• Premier League

AVB: Liverpool clash is litmus test

ESPN staff
December 11, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham are "back on track" © Getty Images

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is targeting Sunday's Premier League home clash with second-placed Liverpool as a key fixture in his side's push for a top four finish.

Spurs have collected one point more than they had managed at the same stage of last season, yet the mood around the club has been less optimistic, with talk in the media that Villas-Boas's position as manager was under threat causing a stir last month.

However, the Tottenham boss is eager to promote a vibe of positivity ahead of Sunday's vital game against Liverpool, as Villas-Boas again claimed suggestions of a crisis at his club following their 6-0 defeat at Manchester City last month were widely exaggerated.

Wins against Fulham and Sunderland in their last two Premier League outings have quelled any sense of concern at Tottenham for now, with Villas-Boas stating those back-to-back away victories have laid the platform for a crucial battle with Liverpool.

"Those results [against Fulham and Sunderland] have put us one point better off than what we had [at this stage] last season, so again it puts us back on track," said Villas-Boas. "We have this wonderful situation against Liverpool that if we win we go level on points with them, a team that has started so brilliantly.

"So straight away we have a comparison there. After all we have been through, to go level on points with a team that has been so magnificent shows that, in the end, we are not so far off.

"Also, bearing in mind the season before, it was in this fixture [last December] that we lost against Everton so, if we win, we will be four points better off than we were last season, which would be outstanding."

Villas-Boas hopes to have Christian Eriksen back for the game on Sunday, with the player set to be involved in the Europa League game against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday night after a quicker than expected return to fitness following an ankle injury.

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