So a rare excursion into Monday night football. Hopefully we will do better than the last time we played in the Monday night slot, anyone remember the 1-0 defeat to Fulham and Jay Spearing’s sending off?
Things have hopefully moved on a bit since then with a series of confidence boosting wins which should stand us in good stead for Spurs tonight. Even if this weren’t the case the motivation to avenge the 4-0 defeat we suffered at White Hart Lane earlier this season should be enough. Said Kenny
“Nothing is completely forgotten about. Everything that you have learned and experienced you have in the bank and if you have to use it you use it. We went there and lost a wonder goal to Luka Modric and Charlie Adam got sent off early on so it was always going to be uphill from there. It was certainly not a pleasant trip but there are positives you can take away from anything.”
Hopefully we shall see. The focus tonight should be on closing the gap towards fourth place however inevitably there is a distraction, it always seems to be the case with every game we play these days. This time it’s the return of Luis Suarez from his eight match ban, assuming Kenny decides to play him. In many ways this is the prelude to next weeks match when Suarez will line up against Patrice Evra even now, a week or so before the game, the media vultures are circling anticipating a meaty feast! However, that is for later and there is no doubt that on the footballing front the return of Suarez is a welcome one. We seemed to feel his absence fairly keenly for the first few games of his ban however, since then we’ve picked up as seen in our progress in the cups if not the league.
As a result we’ve also seen players who were tussling for the second strike spot behind Suarez start to come into he their own. Craig Bellamy has embarked on a productive scoring run, Dirk Kuyt has ended his goal drought and even Andy Carroll scored in the last game and has generally shown an improvement. Perhaps this gives a Kenny a welcome problem tonight. The easiest solution would be to start with Suarez on the bench and bring him back gradually however he’s not been injured and has presumably kept himself fit? He could rest Bellamy who has played in more games recently than his knees would probably want! I don’t think Kenny will want to drop Carroll, he will want to maintain the momentum the striker has shown so if he starts with Suarez, then Bellamy will get his rest with Kuyt in wider position? Me? I think Suarez will start on the bench.
It is fortunate for Suarez that his come back is at Anfield. The real test for him will come when he has to play an away game. Ironically the next one is at Old Trafford, and how will he cope with inevitable “attention” the home fans will pay him? The abuse plus Suarez’s unpredictable temperament is a volatile cocktail, there could be more trouble? Equally it may inspire us forward. Said Steven Gerrard
“Luis has shown over the last 12 months that he’s one of the best players in the world. So we want these players available. He has been missed and the players are looking forward to welcoming him back.”
Sadly I think the extent of the “welcomes” Suarez receives on his travels is crucial. If they continue to be hostile will it eventually be too much and prompt him to ask for a move? Is that what the FA wanted when they dished out the ban? Is that what Liverpool wanted they sat down and considered their approach to the case? Clearly not but neither has helped. Team wise we appear to be “as you were” from the Wolves game with the addition of Gerrard who is presumably back after his rest?
Prediction? With others around us doing well over the weekend and Chelsea snatching a draw from the jaws of victory this is a game we need to win. It goes without saying that Spurs will present us with a tough test with or without Harry Redknapp who may well have other things on his mind. They have strength in depth and pace throughout the side something which Martin Skrtel found out to his cost, keep him away from Gareth Bale please Kenny!. Hopefully we can take what we can from the 4-0 defeat which wasn’t all bad. Despite Charlie Adam’s sending off it took Spurs some time to break us down and we had a good spell in that game. We are a better side now and with the confidence gained from recent events I’m being positive and taking us to just shade it by 2-1.