Tottenham can reach Champions' League promised land at last


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The Independent Football

They chanted "AVB's blue-and-white army" at White Hart Lane on Thursday night and requested a wave from the manager, which he duly granted. No doubt there will be more of the same at Anfield today, for Andre Villas-Boas has won over just about all those supporters sceptical about his appointment last summer.

Just one defeat in 17 games – the FA Cup tie at Leeds – has not so much erased memories of his Chelsea connection as raised hopes that Spurs can finish above them again and claim the Champions' League place his former club stole in May.

Tottenham must also see off Arsenal, the even greater enemy, who at this point last season beat them 5-2 to begin overturning a 10-point deficit, finally pipping their neighbours to third place.

Villas-Boas believes that a rare Tottenham win at Liverpool today would also rule his former colleague Brendan Rodgers' team out of the equation. A collapse like last spring's can be avoided, he feels, because the squad have learnt their lesson and developed greater consistency.

"Even if we have a setback I think we are able to bounce back," said Villas-Boas. "The players are really up for it after what they suffered last season. What we have wanted is solid 90-minute performances. Sometimes we have had an excellent 45 minutes then not so good in the other 45 minutes.

"This last three to four games have shown us that we can be very consistent. The finishing line is in sight but the margin between fourth and fifth place is still very, very small."

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pm