Thursday 22 March 2018

Crouch says Spurs better than Reds class of '07

John Ley

When it comes to the small matter of European football, rangy striker Peter Crouch is a bit of an expert.

So, when he claims that the Tottenham squad are stronger, man for man, than the Liverpool one which reached the Champions League final in 2007, it is time to take notice of Harry Redknapp's new dawn at White Hart Lane.

On Wednesday Spurs booked their place among Europe's elite, confirming a berth in the last 16 of a competition that is conspicuous by the absence of Liverpool.

Confined to the relative sideshow that is the Europa League, Liverpool travel to north London on Sunday to face a burgeoning Spurs team who have both the Premier League and Europe in their sights.

Crouch, who has scored 17 goals in his last 28 appearances in the Champions League for Liverpool and Spurs said: "We had some great individuals when I was at Liverpool and we managed to reach a Champions League final, which was fantastic.

"But I don't think I've played with a better group of players than we have here at Tottenham now. It's not just that. We have a young squad. We have so many international players waiting to get a game, it's just a pleasure to be part of it."

Crouch's latest European goal against Bremen confirmed what Redknapp has been saying for some time; this Spurs team have enough quality to threaten the best, as already proved against holders Inter Milan.

"When the draw came up with Inter Milan it could have been a lot easier," added Crouch, "but we've got such quality in our dressing room that we shouldn't be afraid of anyone.

"I said that right from the start when I came to this club, when I looked around the dressing-room," he argued.

Having had the experience of the best knockout tournament in club football, Spurs like the taste, but don't want to campaign on only one front.

Crouch added: "Last season finishing fourth was a great achievement, but we can do better this time.

"It's exciting stuff. We don't want to get too carried away, but it's looking good."

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, has suggested it would be a "surprise" if his team beat Spurs on Sunday.

"Though just three points separate the two sides and only Manchester United have garnered more points over the last six games than Liverpool, the 63-year-old former Fulham boss insisted that his team travel to London as overwhelming underdogs.

"One defeat in eight is a good run at any stage of the season. We have to be happy with that, but we are not stupid," Hodgson said.


"Wins are hard to come by against the top teams and we have got to admit that Tottenham are a top team now."

Liverpool are tracking a number of players at French club Lille, with central defender Adil Rami a possible target for the January transfer window.

Rami, who played for France against England at Wembley last week, has become a permanent fixture for Laurent Blanc's Les Bleus and Hodgson saw him play in the 2-1 win over Monaco which took Lille to the top of the French League.

Forwards Gervinho and Eden Hazard, who was responsible for both Lille goals, were others to catch Hodgson's eye.

Hazard also impressed hugely in the first leg of Liverpool's Europa League tie at Stade-Lille Metropole last season, though Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli -- who left Saint Etienne to take the job at Anfield -- is all too aware of the £30m price tag which prevented Lyons signing him this summer.

Liverpool have confirmed that Tom Werner, John W Henry's co-owner at Liverpool and chairman of New England Sports Ventures, will succeed Martin Broughton as the club's chairman on December 1.

Broughton said of his task: "It was more difficult (a challenge than expected). I think the low point was pretty early on, when we had a situation with unpopular owners, the manager (Rafael Benitez) going, stories about Stevie (Gerrard) wanting to go, stories about Fernando (Torres) wanting to go. That looked a pretty uncomfortable position at the time."

Gerrard, meanwhile, is targeting the home match against Aston Villa on Sunday week for his comeback, which means he will have missed only three games with his hamstring pull sustained on international duty. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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