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Rampant Tottemham takes on Liverpool in Premier League with 2nd-place Man City in sight

03/08/2013 09:52 EST | Updated 05/08/2013 05:12 EDT
LONDON - After enhancing its status as the new power in London, Tottenham can set about disrupting the hegemony of the two big guns from Manchester by beating Liverpool in the English Premier League's standout match this weekend.

The Tottenham of recent years would be starting to fade at this stage of the season but the class of 2013, led by Gareth Bale, has a tougher look to it.

The team is on the brink of the Europa League quarterfinals after a convincing 3-0 win over Inter Milan in the first leg of the last 16 on Thursday, while a 12-match unbeaten run has lifted Spurs to third place in the Premier League, above London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

With second-place Manchester City in FA Cup action this weekend, Tottenham can move within two points of the champions with a win at Anfield on Sunday.

"It is a great time to be at the club, we are playing with great players and the sky is the limit," Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe said. "It is the winning mentality that I think we have got now. In games when things aren't going great, everyone gets stuck in and just keeps going, it is a good thing to have.

"We've not just got a great team now, but a great squad."

The match will see the two in-form forwards in the Premier League — Bale and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez — go head-to-head.

By scoring against Inter, Bale took his haul to 11 goals in his past nine games in all competitions. Suarez's hat trick in the 4-0 win at Wigan last weekend put him at the top of the league's scoring chart with 21 and saw him become only the third Liverpool player, after Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres, to pass 20 goals in a Premier League campaign.

British media reported Friday that Suarez's exploits have earned him a pay raise, allegedly doubling his weekly salary from 40,000 pounds ($60,000) a week to 80,000 pounds ($120,000) a week.

"I don't know if I am in the very best scoring form of my life, but certainly I am enjoying a bit of what every striker needs and that is a little bit of luck," Suarez said. "Last season, chances weren't going in, whereas this year they are."

Liverpool hasn't given up hope of finishing in the top four, even though it is 12 points behind Tottenham heading into Sunday's match.

"We've been in good form recently and it's a good opportunity to reduce the gap between ourselves and Spurs," Suarez said. "There is a slight chance we can make Champions League football — and if we want to do that, this is the sort of game we need to win."

Tottenham, which has won only twice at Anfield in the Premier League era, could be without Aaron Lennon after the winger went off against Inter with a hamstring injury, but striker Emmanuel Adebayor is back in the squad after a knee problem.

With the rest of the Premier League's top teams on FA Cup duty or having the weekend off, the focus elsewhere will be on the fight against relegation.

Queens Park Rangers could finally climb off the bottom on Saturday if it beats Sunderland and next-to-last Reading loses at home to Aston Villa, the other team in the relegation zone.

QPR looked doomed when Harry Redknapp took over November, but there is now hope.

"We need a run of wins. We need another five wins at least I think," said Redknapp, whose side has 20 points from 28 games. "We need to win half our games and get a draw or two and get to 37 points.

"I would take 37 points now and walk away. I'd take my chances."

Also Saturday, Norwich hosts fifth-from-bottom Southampton and Swansea travels to West Bromwich Albion. On Sunday, Newcastle hosts Stoke.

The highlight of the FA Cup quarterfinals is Man United's home match against Chelsea on Sunday, with all eyes on whether Wayne Rooney will return to United's lineup after being dropped for the Champions League match against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

United manager Alex Ferguson said Rooney will be involved but didn't confirm if the striker would start.

Man City hosts Barnsley, Everton plays Wigan, while a second-tier side is assured of a trip to Wembley Stadium for the semifinals with Millwall taking on Blackburn.

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