Title contenders Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are set to square off at Anfield as the two look to keep up with runaway leaders Chelsea.
Liverpool enjoyed a fascinating start to the 2016/17 season and proved to everyone that they were in for the long haul and set to challenge the top English sides for the Premier League this season. Jurgen Klopp set his players out to play a high pressing game and most teams failed to cope up with their athleticism.
However, clubs soon started to figure out a way to beat the press, which has eventually seen the Reds struggle to keep up pace with the Premier League’s chasing pack. Injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson along with the absence of Sadio Mane due to the African Cup of Nations has seen struggle to pick up three points on a regular basis.
Tottenham Hotspur, their opponents on Saturday, are enjoying a contrasting run of form, and are now considered as the only team that can mount a realistic challenge on the Premier League, with Chelsea already having a hand on the trophy.
The likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele have all clicked, giving Spurs dynamism in the final third. Despite playing away from home, they can be optimistic of their chances of coming away with three points, given Liverpool’s struggles in all competitions since the turn of the year.
Liverpool are likely to start in a 4-3-3 shape with Dejan Lovren returning to the fray to partner Joel Matip. In midfield, Jordan Henderson will look to pull strings alongside the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.
An attacking triplet of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Phlippe Coutinho is probably the best option for Jurgen Klopp. Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge could join the fray in the second half if things don’t work out the way the gaffer wanted prior to kick-off.
For the visitors, Ben Davies will continue as left-back due to the absence of Danny Rose. Kyle Walker, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld will join the Welshman in the Spurs defence that will look to keep off the attacking threat of the Reds.
Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele have been solid in midfield and are likely to start as a double pivot. Dele Alli is expected to play in behind Harry Kane with Christian Eriksen and Son providing threat from the wings.
- Liverpool and Tottenham have contested 167 competitive matches during their respective histories with the Merseysiders leading overall courtesy of 79 wins to 47 defeats and 41 draws.
- Recent meetings heavily favour the Reds with Liverpool on an eight game unbeaten run against Spurs in the Premier League (W5, D3); they last went nine without defeat against the Londoners in March 1998.
- Tottenham’s record at Anfield is particularly poor with 15 of their 24 visits in the Premier League ending in defeat (W2, D7) – they have only lost more often at Old Trafford (20) and Stamford Bridge (16).
- Liverpool usually score when these two meet; their tally of 83 Premier League goals against Spurs since 1992/93 is only surpassed by the 88 they’ve managed against Newcastle United.
- Despite a good record against the Merseysiders whilst at Southampton, Mauricio Pochettino has not beaten Liverpool since taking over at White Hart Lane (D3 L3), losing the most recent meeting in an EFL Cup encounter in October.
- Liverpool have scored 12 penalties against Spurs in the Premier League – the most by a team against an opponent in the history of the competition.
- Speaking of spot-kicks, the Reds have scored more times from 12-yards than any other Premier League side this season (6), all converted by James Milner.
Watch out for
Sadio Mane’s return from the African Cup of Nations has not ignited Liverpool’s revival just as yet, but Klopp will be hoping to see more from the Senegalese winger in a huge fixture against Spurs. The former Southampton star has been an integral cog of the Reds attack and has formed an exceptional understanding with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino up front. He will be looking to return to his prolific best with a solid performance against the North London side on Saturday.
Liverpool 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
The game between the two attacking sides is certainly set to provide a lot of thrilling moments throughout the ninety minutes. Both teams will look to move the ball quickly into the channels and constantly attack the opposition goal. Goals are expected to come from both teams, but Spurs’ recent form and their strong starting eleven could give them the edge over their opponents.