Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes there is no room for error in Sunday’s encounter with top-four rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The Merseysiders go into the enticing encounter in second place in the Premier League, three points ahead of their opponents.
Yet, despite their strong run of results, Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet from their last 12 league encounters. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Rodgers was happy to admit that errors have played a big part in that streak, and that they are unlikely to get away with them continuing against Tottenham.
"We've made mistakes -- we own up to that," he said, according to Liverpool’s official website. "We've made mistakes defensively and that has cost us goals and some of them have been cheap goals.
"Of course, we always want to be perfect, score many goals and keep clean sheets. And certainly in these types of games [against Tottenham], when it's going to be tight and you're not going to run away and score lots of goals, you then have to make sure you don't make mistakes.
"And that's something that we're focused on. It was something that cost us a wee bit last year in terms of these big games, when we were in front and then we made a mistake.”
Since their disappointing 3-1 defeat at Hull City, in which there were an ample number of mistakes, Liverpool have recorded two resounding victories, against Norwich and West Ham. Luis Suarez was scintillating in both those victories and will again have the burden of carrying Liverpool’s attacking load against Tottenham in the continued absence of Daniel Sturridge. A further blow befell Liverpool this week with the news that captain Steven Gerrard will be ruled out for at least four weeks with a hamstring injury.
Tottenham also have their injury problems, with Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul and Emanuel Adebayor all out, while Vlad Chiriches will face a late fitness test. There was better news on Thursday, however, with left-back Danny Rose and playmaker Christian Eriksen making their comebacks in the 4-1 victory over Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.
That result made it four wins and a draw for Tottenham since they suffered an ignominious 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City and pressure began to mount on coach Andre Villas-Boas. Also encouraging against Anzhi was a hat-trick from striker Roberto Soldado to end his recent goal drought. Having been left out for the previous two league matches, the Spain international will now be in contention to replace Jermain Defoe.
With the chance to move level on points with Liverpool, Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is desperate for a victory on Sunday and knows that it is likely to require stopping the in-form Suarez.
“They have a very good team with a superb striker in Suarez,” he said, according to Tottenham’s official website. “It’s true that, at the moment, maybe he’s the best player in the Premier League, but we have to show good resilience when we come up against him and against the team as a whole.
“You know when you play against a great player that you have to expect anything at any moment, so we just have to make sure that we remain focused and concentrate on our game.
“It’s important to get a good result against Liverpool and to get the three points because there is only three points’ difference between them and us.”
D: Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose
M: Sandro, Paulinho
Lennon, Holtby, Sigurdsson
D: Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan
M: Allen, Lucas
Henderson, Coutinho, Moses
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 11 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.