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Mar 28, 2014

Sherwood: Liverpool feeling title heat

LONDON -- Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood believes Liverpool "have a real chance" to win this season’s Premier League title, but he has questioned whether Brendan Rodgers' side have what it takes to handle the pressure heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

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Sherwood’s side travel to Anfield on Sunday, with the Spurs boss convinced his side can secure a strong result against Liverpool who he believes started to show signs of title-chasing nerves in their 2-1 win against Sunderland on Wednesday night.

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Sherwood has come under pressure himself, with outgoing Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal being tipped to replace him.

“I think they have a real chance [to win the title], but it all depends on how they can hold their nerve,” Sherwood said.

“Obviously Manchester City and Chelsea would have to be favourites because of the players they’ve got who have actually crossed that line and done it previously.

“Liverpool have gone from seventh last year and now they must be believing, with eight or nine games left, that they can actually win this Premier League title.

“I’d still tip Man City. They have got that firepower, as well as Liverpool have. It just boils down to whether Liverpool can cope in the run-in, because it is nothing like anything else.

“Now they have to believe that they’ve got something there that might fall through their grasp and might slip away, and believe me, that’s a really bad feeling to have, because perhaps you don’t play with the freedom that you normally played with earlier on in the season.”

Sherwood suspects Liverpool’s less than convincing display against relegation-haunted Sunderland in their most recent fixture was the first sign that the Reds have started to think about the opportunity that lies in front of them with seven games of the season left to play.

“The pressure is on Liverpool and you sensed it a little bit the other night, when Sunderland got back into the game,” said Sherwood, who won the Premier League title as Blackburn skipper in 1995.

“After winning so many titles in their time they’re very close, one point off the top. They’re absolutely flying, they’ve got a strike partnership who are the best the Premier League has seen for a very long time, and they’ve given themselves a real chance.

“Whatever has gone before, now that you guys [in the media] have been talking about them in terms of winning the title, it makes a hell of a lot of difference when you’re warming up and you’re going out there and the expectancy is on you.

“I know that myself from doing it. At one stage we were well clear with a game in hand when we won the title [at Blackburn]. We managed to scrape through at the last. We were shot and we managed to get over the line.

“People started talking about us as title winners and that is coming from a side who finished fourth and then second and then first. Not going from seventh to first. It will be very interesting to see how they cope with it.”

Sherwood confirmed that striker Emmanuel Adebayor is set to return to his line-up after recovering from a gashed shin, but Kyle Walker, Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue are all still out.

 

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