Defoe could return despite Soldado hat-trick

Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas insists Jermain Defoe could play against Liverpool, despite Roberto Soldado's hat-trick on Thursday.

The Spain international striker was in superb form as Tottenham finished their UEFA Europa League Group K campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Anzhi Makhachkala, preserving the club's 100 per cent winning record in the pool stages.

Soldado had not been on the scoresheet prior to Thursday's encounter since bagging the only goal in Tottenham's 1-0 Premier League fixture with Hull City at the end of October.

The 28-year-old's barren run saw him lose his spot in the starting XI to Defoe in the side's last two top-flight matches, which resulted in 2-1 victories over Fulham and Sunderland.

And despite the former Valencia man ending his lean spell against Anzhi, Villas-Boas could opt to retain faith in England international Defoe when his team welcome Liverpool to White Hart Lane on Sunday.

"We have to think about it," he said. "It's a bit premature. We always wanted to give this game to Roberto after two games in a row for Jermain, who was deserving his chance as well.

"Now it's about putting (together) the best possible strategy for the game and seeing what we can do.

"What this will help is put the player (Soldado) back with confidence with his final touch and a striker always lives off goals so it's extremely important."

Villas-Boas could be set for a reunion with former club Porto in the Europa League knockout stages, a club with which he lifted the trophy in 2011.

But the Portuguese admits it is a scenario he would like to avoid.

He added: "It is possible. On a personal level I wouldn't like that. Our aim is to go all the way to the final and  I wouldn't like that.

"I have tremendous gratitude to the club and I'm a great fan so hopefully that doesn't happen until the final."


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