Tim Sherwood talks Liverpool’s fans, Anfield & Tottenham’s identity

Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood speaks about his respect for Liverpool fans and affection for Anfield

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood expects Liverpool to pay credit to his Tottenham side even if Spurs win at Anfield and deliver a potentially critical blow to the Reds’s Premier League title ambitions on Sunday.

The 45-year-old understandably has fond memories of Liverpool’s home ground after the Tottenham manager experienced the highlight of his playing career and collected the Premier League trophy at the world-famous stadium in 1995.

Sherwood captained Kenny Dalglish’s expensively-assembled side to the top-flight crown on the final day of the season, with their 2-1 defeat proving immaterial as Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United failed to beat West Ham United.

I thought it [Anfield] was the place that invented football when I was going growing up as a kid and I’ve always loved going back there

Tim Sherwood

“I remember how respectful they [the Liverpool fans] were. They all stayed. Obviously they didn’t want Manchester United to win the league. But they all stayed and clapped as we paraded the trophy,” Sherwood said.

“I’ve always found that Liverpool fans have been very respectful towards good football sides.

“Even on Sunday I think you’ll find that if we play well, they’ll be bitterly disappointed but they do appreciate teams who go there and play good football even if they do take points.”

Such is Sherwood’s affection for Anfield, the Spurs boss surveyed his squad at the club’s training ground on Friday to discover which members of his side had previously experienced the special feeling of running out to Liverpool’s famous anthem.

“I was just interested to see how many had played there,” he said. “Because when they start singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, my hair still stands up on the back of my neck.

“I thought it was the place that invented football when I was going growing up as a kid and I’ve always loved going back there.”

Liverpool fans have experienced scant domestic glory since Sherwood’s Blackburn were crowned champions at Anfield almost a decade ago, with the Reds finishing in a Premier League-best second place in 2009.

However, under Brendan Rodgers, the Reds supporters look set to be rewarded for their patience, especially during a tricky start under the Northern Irishman, with Liverpool a point behind leaders Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s clash.

But Sherwood refused to criticise any impatient Tottenham fans frustrated by a thoroughly disappointing season which culminated in Andre Villas-Boas’s sacking in December.

He said: “Why should Tottenham fans be patient after seeing their club spend £111m? They are going to expect instant success and why shouldn’t they?”

At the moment we don’t play with an identity that I want

Tim Sherwood

Rodgers has stamped his mark on the Merseyside club in a manner that Manchester United fans hoped the likes of Jurgen Klopp or Jose Mourinho would have done at Old Trafford before David Moyes was appointed last summer.

Sherwood, who was handed a contract until the end of the 2014-15 season after replacing Andre Villas-Boas in December, hopes to give Spurs an identity if the 45-year-old is afforded time amid speculation Louis Van Gaal could replace him this summer.

“At the moment we don’t play with an identity that I want,” he said. “There has been no time to work on that, so it’s just about going out and getting as many points as we can during this period since Christmas and this [v Liverpool] is about the same.”

If Sherwood can surpass Blackburn’s efforts in 1995 and win on Sunday, the Tottenham head coach could get the chance to mould Spurs in his image over the summer.

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