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Dave Tickner 28 December 2006


As Liverpool brace themselves for their third game of a busy festive period, Spurs fan Dave Tickner from sportinglife.com provides the view from White Hart Lane?


Are you confident about the game?

Given our recent form at White Hart Lane, I?m pretty confident against anyone at home at the moment. We may struggle on the road, but eight wins in 10 home games shows how good we are at the Lane. Liverpool seemed to have the same problems as we did ? great at home, terrible away ? but that?s changed in recent weeks, so it should be a cracking game. Both teams have had a lot of games recently, so tiredness and tinkering could be a factor. We often seem to draw with you at home, and it wouldn?t surprise me to see the points shared this time.


How's your season going?


Improving. Cup games can be a distraction but they?ve been a real blessing for us. We?ve been absolutely superb in the UEFA Cup this season, winning six out of six, and the confidence from those wins seems to be rubbing off on our league form after a disappointing start. Picking up a first league away win of the season at Manchester City was a monkey off our backs, and the fact we?ve virtually been given a bye to the Carling Cup semi-finals is handy as well.


What are your weaknesses?


Our left side. Benoit Assou-Ekotto has a lot of work to do to become a Premiership full-back, while Lee Young-Pyo still doesn?t quite convince as a right-footed left-back. Steed Malbranque has come in and played pretty well on the left but, while he?s an improvement on Edgar Davids and Teemu Tainio, it?s still not really his best position.


What do you reckon ours are?


As with Spurs, I think constant personnel changes were hurting the team early in the season, but a more settled team seems to have led to your recent upturn in results. I?ve never been too convinced by Jose Reina as a keeper; he seems to have the unhappy knack of making high-profile mistakes in big games. But overall I don?t think there?s too much wrong with the Liverpool squad. Not sure if he's confusing Pepe with Jerzy there or what the f*** he's on about, as I can only remember the mistake he made in the derby, when the game was already basically over.


Who should we be worried about?


Aaron Lennon obviously poses a real threat, and has shown in recent games that he can not only switch flanks to good effect, but also play down the middle behind the strikers. Robbie Keane?s injury has helped us in a strange way, as it?s given Defoe and Berbatov a run of games together. It?s a partnership that?s starting to look very promising for us. Tom Huddlestone is the other player everyone?s getting pretty excited about at the Lane. The Spurs website still lists him as a defender, but he?s definitely a central midfield player now. He should be the long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, but with greater shooting ability. His first Premiership goal against Manchester City was quality, and there should be more to come from someone who, despite his hulking physique, is incredibly still only 19 years old.


And who will Spurs be worried about?


Steven Gerrard is the obvious answer, but most of Liverpool?s players seem to be playing pretty well at the moment. Watching Dirk Kuyt in the World Cup, I thought we?d had a lucky escape not signing him the previous summer. But I?ve been very impressed with him at Liverpool and I know Martin Jol is a big admirer of his fellow Dutchman. Hopefully we can handle him a bit better than we did at Anfield. And John Arne Riise always seems to do well against us.


Danny Murphy - discuss?


I think he?s been pretty unlucky. We?re not short of midfielders in the first-team squad, but Murphy seems to have slipped below not only Huddlestone, but also the likes of Hossam Ghaly and Tainio. Personally, I think he?s a better player than either and should have had more playing time this season.


Do you wish Peter Crouch was still a Spurs player?


Crouch is a strange one. I remember we used to call him ?Competition Winner? because there would always be these team photos in the programme of the under-17s or whatever, and he just looked like some kid who?d been allowed to go along for the day. :lol: I think when he was at Spurs he was always just too weak, and no-one really thought he?d go on to be the player he is. I think Spurs deserve credit for giving him a chance when a lot of clubs would have been put off by his physique. It would have been nice if he could have come through and been a success for Spurs, but no-one was really surprised or angry when we let him go.


Do any of your players need to make New Year resolutions?


All of them need to resolve to never again play like they did against Arsenal the other week. That was embarrassing. I?ve seen the Gooners outclass us plenty of times, but I?ve never seen a Spurs side just roll over like that in a North-London derby.


Who do you want to win the league?


As the only alternative is another title bought by the Russian empire at Chelsea, I?ll have to go for Manchester United. Who would have thought Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and co would ever be the lesser of two evils?


Where will Spurs and Liverpool finish this season?


Same as last year. I still think we?re the ?best of the rest?, but just can?t quite break into that top four just yet. I?ll be pretty happy if we consolidate that top-six place to be honest, especially if we pinch a trophy somewhere along the line. As for Liverpool, I can?t see you splitting the top two but you should hold off Arsenal for third. However, I think both North-London teams will be a bit closer to you this year.



Edited by Walrus
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