Liverpool will be hoping to return to the top of the Premier League table when they host Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in a crucial encounter for both sides.
Gameweek 31 of the Premier League will continue on Sunday, with a mouthwatering encounter rounding off the fixtures on the day. Liverpool will welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield, in what is an important game for both the teams for different reasons.
Liverpool have seen their place atop the Premier League table being taken by Manchester City, who beat Fulham 2-0 on Saturday. The Reds though, will have to perform better than they did in their game just before the international break, having struggled to a 2-1 win over Fulham two weeks ago. But, their home form will be a source of promise for Jurgen Klopp.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have gone from being the dark horses in the title race to looking over their shoulders in the race for top four. Without a win in their last four Premier League games, Spurs are now level on points with fourth-placed Manchester United, with Chelsea just four points adrift in sixth, making a win on Sunday imperative.
The reverse fixture, played at Wembley in September, saw Liverpool ease to a 2-1 win over Tottenham, who only managed a consolation goal in injury time through Erik Lamela. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jurgen Klopp has a few niggling problems to deal with ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur. On Sunday, the Liverpool boss could be without five first-team players, although three of them are in contention to feature in some capacity or the other.
The duo who will certainly miss out are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, but both of them have resumed full training and should be available for selection within a week or two. The other three players whose situation was mentioned earlier are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita.
Among them, Alexander-Arnold is the only one who is a regular at the present moment and Klopp’s late call will centre majorly around him. Judging by the comments by the Liverpool manager during his pre-match press conference, it is likely that the full-back, who withdrew from the England squad last week will face Tottenham.
The rest of the Liverpool backline should be unchanged as well, with Joel Matip impressing in recent weeks. Matip will have Virgil van Dijk as his partner at the heart of the defence, while Andrew Robertson will hope to have come back from the international break revitalized, after playing only one of the two games for Scotland.
In midfield, Keita is only likely to make it to the bench, while Jordan Henderson should be rested as well after being involved quite heavily in the international break. And so, the Liverpool midfield trident picks itself, with James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho starting, although Adam Lallana is in contention to start as well after impressing lately.
Up ahead in attack, the in-form man for the hosts is Sadio Mane, who had inspired the win over Fulham as well. The Senegalese winger will be looking to continue his good run, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino giving him company upfront. As has been the case recently, the X-Factor should see Mane being deployed as a striker at different junctures of the game.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Mauricio Pochettino does not have as many issues to deal with as his opposite number. But, midfield is in a crisis ahead of the trip to Liverpool, as the Tottenham boss is without Eric Dier (hip) and Harry Winks (groin); both the players are ruled out for two weeks.
The injury comes as the worst possible time, with the Tottenham midfield boasting a brittle look. Victor Wanyama is available to fill the void of the two Englishmen by starting alongside Moussa Sissoko. But, it is likely that Pochettino could task Christian Eriksen to drop deep and add to the Dane’s defensive duties.
The game could also signal a change in system, with Tottenham reverting to the 3-4-2-1 formation. The back-three will invariably be manned by Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen, and the trio will need to be at their very best if Spurs are to deny Liverpool on the day.
Meanwhile, Serge Aurier is also on the treatment table due to a hamstring injury, meaning Kieran Trippier will be the right wing-back for Tottenham, with Danny Rose likely to start on the opposite flank. Up ahead in attack, there is no looking past Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dele Alli, with Alli and Son attacking the half spaces looking for opportunities.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Sissoko, Eriksen, Rose; Alli, Son; Kane
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.75
2. Tottenham Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.525
3. Over 4.5 Cards @ 2.20
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 4.33
- Liverpool have lost just one of their last 24 home Premier League games against Tottenham (W15 D8), a 0-2 defeat in May 2011 under Kenny Dalglish.
- Tottenham’s overall form against the Reds is very unimpressive, having prevailed in just one of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D4 L7), winning 4-1 at Wembley in October 2017.
- Liverpool are without a defeat at in their last 36 Premier League matches at Anfield. If they are not beaten on Sunday, it will be the joint-second longest unbeaten home run in the competition’s history (Chelsea 86 2004-2008, Manchester City 37 2010-2012).
- Tottenham are winless in their last four Premier League games (D1 L3). They last went five without a win in the same campaign back in February-March 2012 under Harry Redknapp.
- Only Sergio Aguero (10) has scored more Premier League goals in 2019 than Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (9), with the Senegalese star’s nine goals coming in his last nine games.
Player to Watch
Tottenham have their backs against the wall and are in serious need of some inspiration. That inspiration, more often than not, comes in the form of their star striker Harry Kane. But, the England captain has not quite hit his stride since returning from injury, even though he has been in among the goals.
Kane’s record at Liverpool is quite impressive, having been directly involved in four goals in four Premier League appearances at Anfield (3 goals, 1 assist). Should he extend that run on Sunday, Spurs might just be in with a chance to spring a surprise and come away with the crucial three points. It all depends on the star striker.
Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
The run-in has begun, with less than two months remaining for the season to come to an end. Liverpool just cannot afford a slip-up, with Manchester City back on top of the Premier League table. Tottenham, on the other hand, have to arrest their recent slide if they are to ensure they do not drop out of the top four.
But, with their midfield bearing a hollow look and with the defence not inspiring much confidence either, it is hard to see how Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be able to stop the Reds, especially seeing as they have been nigh on unbeatable at Anfield for the better part of the last two years.
Expect a tough contest to begin with, only for Tottenham’s challenge to fade away as the minutes pass. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Liverpool, which should be more than enough to see Jurgen Klopp’s men return to the summit of the Premier League.