Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Downing: Reds will give Spurs nightmares

Daniel Sturridge, left, and Luis Suarez, right, have scored seven times in six appearances together
Daniel Sturridge, left, and Luis Suarez, right, have scored seven times in six appearances together

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 the win over Swansea on February 17, but 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.

Winger Stewart Downing believes the duo's different strengths makes their partnership a "nightmare" for defenders, and he said: "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."

He added: "We can't keep relying on Luis for goals and you need someone else to chip in. 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 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. We played them off the park at White Hart Lane."

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