Liverpool will be aiming to put pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title race by securing a victory over Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
The Premier League title race continues to build excitement as we head into the final four fixtures of the 2021/22 season. Manchester City are seated atop the standings but have just a one-point cushion over challengers Liverpool. And following their demoralising defeat to Real Madrid in midweek, Liverpool could heap more pressure on them when they face Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Saturday night.
Liverpool head into the game after a couple of hard-earned victories over the past week. The Reds were made to work hard by Newcastle United in the Premier League last time out but prevailed 1-0. Following that, they mounted a stunning comeback to overturn a two-goal deficit and beat Villarreal 3-2 in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Liverpool are on a 13-game unbeaten run across all competitions, while their last league defeat came way back in December against Leicester City. With just a point separating them from Manchester City, who will be facing Newcastle on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s side can go on top and ramp up the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men, whose morale will be shot after the midweek.
However, standing in Liverpool’s way will be Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur, who are also in desperate need of a win to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive. After a defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion and a draw against Brentford, the Lilywhites have allowed rivals Arsenal to pull ahead in the race for the fourth spot. But they bounced back to winning ways, defeating Leicester City 3-1 last time out.
Tottenham are just two points behind Arsenal in the table. With a potential season-defining North London derby coming up next week, it will be imperative for Conte’s troops to bag a victory at Anfield and stay relevant in the race for the final Champions League qualifying spot.
Liverpool and Tottenham played out an entertaining 2-2 draw the last time these two sides met, with Andrew Robertson scoring and then getting sent off. Ahead of their latest encounter at Anfield on Saturday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Bobby Firmino has made a return to team training 🙌
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 6, 2022
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Tottenham’s visit on Saturday. However, star forward Roberto Firmino remains a doubt even though he has returned to training. With several important games coming up, it would not be a surprise to see Jurgen Klopp err on the side of caution and not rush the Brazilian back.
The Liverpool manager could make some changes to the side that started against Villarreal in midweek. There is no looking past Alisson Becker in goal, who will be hunting for his 21st Premier League clean sheet of the season. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are certainties as the full-backs for the Reds. But Joel Matip could replace Ibrahima Konate as Virgil van Dijk’s defensive partner.
In the middle of the park, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will likely push for a return after being benched against Villarreal. The England star is likely to come into the side at the expense of Naby Keita, while Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara retain their places in the starting lineup.
The attack could also see one major tweak as Luis Diaz is expected to start after his heroics from the bench in midweek. The Colombian international could pose a major issue to Emerson Royal on the flank with his pace and trickery. Sadio Mane could move into a more central role, while Mohamed Salah should occupy his customary spot on the right wing. Diogo Jota drops out to the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
Tottenham continue to be without the services of academy duo Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp, who are out for the season, along with right-back Matt Doherty. Sergio Reguilon is also sidelined and might not return to play a part in the remainder of the campaign.
Building up to #LIVTOT 📈
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 5, 2022
Antonio Conte will continue to set his Tottenham side up in a 3-4-3 formation, with the visitors likely to defend deep and try to hit Liverpool on the break. Hugo Lloris will guard the goal as always, with the three-man defensive line of Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies shielding him.
Emerson Royal and Ryan Sessegnon ought to be the wing-backs on the right and left sides. They will likely operate slightly deeper than usual to stay close to the centre-backs and deny spaces to the likes of Salah and Diaz spaces to exploit.
More defensive support will come from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur from the centre of the park, while the duo will also be key to forcing turnovers and launching quick breaks with long passes. Son Heung-min, who has been in red-hot form, and Dejan Kulusevski are guaranteed starters on the flank, with Harry Kane set to lead the line for Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son
- Liverpool have only lost one of their last 27 Premier League home matches against Tottenham (W18 D8). The Reds are undefeated in their previous ten versus the Lilywhites at Anfield since a 2-0 loss in 2011 (W7 D3).
- Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has not lost on either of his two visits to Anfield in the Premier League (D2). Only four managers have avoided defeat in each of their first three away games at Anfield in the competition – Martin O’Neill, Peter Reid, Roy Hodgson and Paul Lambert.
- Liverpool are currently on a 21-game unbeaten run at home in the Premier League. They have scored 52 goals and let in just nine in this run. The Reds have won each of their last 12 matches at Anfield, keeping a clean sheet in their previous five in a row.
- Tottenham superstar Harry Kane has been involved in nine goals in 13 Premier League appearances against Liverpool (seven goals, two assists). Five of these nine direct goal involvements have come in seven matches against them at Anfield (four goals, one assist).
- Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has kept 20 clean sheets in the Premier League this season. Only Petr Cech in 2004/05 (24), Edwin van der Sar in 2008/09 (21) and Alisson himself in 2018/19 (21) have managed more in a single campaign.
Player to Watch
Is Son Heung-min the most underrated player in the Premier League? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/nDTwnntw1O
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 1, 2022
Just like the title race, the battle for the Premier League Golden Boot is also set to go down to the wire, with two of the contenders set to be in action on Saturday at Anfield. Mohamed Salah is leading the charts with 22 strikes, but Tottenham ace Son Heung-min has been in fine form of late and is closing down on the Liverpool star.
The South Korean international has scored 19 Premier League goals this season, with eight of those coming in his last six appearances, including a brace against Leicester last time out. None of his 19 goals in the league have come from the penalty spot. He could become just the second Tottenham star to score 20 in a Premier League campaign without any of them being penalties, after Gareth Bale in 2012/13.
Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Ties between Liverpool and Tottenham in recent times have been closely-fought, and it promises to be the same case at Anfield on Saturday night. Son Heung-min is on song and will pose a threat to the Liverpool defence, along with Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane. At the same time, Liverpool could capitalise on Spurs’ weakness at the back through the brilliance of Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
It could be another encounter filled with goals like the reverse fixture, but unlike then, Liverpool should be able to come out on top narrowly owing to their indomitable home form. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-2 victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side, taking them to the top of the Premier League standings.