10 February 2015, 20:00 GMT
Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. Both the teams are looking for the win to to ensure that top 4 continues to be in their reach. Tottenham enter this game at the back of a wonderful 2-1 win over Arsenal in the North London Derby. This victory would certainly have given Pochettino’s men a lot of confidence and they will be looking for revenge against the Liverpool side that thumped them 3-0 at White Hart Lane early on in the season. Liverpool are also in great form at the moment and have not lost a single league game in 2015.
Team News& Tactical Brief
Brendan Rodgers clarified in his pre-match conference that Sterling, Coutinho and Lallana would be fit for the game, but Lucas would miss a few weeks. This comes as a blow to the side as the Brazilian has been a big part of Liverpool’s current form and recent defensive strength. Joe Allen is likely to be fielded in his place and is an evident downgrade on the 28 year old Lucas. However, Allen has the ability to put in a strong foot and would look to take Lucas’s injury as an opportunity to do well and cement his position in the squad. The former Swansea player should take inspiration from Mamadou Sakho as the Frenchman found himself wanting for chances and capitalized extremely well when Dejan Lovren got injured.
After three appearances from the bench, Daniel Sturridge is likely to start the game. This would mean that Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho would be operated behind the English forward. The midfield is likely to comprise Jordan Henderson – expected to lead the team – and Joe Allen. In the possible and probable absence of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson would be able to play more naturally and could prove to be a big difference in the side. Jordan Ibe could start ahead of Lazar Markovic after a great game against Everton, while Alberto Moreno (who scored a great goal in the reverse fixture) would continue on the left side. The back 3 would be the same with Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho doing a great job at the back. Simon Mignolet looks a completely different goalkeeper in the last few weeks and he would continue between the posts.
Spurs are a different team altogether than the side that Liverpool comfortably disposed off back in August so Rodgers’ team would have to work much harder to get a win in the game. The midfield would need to dominate proceedings and Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson would need to help the defenders by winning the battle in the middle of the park. Spurs possess an incredible attack with Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane being in great form. Their midfield also looks much stronger with the introduction of Ryan Mason. Liverpool’s three man back-line would also need to come on top against these attackers and contain the threat of Harry Kane, who looks unstoppable at the moment. Whether Rodgers’ decides to man-mark him or not, all three – Can, Skrtel and Sakho – would need to make sure Kane is not given even a little space to capitalize.
Probable Line-up (3-4-2-1): Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Ibe, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Sterling, Coutinho; Sturridge
Spurs look like an absolutely different beast from what they did three or four months back. Mauricio Pochettino’s plan with the club looks like its getting a lot of rewards right now. In 2015, his side have had two huge victories against Chelsea and Arsenal and could make it three by winning against Liverpool.
The Argentinean is likely to keep the same team against the Merseysiders. Tottenham’s fitness levels this season have been incredible and have been a huge factor in the side’s great current run. Spurs have no injury concerns ahead of this game which means that Pochettino can choose his strongest eleven. The manager has recently used the 4-2-3-1 successfully and would persist with this set-up that has got him results. Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose would form the defence of the team. Hugo Lloris, who had a great game against Arsenal, would undoubtedly continue in goal. Nabil Bentaleb will be important in protecting what is often, a vulnerable back-line. Bentaleb would be in confident mood after setting up Harry Kane’s winner against Arsenal with a delightful ball. Ryan Mason would be alongside him in the midfield and the two would need to ensure Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard or Joe Allen can’t link play with the likes of Coutinho and Sterling. Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli would be the three attackers behind Harry Kane and complete the impressive attack.
Liverpool’s current most in-form player is Philippe Coutinho and the visitors should look to contain him. Everton frustrated the Brazilian in the Merseyside derby and the same should be done by Spurs. Coutinho is playing wonderfully at the moment and is a huge threat in the attack with his creativity and vision. If he is shut out, the likes of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge would be devoid of supply and the hosts could be left frustrated. Spurs should not sit back and attack from the offset. If they could get an early goal, the Reds could be left wanting. Liverpool’s defence has been rock solid lately, but a big reason for that was Lucas Leiva’s contributions. With him out, Spurs could penetrate into the box and their attacking quartet could make Rodgers’ side’s life very tough.
Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentalab, Mason; Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli; Kane
- The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 home league games against Spurs (W13, D6, L1).
- Liverpool have not conceded a single goal in their last three games against Spurs, whilst scoring 12 goals up the other end. The last goal Spurs scored against the Reds was Jan Vertonghen’s second in the 53rd minute back in March 2013, which Tottenham eventually lost 3-2.
- Spurs have taken 18 points from goals scored in the last 15 minutes of games this season. They have won two of their last three league games after the 85th minute.
- Liverpool have not lost a league game since December 14th 2014 (W5, D3). Spurs have lost suffered just one defeat (2-1 vs Crystal Palace, 10th Jan) in their last 10 Premier League games.
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Everyone associated with English Premier League – players, managers, fans – have one name on their tongues presently. Harry Kane. The Englishman is in fantastic form and scored both goals against arch-rivals Arsenal last weekend. Not to forget, he put up a sensational performance against Chelsea which goes on to show that Kane doesn’t go missing in big games. Expect Kane to do the same against Liverpool and make sure his side are a step closer to a top 4 finish in the league.
Liverpool 2 Tottenham 2
Liverpool have not beaten a team in the top six since their victory over Tottenham in August. They’ve had ups and downs since, and in their resurgence, they’ve done a good job of beating the teams below them but, apart from their home draw against Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final and draw against Arsenal in the Premier League, they’ve not had great results against the top sides. Brendan Rodgers acknowledged the need to win this game in his pre-match conference and said that the absence of a win could ‘blow everything away from where we want to finish’. Tottenham are currently in emphatic form and are being considered as one of the favorites to finish in the Champions League spots. Hence, this could be a nail biting encounter. Expect this to go down till the last whistle and for a possible draw with enough goals to make a great overall game.