Match Preview: Liverpool v. Tottenham, 03.30.14

Mike Hewitt

Team news, ways to watch, and a full preview as Liverpool host Spurs at Anfield.

The busiest week of the run-in is set to come to an end, giving way to six weeks and six matches that will determine Liverpool's fate in the 2013-2014 season. Slip-ups are inevitable, but the extent of the damage they'll cause increasingly appear to be within Liverpool's control. Leads gifted to Cardiff on two occasions were answered in overwhelming fashion, and the late anxieties against Sunderland midweek didn't lead to lost points.

Worse slip-ups might be coming, but Liverpool have shown an increased resiliency this season, and while there's been plenty of hand-wringing about tomorrow's visit from Spurs based on Wednesday's nervy finish, it's worth remembering that two of the most impressive Anfield results of the season--the 4-0 over Everton and 5-1 over Arsenal--have come after relatively uninspiring performances in the preceding league fixtures.

Tottenham enter tomorrow's match having overcome a lack of inspiration themselves, fighting back from a 0-2 deficit at home to Southampton to earn all three points in a 3-2 win via a late Gylfi Sigurdsson strike. Tim Sherwood's reign has been tumultuous, with high-profile losses against bigger sides and a collection of cringe-worthy quotes adding to the notion that he might not be long for his post beyond the month of May. Performances since Sherwood's public denouncement of his squad's character after the Chelsea loss have looked a bit better, however, and the Southampton victory provided some momentum ahead of the season's final month and a half.

Sherwood has a handful of injuries to contend with, as Kyle Walker is ruled out along with Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela, and Etienne Capoue. Emmanuel Adebayor will be a late decision after suffering a foot injury. Against Southampton, Sherwood went with Hugo Lloris in goal, Kyle Naughton, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen, and Danny Rose across the back, Mousa Dembele and Nabil Bentaleb deeper in midfield with Christian Eriksen more advanced, and Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli providing support for Roberto Soldado up front. Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend came off the bench, and should be involved at some point.

For Liverpool:

Johnson Skrtel Agger Flanagan
Coutinho Henderson
Suarez Sturridge Sterling

No news is good news for everyone other than Jose Enrique, as Liverpool will have a squad that's otherwise at full strength as they play their third match in eight days. Tired legs will be the only fitness worry for those who have seen action in each of the last two.

We're at the point where the diamond seems to have become the preferred formation, and it's hard to argue with the results that have come along with the change. But we're not that far off from the time when the above formation seemed to be the way forward, and it would be nice to see Brendan Rodgers go back to the approach that worked so well against Arsenal and Everton, especially with Spurs and their high-line--toned down as it might have been against Southampton in the second half--coming in.

Once again, the only personnel changes that would be on the cards would be in the inclusion of Lucas and/or Mamadou Sakho in some capacity; the former is likely going to have to wait but would be a welcomed addition to provide cover in front of the back line, and the latter could displace Daniel Agger to make his return. Other than that, the only change would be the dropping of Joe Allen for Raheem Sterling.

Kickoff is set for 4:00PM BST/11:00AM EST, with Sky Sports 1 carrying coverage in the UK and NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra airing the match live in the US. Our coverage will start with the overnight open thread tonight and carry into the matchday post early tomorrow, which will have team sheets an hour before kickoff. Hope you'll be around to join us--if you haven't already, sign up for an SBNation profile and stick around.

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