Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson believes that Liverpool are faced with a season-defining match against Tottenham this weekend, with the Anfield club coming off a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Stoke.
Kenny Dalglish expressed frustration at the referee in the Britannia Stadium loss, which the Potters won through a penalty in the 21st minute.
But while Tottenham will prove a big test on Sunday, with the possible return of Steven Gerrard and the ability to move players around the pitch, Lawrenson said that Liverpool will be handed a chance to show they’re serious about challenging for a top four spot this season.
“They go to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, and while Spurs put you under pressure they do give the opposition time to play and I’d expect Liverpool to gain some reward,” Lawrenson told the Liverpool Echo.
“If Liverpool have serious ambitions of a top-four finish then they have to go to White Hart Lane and look like a team capable of winning.
“The game should see the return of Steven Gerrard. And, if fully fit, I think the skipper will go straight back into the team. There’s little point leaving him on the bench, as he’s such a good player and gets a positive reaction from those around him.”
Lawrenson also insisted that Martin Skrtel’s positioning will be an important factor in Liverpool’s tactics when they head to White Hart Lane.
“I can’t see the experiment of playing Martin Skrtel at right-back lasting too long. I understand why Dalglish played him there against Stoke because of his height,” Lawrenson argued.
“He’s not a full-back – remember Middlesbrough a few years back? – and one of Martin Kelly, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan will be the better long-term bet.”
While a result at Stoke is tough to garner for any Barclays Premier League side, Lawrenson believes how Liverpool recover from the disappointing result will define them as a team.
“It was the first of a run of four Premier League games which last season Liverpool lost, and the outcome this time around will go a long way to telling us how far the team have progressed,” he concluded.