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Leo tips Liverpool for treble joy

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Oyvind Leonhardsen is tipping his former club Liverpool to successfully complete part three of their incredible cup treble chase.

Liverpool take on Spanish side Alaves in Dortmund on Wednesday evening four days after clinching a dramatic FA Cup final victory over Arsenal in Cardiff.

It is that combination of hard work and good fortune that sways Leo towards predicting a victory for the club he departed in 1999.

“It’s interesting and, hopefully, Liverpool will win,” pondered Leo.

“They have had a bit of luck, and that’s what you need to win things really, but I think the big teams with the big squads always get a bit of luck. It’s part of the winning habit.

“They have a good squad, can afford to have a few injuries and can change the team and the shape of the team if they need to. They are looking good, looking strong and are working hard. I know since I left that they have been working hard, they have got some new players in and suddenly this season they’ve clicked. It’s nice to see.”

Leo was at Liverpool for two seasons, during which he witnessed the arrival of Gerrard Houllier, the joint manager experiment and the departure of Roy Evans that saw Houllier left in sole charge. He is perfectly placed to assess what elements have contributed towards the Liverpool revival.

“It’s difficult to say, but of course there is the manager. He came from France changed things around and bought a lot of good players. But the talent is there with the young players — the most important players like Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. It’s important to have the homegrown players added to the experienced players like Gary McAllister and Marcus Babbel.

“Sami Hyypia has been a great buy, he’s been very important to the team and they now have a good mixture of everything that makes them good.”

Houllier was not overjoyed at the departure of a certain O. Leonhardsen, and went on record as saying how impressed he was with Leo’s attitude and commitment during a run in the side towards the end of the 1998-99 campaign.

Any regrets from the man in question? “That’s in the past - it’s about Tottenham now,” said an emphatic Leo, who also admitted to having some knowledge of his former club’s fellow UEFA Cup finalists.

“Yes, because they have a Norwegian player there, Dan Eggen - he’s a big, tall centre-half.

“He scored in the Cup against Liverpool a few years ago and knocked them out of the same competition while playing for Brondby. He’s a good header of the ball and likes to come up for set pieces.”

But will he be able to cope with the blistering pace that Owen and Emile Heskey will bring to the party?

“He’s not that quick so it might be difficult for him and, of course, that is going to be very important.

“I don’t know too much about the Spanish scene, but Alaves are struggling a bit in the league and this is their big chance. They have nothing to lose so they can go there and enjoy themselves.

“I heard from Eggen that they just play their own game and don’t worry about their opponents too much, they just go out and do their best.”

But all said and done..."I think Liverpool will win — it’s their year.”

By Richard Hubbard