Gameweek 5 in the Premier League begins with a blockbuster clash as Tottenham Hostpur welcome Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday afternoon
The first international break of the season is behind us, with Premier League football set to return this weekend. And, the action resumes with a mouthwatering fixture between two potential title contenders, as Tottenham play hosts to league leaders Liverpool in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.
Tottenham had made a strong start to the 2018-19 season, winning each of their first three games, including an impressive 3-0 defeat of Manchester United. But, their momentum was halted as high flying Watford beat Mauricio Pochettino’s men by the odd goal in three before the international break.
On the other hand, there has been no stopping Liverpool in the initial stages of the campaign, with Jurgen Klopp’s men enjoying a perfect start after the first four gameweeks. On Saturday though, the Reds will be aiming to start a top-flight campaign with five successive wins for only the third time in their history.
The corresponding fixture last season was one of the low points in Liverpool’s campaign, as Tottenham handed Jurgen Klopp & co. a humbling 4-1 defeat at Wembley. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pochettino has been dealt a cruel double blow ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Wembley on Saturday. The Tottenham boss could be without as many as six first-team players due to various injury problems. But, the biggest absentees for the hosts will be Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham captain Lloris remains unavailable due to a thigh injury that will keep him out for several weeks. Alli on the other hand, is out with a hamstring injury he sustained while on international duty with England last week, and his ability to make the difference in big games will be sorely missed by Spurs.
Michel Vorm should be the chosen one to continue filling Lloris’s huge void between the sticks, while Alli is likely to be replaced by Son Heung-min, who is back in the first-team squad following his Asian Games commitment with South Korea last month.
The likes of Moussa Sissoko (hamstring), Vincent Janssen (foot) and Juan Foyth (thigh) are the other Tottenham players on the treatment table, while Erik Lamela is doubtful due to a hamstring injury of his own.
Other than the forced changes, the big decision that Pochettino will grapple with will surround the choice of the formation. The Tottenham manager could either look to nip the intrinsic risk in the bud by starting Mousa Dembele in a midfield pivot alongside Eric Dier, or deploy a back-three to neutralise the Liverpool attacking trio directly.
With the game likely to be won or lost by the midfield battle, Dembele could start in place of Davinson Sanchez to ensure Spurs dominate the proceedings in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, the onus will be on Christian Eriksen to build on his form from the international break to ease the burden on Harry Kane, who has been dropping deeper than usual this season.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Moura, Eriksen, Son; Kane
Jurgen Klopp does not have any pressing injury concern to deal with ahead of the trip to Wembley. Against Tottenham on Saturday, The Liverpool boss will only be without four first-team players. Among these, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for the entirety of the season due to a long-term knee injury.
Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren is getting closer to making his first appearance of the season for the Reds, as he continues his recovery from a stomach issue. On Saturday though, he will not be able to make amends on his Wembley horror show from last season, with Joe Gomez still deputising for the sidelined Croat.
Adam Lallana (groin) and Simon Mignolet are the other absentees for Liverpool, although with neither being a regular first-team player, Klopp will have lesser problems to worried about as compared to Pochettino.
As far as team selection is concerned, Klopp is likely to stick with the winning formula, although he will expect better decision making from Alisson, whose horrendous error against Leicester City paved the way for half-hour of frantic football from Liverpool.
Another player who needs to do better is Trent Alexander-Arnold, who hasn’t been clinical with his output in the final third so far this season. Meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum will be a key figure in midfield, having been a revelation as the no. 6 with his energetic displays thus far.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
- Tottenham have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games against Liverpool (D4 L6), though it was a 4-1 victory in the corresponding fixture last season.
- Liverpool have only failed to score in one of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Tottenham – a goalless draw in Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge of the Reds in October 2015.
- Goal glut – There have been 149 goals scored in Premier League meetings between Tottenham and Liverpool – Arsenal vs Everton is the only fixture to have seen more in the competition (151).
- Liverpool have won nine of their 15 Premier League games in London under Jurgen Klopp (W9 D3 L3), although they Reds yet to beat Tottenham on the road under the German (D2 L1).
- Harry Kane has had a hand in seven goals in seven Premier League appearances against Liverpool (five goals, two assists), including four in the last two.
1. Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.66
2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 2.00
3. Christian Eriksen Shots on Target Over 0.5 @ 1.66
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 3.40
Player to Watch
With Harry Kane not exactly firing on all cylinders, Lucas Moura is the player who has looked the most potent threat for Tottenham in the first four gameweeks. Fresh from winning his first Player of the Month award in the Premier League, the Brazilian ought to be high on confidence when Liverpool come visiting.
Lucas’s duel with Andrew Robertson on the left flank will be one of several key battles on Saturday, and the 26-year-old will face his toughest test yet in the Liverpool left-back so far this season. A player whose contribution will be key in the grand scheme of things for Spurs.
Tottenham 2-2 Liverpool
Seldom is a game featuring Liverpool and Tottenham short of entertainment, and the game on Saturday is unlikely to be an exception. A full-strength Tottenham side would have fancied their chances against a confident Liverpool. But, the absence of Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli, coupled with Harry Kane’s indifferent form, could be telling.
The Reds have their issues as well, with Mohamed Salah not exactly being clinical in front of goal thus far. Both sides though, are laden with talents that can make the difference with or without their talisman making the difference. And, The Hard Tackle predicts a pulsating encounter that should end in a 2-2 draw.