The wait is over! We finally kick off our season on Sunday when we travel to White Hart Lane to face Spurs. It is funny that we ended last season with a home game against Spurs and this season we start against them. I guess we have to now just accept that it is our destiny to play away from home on our first game of the season. I think this is the sixth season running when we have started away from home.
I am upbeat about the coming season and we need to get off to a good start. Spurs at the Lane is never an easy game and I am sure the players do not need any reminding as to what happened last season there. We went down 2-1 in a game I feel we should have at least gotten a draw.
So looking at it this way, a draw or a win on Sunday will be one or three points better than we did last season. We simply can not afford to walk away with nothing on Sunday especially since Chelsea and United have what should be home bankers.
Looking ahead to the game on Sunday, the biggest worry is that Stevie G may not be fully fit as he struggles to recover from a groin strain. Rafa says that if the game were on Saturday then Stevie may not have made it but we remain in hope that the extra day may mean he is fit to play. But I still insist that if he is not 100% ready then there is no need to rush him. I have maintained that for us to win the league this season, Gerrard and Torres must start at least 80% of the games together. If Stevie is not fit for Sunday…there we go already, no Gerrard and Torres combo.
However it is good to hear that our central defenders are fit (Carragher, Agger and Skrtel). I am sure Rafa is going to start with the two who are the fittest. Personally, I would like to see a Carragher – Agger combination as Spurs are likely to start with Crouch and Defoe so Carra can deal with Crouch whilst the pace of Agger can contain Defoe.
My probable lineups for the game are:
Tottenham (Probable, 4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Bassong, King, Assou-Ekotto; Palacios, Jenas, Modric, Lennon; Crouch, Defoe.
Liverpool (Probable, 4-2-3-1): Reina; Insua, Agger, Carragher, Johnson; Lucas, Mascherano; Riera, Kuyt, Gerrard; Torres.
Looking at that probable Spurs lineup, I feel their defence is suspect. Gomes is a very dodgy keeper and if he is having one of his off days then we will bag a couple of goals. Spurs greatest threat would come from their attack and I wonder how well Insua will be able to handle Lennon. It will be a big test for the young Argentine but he should pull though. Mascherano will have his hands full trying to pick up the runs of Modric and Jenas but as Spurs do not tend to have Modric sitting wide on the left during the entire game, that should give Glen Johnson a bit of attacking freedom down the right.
If Stevie is not fit to play then I see Yossi coming in and filling in in his role as opposed to us going with another striker like Voronin or N’gog.
Prediction time: I would want a win and if it is a win, I see us winning 2-1.