Anfield was a nervy place to be on Wednesday night.
There was some bravado amongst supporters before kick-off against Sunderland, and then plenty of chants of “we’re going to win the league” after a 2-1 win had been secured, but for much of a 90 minutes in which Liverpool weren’t at their best, anxiety was the overriding emotion.
After Ki Sung-Yeung had halved the deficit with his close-range header for the visitors, Anfield held its collective breath for the final 15 minutes, a period which included John O’Shea’s header which flashed across the face of goal and wide.
This is what being in a title race is about though, and after largely blowing away opponents on their home ground this season, Liverpool discovered another way of winning on Wednesday – albeit one which kept their supporters on their edge of their seats for a different reason that they are used to .
The Reds blew away Tottenham earlier this season too, with the 5-0 victory at White Hart Lane in December proving to be the last act of Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane. The Portuguese’s replacement Tim Sherwood may have overseen mixed results, but given the added pressure of the occasion, there can be little doubt that this meeting with Spurs will be a tougher one for Liverpool.
The visitors have seen their top four hopes blown away in recent weeks, and are now in danger of missing out on fifth following the good form of Everton, but they’d love to throw a spanner in the works of a club they’ve actually finished above in the table in each of the four seasons before this one.
Sherwood might see this as an opportunity to stake his managerial credentials too, as standing up to opponents who have had the beating of the vast majority of the division this season would be a notable scalp.
Ultimately though, this should come down to just who wants the win more, and that will undoubtedly be a Liverpool side which have got more than a sniff of trophy polish in their nostrils.
Nerves will again be a factor, but if the Reds can do what they’ve done in 15 of their last 16 Anfield league games and score in the first half, then those nerves could be settled.
Both teams to score looks good here at 1.60, as does another Liverpool game full of goals.
Over 3.5 is at 2.14, with the Reds finding the net in both halves tempting at 1.88. With regards to a correct score, 3-1 Liverpool at 11.00 looks about right, but only if those pesky nerves can be overcome.
It was Daniel Sturridge’s turn to score the winner on Wednesday, and so the goalscoring baton could be passed back to Luis Suarez here.
The Uruguayan – who scored twice against Spurs in December – is 3.80 to score the first goal, just as he did in his last two meetings with the North Londoners. Jordan Henderson was excellent and found the net in that 5-0 win at White Hart Lane and is 4.60 to score at any time.
Emmanuel Adebayor is reportedly doubtful for Spurs, ensuring that Roberto Soldado could well get another chance upfront. The Spaniard has had a nightmare campaign but could well get a chance or two against Liverpool’s defence, and he’s 3.30 to convert one.
Liverpool to score in both halves – 1.88
Luis Suarez to score first 3.80