Sunday 21 December 2014

Tim Sherwood questions whether Liverpool have the stomach for title battle

Simon Peach

Published 28/03/2014 | 15:07

Tim Sherwood's side claimed a thrilling victory at White Hart Lane
Tim Sherwood

Liverpool are tantalisingly close to a first league title since 1990 but Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood has questioned whether they have the mental stamina to finish the job.

This has been quite the campaign for Brendan Rodgers' side, with just one point separating them and leaders Chelsea as the season enters the home straight.

The Reds will look to maintain their charge with an eighth successive win on Sunday when they host Spurs, whose manager knows all about what it takes to win the Premier League.

Sherwood captained Blackburn to the 1995 title, when Kenny Dalglish's side limped over the line after struggling to cope with the expectation - something he has warned could derail Liverpool.

"I think they have a real chance," the Spurs boss said. "It all depends on how they can hold their nerve, how many players they've got within their squad who have done it previously.

"Obviously Man City and Chelsea would have to be favourites because of the players they've got who have actually crossed that line and done it previously.

"But Liverpool have got from seventh last year and now they must be believing, with eight or nine games left, that they can actually win this Premier League title."

Sherwood celebrated the title with Blackburn at Anfield, despite losing their season finale there to Liverpool in May 1995.

The former midfielder has fond memories of the stadium, which he said was the "home of football" back then.

Sherwood joked leaving with a 3-0 defeat used to be a decent result for visiting sides, but Spurs do not go there with anything like that approach this weekend.

"We don't want to lose by three or five, we want to go there and win," he said.

"The pressure is on Liverpool and you sensed it a little bit the other night, when Sunderland got back in the game.

"After winning so many titles in their time they're very close, one point off the top.

"They're absolutely flying, they've got a strike partnership who are the best the Premier League has seen for a very long time, and they've given themselves a real chance.

"Now they have to believe that they've got something there that might fall through their grasp and might slip away.

"Believe me that's a really bad feeling to have, because perhaps you don't play with the freedom that you normally played with earlier on in the season."

Tottenham will again be without Kyle Walker, Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue for the trip to Anfield, although Emmanuel Adebayor could return from a gashed heel.

"He's confident that he'll be okay," Sherwood said. "He knows his body better than we do so let's hope he's right with that prediction."

As well as preparing for the daunting prospect of stopping Liverpool, Sherwood again had to field questions about his future in the pre-match press conference.

It was announced on Friday that Guus Hiddink will take the post as Netherlands manager after this summer's World Cup, replacing Louis van Gaal.

The outgoing boss has made no secret of his desire to come to the Premier League and is bookmakers' favourite to become Tottenham's next manager.

"The pressure is always there for a manager of Tottenham just to continue to do well and win games," Sherwood said when asked about the latest development.

"You know, there is obviously going to be a lot of managers that would wish to take this job. I am the man in control at the moment and it is up to them to come and get it.

"There is no guarantee - anyone could be the best manager elsewhere, whatever country he comes from, and there is no guarantee he can ever do it at Tottenham.

"If the glove doesn't fit, sometimes it doesn't work."

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