11 games to go for Tottenham Hotspur, and a big month awaits in the race for fourth place.
Sherwood said after yesterday’s defeat: ‘(The gap) looks big. It's a real blow to us.
‘It’s the first major setback I’ve had and we need to bounce back and show what we are made of.’
Not only is it the gap of six points, but it is also the gap between the two sides’ respective goal-differences.
Is the gap completely impossible to overhaul? Some are saying it may now be too big a task for the men from White Hart Lane, especially if they sustain their Europa League campaign.
The two sides meet at Anfield at the end of March. Between now and then Liverpool have three away games to contend with, visiting Southampton, Manchester United and Cardiff City.
One of those games Liverpool are certainly expected to win in South Wales. At Southampton last season they were undone, as they were by the Saints at Anfield this season, whilst their record at Old Trafford in recent years is poor as Manchester United will also look to show they are still in the race for Champions League qualification. It is not the easiest run for the Reds.
If Spurs can close the gap to Liverpool over the next month by any margin, then their match at Anfield becomes all the more vital.
Though Tottenham’s run of fixtures in March seem to be difficult, and yesterday’s loss may have come at the worst possible time. They’ll be expected to take all three points against a Cardiff City side which was hammered 4-0 at home by Hull City – but a tricky run of games between now and their meeting at Anfield includes a visit to Stamford Bridge to Chelsea before they host Arsenal and Southampton.
Liverpool have a couple of troublesome home fixtures after playing Spurs, with both Manchester City and Chelsea visiting Anfield in April. With Liverpool not playing in the second weekend of March as a result of Sunderland’s participation in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, there is an opportunity for Spurs to put a degree of pressure on Liverpool.
For Spurs, the gap needs to be down to at least three points when they visit Anfield, because if they were to leave that game breathing down their necks, it could be an interesting finish.
The race for fourth is far from over, and the gap can be made up, provided they are consistent.
image: © HITC