Liverpool played out a drab draw against United last weekend and now they’ve got to go to a resilient Spurs side to try and get themselves back into contention for a top four position. Liverpool will be confident though, after putting 7 goals past Maribor in the Champions League, and they’ve historically had good results against Spurs. Can Pochettino’s players build on their first home victory by adding another against quality opposition?
The Game Changers:
Kane v Lovren/Matip: The Spurs talisman has been in confident goal-scoring form and should fancy his chances against Liverpool’s often shaky defence. Lovren and Matip did a fantastic job of dealing with Lukaku last week, though, so they may feel confident of their ability to address Kane’s similar threat. Kane is less dependent on his physicality though, and has sharper movement in and around the box that Liverpool’s centre-backs will need to watch out for.
Salah v Vertonghen: Due to Sadio Mané’s absence Liverpool’s best wide forward option is Mo Salah, and he’ll likely be coming face to face with Vertonghen, whether Pochettino plays three or four at the back. Vertonghen is a capable left back as well as centre-back, so he’ll need to shackle Salah to neutralise any Liverpool attacks down the left. Salah is quite a quick player though, and Vertonghen lacks pace so it could be a chink in Spurs’ defensive armour if Salah can expose the Belgian.
Eriksen/Alli v Henderson/ Çan: Eriksen is often Spurs’ creative outlet, and he’s a specialist at finding open space to exploit. Henderson and Çan are hard working in midfield, and usually do a good job of closing down spaces that could expose their defenders. Alli is a handful and covers a lot of ground, so the Liverpool midfield will need to have a disciplined approach to keep him from getting in the box and testing Mignolet.
3 Things to Watch
Liverpool’s Record: Liverpool haven’t been beaten by Tottenham since November of 2012, and in the ten fixtures since that time Liverpool has recorded seven victories. The recent trend seems to emphatically point to a Liverpool win.
Kane’s Set Piece Impact? Harry Kane is without a doubt the biggest goal threat for Spurs, and he’s sitting on six league goals this season already. Due to Liverpool’s fragility at set pieces, Kane’s presence at corners and free kicks should be a dangerous outlet that Pochettino might look to use to get the most out of Kane.
Spurs Scorers: If Liverpool try and focus too much attention on Harry Kane it will open up opportunities for other players to get into dangerous positions. The likes of Eriksen, Alli, Son, or Sissoko could get on the score sheet because Liverpool’s defence is preoccupied with crowding out Kane.
Liverpool are joined on 13 points by Chelsea, Arsenal, and Burnley, and find themselves lagging four points behind Spurs. If Klopp wants his team to stay in contention for any kind of improvement over their position last season, he cannot afford a loss or a draw this weekend. Spurs will come into this match confident after they managed a gritty 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in their midweek Champions League game, but their record against Liverpool might be weighing heavily on their minds. Will Liverpool keep their unbeaten streak going or can Pochettino finally get some points against the Reds?
Predicted Score: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 2 Liverpool
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