The end of the international break is seen as cause for celebration by some as Premier League fixtures return. The return action sees us entering the final furlong of the title race and as the finishing line draws nearer, every point won takes on added importance and could prove most crucial. Whether your team is battling for the title, top four, Europa League qualification or Premier League survival each game week draws each team closer to sealing their fate.
Liverpool and Spurs are two teams harbouring different dreams at this stage of the season. Spurs are fully entrenched in a title race and Liverpool are desperately clinging on to fading dreams of making the top four. It fair to say for the Liverpool faithful it has been a season of inconsistency and expectation raised only for them to be dashed by performances such as the second half capitulation at Southampton in the last match played. Liverpool go into Saturday’s fixture having won three of their last six fixtures in all competitions and only losing once in that time. Spurs are in a period of indifferent form truth be told having won two and lost 3 of the last six matches they’ve played in all competitions.
Spurs will have the opportunity to close the gap on Leicester to just two points at the top of the table if they are able to secure a victory against Liverpool. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have shown pretty good nerves so far and are certain to want to keep the pressure on by getting three more points. The Tottenham players will be aiming to carry their fine vein of form from international duty into this Merseyside test of their trophy credentials. Jurgen Klopp will for certain ensure that his Liverpool side are fully prepared and provide Tottenham with a thorough examination, many of the Liverpool players will be fully aware that they are under scrutiny with the manager already looking towards the summer and a clear-out of personnel. At times this season under Klopp Liverpool have shown that going forward they remain a force to be reckoned with but the defence does still remain a serious area of concern and is there to be exploited.
Alberto Moreno is ready to return to the Liverpool starting lineup after a hamstring injury and the Anfield faithful will be buoyed by the fact that Philippe Coutinho is fit for the game with the 23-year-old having travelled with Brazil during the international break. Roberto Firmino is a doubt having missed training on Thursday and Lucas Leiva is expected to be included in the matchday squad. It is expected that Daniel Sturridge will lead the line with Divock Origi having also missed training on Thursday and Christian Benteke unavailable.
Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld has recovered from a stomach bug and is expected to be fit and Erik Lamela arrived back from Argentina on Thursday morning and Pochettino said he also “suffered some issues” while training for his national side, which may mean he is not fit to play. The game may come too soon for Jan Vertonghen, though he is back in training after overcoming a knee injury, the manager may choose not to risk him in this game keeping faith with Wimmer in order to ensure Vertonghen is available to face Manchester United in Tottenham’s following game. Bentaleb is still out injured
Liverpool have won five and lost none of their last six Barclays Premier League meetings with Tottenham.
Spurs have failed to score in four of the last five Premier League meetings with the Reds.
Tottenham have won just one of their last 21 Premier League visits to Anfield (W1 D6 L14).
Liverpool have scored 18 goals in their last six Premier League games against Spurs, though failed to net last time out at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham have the best defensive away record in the Premier League, conceding just 12 goals this season and allowing only 41 shots on target, also a league best.
Liverpool have dropped the most points from winning positions in the Premier League this season (15).
Form Guide (Last 10 games)
Philippe Coutinho – If Liverpool are to kill Spurs’ dream of a Premier League title at Anfield Philippe Coutinho is someone who will need to step up to the fore. The Reds will require him to be at his magical best. Coutinho’s creative brilliance and eye for goal on the big occasion will be essential. Drifting in from the left-hand side, in what is likely to be a 4-2-3-1 formation, will make things tricky for his opposing number which is likely to be Kyle Walker. The Brazilian has shown time and time again how dangerous he can be in those inside-left areas, with his most recent goal against Southampton the perfect example.
Harry Kane – On Saturday the Liverpool defenders will come up against one of the deadliest marksmen in the Premier League on current form in Harry Kane. Kane has shown than he is not just a flash in the pan having scored 55 goals over the last two seasons, his wily movement, intricate link-up play and deadly finishing make him a nightmare for any centre-back. He also drops deep in order to become more involved in Spurs’ build-up play, which will cause Liverpool some problems. The fact is that Harry Kane is Tottenham’s talisman and his goals will be critical to Spurs’ chances of winning the Premier League. If Spurs are to win their first league title in 50+ years Harry Kane will have a pivotal role to play and on Saturday in a game of huge importance, they need him to deliver once again.
Tottenham have an incredibly awful record at Anfield, and the matches between the two teams have produced a phenomenal amount of goals over the years, with this in mind it is understandable to expect a high scoring game with a home win. However Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs have a incredible resilience this season boasting one of the best defences in the league and conceding a Spartan amount of goals. Liverpool showed their ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ features against Southampton and will need to bounce back from the disappoint they experienced in their previous outing. However they are known to be notoriously bad performers after the international break. My head says Tottenham seal a narrow victory (0-1 or 0-2) but my heart which bleeds red says a vital win for LFC and a title dream crushing defeat for Spurs so hence the verdict.
Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham