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Away Again?: The Spurs Preview

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Liverpool are on the bounce back after the disappointment at the Etihad, but Brendan Rodgers was quick to insist that there are positives being taken from the result as we travel to a rampant Spurs.

Alex Livesey

US: 8:30 AM EST-NBC Sports

UK: 1:30 PM BST-Sky Sports 1

After playing well for large periods against City, we may've felt hard done by losing 3-1, which hopefully will help drive us on this week. We will also hopefully be buoyed by the signing of Mario Balotelli, and the return of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic respectively.

Despite the hubbub of signing Mario, Brendan's been quick to point out that this is not "The Mario Balotelli show", noting that the Italian international has settled in with the group well and is currently making an off the pitch move to Merseyside as well.

We have new injury concerns in the likes of Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, and Alberto Moreno, though the latter, Brendan's said, are in a better position to be fit in time for the game, noting that GlenJo recovering in time would "maybe be difficult" for him.

Our defensive struggles have continued, but we've looked more confident on the ball and more assured going into challenges with Dejan Lovren partnering Martin Skrtel in the middle of the back four.

Lazar Markovic totally changed our game when he came on on Monday, and one is left to wonder if, like Joe Allen against City, if Brendan will reward our new boy with his first start.

The signing of Mario, whether he gets his first start this week or not, means that someone will have to drop out of the side, and one wonders who it'll be. Raheem Sterling may drop back to his usual left wing position, as Balotelli fills out our usual diamond formation, while, for the first two games, he was up alongside Sturridge in a 4-4-1-1. This means that Joe Allen, based on our last squad, will probably be the odd man out.

For Spurs, their only injury concern would be Kyle Walker, though Roberto Soldado is questionable, having only played a limited amount of minutes due to a preseason injury.

Spurs are currently unbeaten in the league after 2 games, and are looking a lot more fluid under new boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Emanuel Adebayor has continued his great form that he showed under Tim Sherwood, and will surely be a problem that our defense that will be difficult to neutralize.

Spurs' midfield, like ours, is their be all and end all, with players like Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli spearheading them as of late, with Chadli notching two goals in a demolition of QPR last week.

As stated above, it's our job to shut down their midfield, which means Steven Gerrard will have to be on his game, holding our own midfield together and getting tight to the ball.

It's also a big day for Mario Balotelli, who looks likely to start. Can he form a partnership with DStudge? Where will he play? Will he be quick to endear himself to the Anfield faithful?

There are questions on who replaces Johnson as well. Does Javier Manquillo come back in? Will we risk Alberto Moreno, who soldiered on despite his obvious problem in the closing minutes last week?

-Other thoughts:

-Hit the ground running, boys and girls. (JAceKopite16)

-It's difficult to say whether Markovic starts. If so, who drops off? Joe Allen and the midfield five formation in general will probably be dropped as we could go back to the diamond with the arrival of Mario. It's hard, however, to drop the other four. Ras Sterling's been arguably our best player so far, and while Coutinho's been quiet, he can do special things with the ball at any moment. Hendo's the one that makes us tick these days, while everything's held together by Stevie. (JAceKopite16)

-The problems at the back need to be addressed, and perhaps, with Martin Skrtel being iffy, it may be time to try out that Sakho/Lovren partnership that everyone's labeling as "for the future". (JAceKopite16)

- It will be interesting to see how the lineup changes this week. I think Markovic and/or Balotelli might get the nod to start. Allen is the obvious choice to sit, but I'd be okay with dropping Coutinho too. As this squad gets stronger and stronger I think it's important to make decisions based on form rather than what players are capable of. Coutinho has underwhelmed in the first two games, and I'd be okay with him starting this one on the bench. (blunatic)

- I still think Moreno starts. His injury looked painful, but I think he should be okay. Also, I'm definitely on board with giving Sakho and Lovren a chance to pair up. (blunatic)

- Despite the manhandling of Spurs last year, I'd be pretty happy with a draw here. A win is definitely doable, but a draw is a must. I'd hate to start the year losing 2 out of 3. (blunatic)