim Sherwood can ill afford a repeat on Sunday.
Sherwood was charged with the task of replacing Villas-Boas after the Portuguese was shown the door following the Merseyside club's White Hart Lane rout.
The current Tottenham head coach has come under pressure after his side crashed out of the UEFA Europa League to Benfica while also producing inconsistent Premier League form that looks set to extend their wait for a return to the UEFA Champions League by at least another 12 months.
A spirited fight back against Southampton last weekend raised morale, as Tottenham came back from 2-0 down to secure a thrilling 3-2 win courtesy of Gylfi Sigurdsson's stoppage-time strike.
That victory went some way to easing the pressure on Sherwood, who has had to fend off questions about his future amid reports linking the likes of Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal with the White Hart Lane hotseat.
Sherwood has questioned whether second-placed Liverpool have the belief to win the title for the first time since 1990, but also hailed Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge - who have 48 league goals between them this season, eight more than Tottenham's entire squad - as the top-flight's best strike partnership for a "very long time".
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hit back by stating that he has enough experience to ensure his side can maintain their challenge and believes a lack of expectation could work in their favour.
He said: "In terms of management this will have been my fifth season but I’ve been stood on the touchline for 20-odd years and this year I have been able to put into practise what I have been working on for many years.
"Although there is still a lot for me to learn, it is not as if I am new to it.
"Other squads have much greater depth and maybe better individuals than us but we are showing we are developing and we are looking to put something in place not just for one season.
"If there is any pressure it is on other teams."
A 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Wednesday stretched Liverpool's winning run to seven Premier League matches, and they are just a point behind leaders Chelsea with seven games remaining.
Suarez scored twice when Rodgers' side ran riot at White Hart Lane, while Sturridge's goal on Wednesday ensured the duo became the first Liverpool strike pairing to each score 20 goals in a season since Ian St John and Roger Hunt 50 years ago.
Tottenham have lost their last two top-flight games on the road without scoring a goal and really need to put that right this weekend if they are to have any hope of making up the seven-point gap on fourth-placed Arsenal.
Jose Enrique (knee) is Liverpool's only absentee, but captain Steven Gerrard remains one yellow card away from a two-match ban.
Tottenham again have a doubt over striker Emmanuel Adebayor (heel), with Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Erik Lamela (back) remaining sidelined, but Moussa Dembele (knock) Vlad Chiriches (back) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) could return.