Three reasons why Tottenham will pip Liverpool to top-four finish
Steven Prince cites Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge as key protagonists in top-four race
Kane is a man on-form
The man who can do no wrong. The current incumbent of English football’s darling and best hope for the future, Harry Kane is unquestionably Spurs’ greatest revelation of this season. Unlike with some, the one-time Football Manager wonderkid is fulfilling this promise, becoming his club’s top scorer in the process. The England Under-21 forward has scored 22 goals in all competitions – 12 in the Premier League, which is four times as many as Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado combined. What makes Kane such a great promise for the future is his all-round game and his ability to score all manner of goals – the frequency of which has undoubtedly brought smiles to the White Hart Lane faithful this season. Against Arsenal, he caused Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker enough problems it gave Gunnersaurus a toothache and both his goals in the north London derby showed his prowess. How effective will Kane be against Liverpool’s back three though? Martin Skrtel will have his work cut out tomorrow if Citizen Kane delivers around all-star performance.
Replacing Gerrard is of greater importance to Liverpool
The fabled top four is the benchmark of a successful season for any of the top-seven sides posturing for those positions. Liverpool, however, have a much bigger elephant looming in Anfield’s infamous Boot Room. Since bursting onto the scene in the late nineties, Steven Gerrard has become as synonymous with football club as The Beatles are with the same city. The 34-year-old may not be the tour de force he once was, but his leadership skills and general cult of personality at the club are essentially irreplaceable. Liverpool, as a club, need to find a replacement for Gerrard and this should be their prerogative this season. Joe Allen has not performed as well as he did in south Wales under Brendan Rodgers. Jordan Henderson may seem like the heir apparent to the club captaincy but he lacks the drive and ability to grab games by the scruff of the neck like Gerrard has done so often in the past. Liverpool will have other chances to achieve a top-four finish and higher in the future, but the chance to replace the iconic Gerrard will come only once. It is vital they get it right – over 100 goals from midfield is hard to find.
Sturridge return comes to late
Daniel Sturridge was one half of Liverpool’s prominent SAS partnership from last season, when his goals, along with a certain Uruguayan’s contribution, nearly guided the Reds to a first title since 1990. The former Chelsea forward has been sidelined for most of 2014/15, only scoring two goals from four appearances. His absence fuelled the club to sign Mario Balotelli, whose performances have been generally poor since moving to Anfield. Sturridge’s absence has forced Raheem Sterling to play centrally and the England wide man is less effective in this position. As there are just 12 games remaining, Sturridge needs to try his best to regain full fitness and avoiding a recurrence of his injury while scoring goals to boost his side’s chances of making the top-four. But his return comes too little, too late for Liverpool, especially as their Tuesday night rivals have their own English goal machine.