Sport Soccer

Monday 20 November 2017

Downing claims Liverpool duo will give Spurs 'nightmares'

Luis Suarez in action against Wigan last weekend
Luis Suarez in action against Wigan last weekend

Carl Markham

LIVERPOOL look set to unleash their "nightmare" strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge on Champions League-chasing Tottenham this weekend.

Sturridge has not played since he scored in the 5-0 victory over Swansea on February 17 due to ineligibility in the Europa League and a thigh injury.


However, he returned to training this week and is on course to regain his place in the starting line-up alongside Suarez, whose hat-trick against Wigan last weekend made him the league's leading scorer with 21.


The pair have scored seven times in six appearances together with Sturridge (five goals in seven matches) making an instant impact since his £12million January move from Chelsea.


Winger Stewart Downing believes the duo's different strengths, in addition to their combined goal threat, makes their partnership a "nightmare" for defenders.


"We can't keep relying on Luis for goals and you need someone else to chip in," said the England international.


"I think Daniel has been a good signing for us and although we missed him against Wigan, in the games he has played he gives us something different.


"The way they play, he (Sturridge) is on the (centre-back's) shoulder with Luis coming off, they are a nightmare for defenders.


"If we can get a good partnership with them going then we have a chance."


The visit of Spurs is the Reds' only encounter against a team in the top half of the table until they host Chelsea and former boss Rafael Benitez on April 21.


There is a 12-point gap between Brendan Rodgers' side and Spurs, who have overtaken Chelsea to move into third place on the back of a Gareth Bale-inspired four-game winning run.


Liverpool's last home fixture, the 5-0 win over Swansea, was the first time they had beaten a team in the top 10, so they must now progress and secure a victory against one of the current top six.


With Champions League qualification still 10 points out of their reach, the focus at Anfield is on the next match, and Rodgers is keen to concentrate on that rather than talk up their chances of a late challenge for the top four.


Downing is of the same opinion but knows victory over Tottenham would be a major boost for their run-in.


"If we can beat them we'll keep chopping away at them," he said.


"There's no point saying we want to finish fifth or sixth. We've just got to try and win our games and see what happens.


"It's going to be a great game. They've got good offensive players and the way we're playing at the minute, we can get goals.


"They will know they are in for a tough game. We played them off the park at White Hart Lane.


"I know we lost but if you look at the game I don't know how we lost - a great game to play in.


"The way we're playing and the way they're playing, it's set up for a good game. I'm confident we can get a win."

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