King: Top four will still struggle at the Lane
LIVERPOOL will have to bring their A-Game to the Lane on Sunday, warns Ledley King, as Tottenham aim to carry last season s home form into the new campaign. Spurs have only been beaten once in N17 under Harry Redknapp...
By Ben Pearce
LIVERPOOL will have to bring their A-Game to the Lane on Sunday, warns Ledley King, as Tottenham aim to carry last season's home form into the new campaign.
Spurs have only been beaten once in N17 under Harry Redknapp, and the rearguard broke the club's all-time defensive record in front of their own fans last term.
The Lilywhites were also unbeaten against the 'Big Four' at White Hart Lane, overcoming Liverpool in both the league (2-1) and the Carling Cup (4-2) and beating Chelsea (1-0), while Manchester United and Arsenal were both held to goalless draws.
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"With the fans behind us we're a tough team to beat and the record shows that," King told Ham&High Sport. "I think we only conceded 10 goals last season, and against the top four we only conceded against Liverpool. That shows good form against those teams, and that's something to carry into this season."
Spurs' last competitive match was a 3-1 defeat to Rafa Benitez's Reds at Anfield in May, but King sees no reason why Spurs will pick up where they left off.
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However, he believes that last season's Premier League runners-up have become a slightly unknown quantity after the departure of midfielder Xabi Alonso last week, while �20million replacement Alberto Aquilani will be out of action until October.
"We haven't been talking about that defeat," said King. "We don't know what team they're going to play or what changes they're going to make from last season, and we did beat them at the Lane last season.
"It's going to be a different game to the one at Anfield, but it's going to be a tough game. We're aware of that so we're just making sure that our preparation's right.
"Alonso's a good player so I'm sure any team would miss him, but they've got a good manager who's brought in a new player, Aquilani. I've seen a bit of him and he looks good. We're yet to see how he'll settle into the team, but I'm sure they'll juggle a few things around and they'll still be a strong team.
"I'm a little bit surprised that they haven't bought another striker this summer, but obviously the manager believes in the players he's got as back-up, so it's not for me to worry about."
Should King kick off the new season against Liverpool, his chronic knee injury would immediately rule him out of the trip to Hull City next Wednesday night.
Spurs beat the Tigers 3-0 in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy in Beijing two weeks ago, but King believes that will count for nothing, and the 28-year-old is guarding against complacency.
"I think it will be a totally different game," he said. "Last season we had two tough games against Hull. We lost at home and beat them at their place. They're another tough side and they're games that we've normally not done the best in, or as well as we should have, in recent times. In the Premier League you have to be on the ball every week.
"Personally, I'm not aiming to play a certain number of games this season, just as many as I can. Obviously there's no Europa League this season for us so hopefully that will help me, and I'll get as many games as possible under my belt.