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Closer To White Hart Lane: Spurs v. Liverpool Preview

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Wanna boost?
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Have we ever played well at White Hart Lane?  I can only remember one win there that came close to mattering (there was a final day victory there a couple years ago that didn't in the least) which was a Boxing Day win that Luis Garcia secured in some of the more abominable conditions I've ever seen a football match played in.  You know it's bad when you're thankful you're in Chicago in December and not London.

Anyway, the Reds march into their North London house of horrors off a 8th-grader-against-kindergardeners easy win at Anfield against the state carnival freak show that is West Ham.  I would love to sit here and tell you that off of that Roy Hodgson might loosen the leash a little, seeing as how this team is far better when it tries to attack than when it tries to set up a Parcheesi Blockade.  I want to tell you that, I really do.  But I can't.  There have been rumblings that Hodgson may opt to move Glen Johnson into midfield with Kelly behind him, and have Kuyt partner Torres instead of Ngog.  I would hate this for a number of reasons.  A) Johnson isn't a defender, so bringing him on to help defend is akin to trying to jump start your car with a rubber flower.  B) Johnson's attributes are as an attacking fullback, and he loses that if he's trying to attack from midfield (if Hodgson would even let him do that much).  Johnson takes advantage of getting ahead of sleeping wingers and invading open space, he cannot go past people or dribble past a couple defenders, as a midfield winger might.  C) Dirk Kuyt is never one to shirk his defensive responsibilities.  If you're really worried about Gareth Bale, leaving Kuyt out right will help more than moving GJ out of position.  And it's a wonder how much you should be afraid of Bale, because even though he terrified Maicon of Inter, both Phil Neville and and Rafael and other Premier League fullbacks have kept him in check.  Opt for Kelly, he didn't have much of a problem with Malouda a couple weeks back.

The rest of the lineup you probably already know.  Konchesky will start and cause IBS among us, especially as he could be looking down Aaron Lennon's barrel (what?).  Our only hope is that Lennon's famous terrible final delivery continues.  Meireles will be in front of Lucas who I'm sure will replace Poulsen (or I'm hoping so).  Joe Cole is apparently fit but I think he'll probably only make the bench as Hodgson should keep the faith and keep the lineup as much the same as he can with Maxi out left.  But who knows?

Spurs have found success after Champions League adventures, going 3-2-1 after midweek encounters.  But they've never kept a clean sheet after a European date.  In fact, Spurs only league clean sheet came on the opening day against Man City.  This is yet another reason that Liverpool should come at them and possibly risk getting tonked, because it is likely you can find a goal or two for yourself.  Word has it that Rafael Van der Vaart -- the kind of player who used to wash up on our shores and very well might have if not for last season's disaster -- won't make the game.  If that happens Spurs will go 4-4-2 with Bale, Modric, Jenas (if healthy) and Lennon across the midfield behind a combo of Crouch, Defoe, and Pavlyuchenko.  Oh, if only Pool had actual wingers because Alan Hutton and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are dying to be exposed like Lindsay Lohan's naughty parts.  

If Hodgson grows a pair, this could be as entertaining a game as we'll see.  If he reverts to form, it'll be another torture chamber as we await Spurs to score the one goal we can't possibly overcome in that scenario.  Please be the former, even if it results in a loss. 

For the Spurs side, please check out Cartilage Free Captain