Few would have expected Tottenham to be traveling to face Liverpool at Anfield in December above them in the league. The two teams are level on points at the top of the league table, with Jose Mourinho’s team above on goal difference. This will be a fascinating match, with the visitors likely to set up to frustrate the home side before threatening on the counter attack. They delivered this game-plan perfectly against Manchester City and Arsenal in recent weeks. Although Liverpool are the current champions, they have shown a vulnerability to quick counter attacks this season. Aston Villa and Fulham both had a lot of success with balls over the top of the defence. Spurs, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, will be confident that they can get a result on Wednesday.
Liverpool will have added motivation to win on Wednesday night following the sad news that former manager Gerard Houllier has passed away. There will be supporters in the ground and there will be a touching tribute paid to the Frenchman. Anfield is always a difficult place to go, due to the incredible atmosphere. There are limitations to this with only 2,000 fans in the ground, but it will add an extra dimension to the match against the current league leaders. That could have an impact on the result.
This will be a match that Mourinho is excited for, following the victories over Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal already this season. There is a belief that the old Mourinho is back and he comes alive in the big matches. He has played down talk of a potential challenge, but in private, he will have picked this out as a massive game. They can beat Liverpool and become the first team to win at Anfield since April 2017.
- Since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have recovered 85 points from losing positions in the Premier League. No other club has a better record at coming from behind.
- Since Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Harry Kane has had more goal involvements (29 goals, 14 assists) than any other Premier League player.
The Egyptian was withdrawn early at the weekend, which suggests that Jurgen Klopp had one eye on the midweek fixture. Salah now has ten goals and two assists in the Premier League in just 11 matches. He could be set to beat his previous best of 32 goals if he maintains this current level of form. Given the defensive injuries that Liverpool have picked up, it will be important that they can increase their own goal-scoring, as they can’t be as reliant on clean sheets. With that in mind, Salah is going to be key to their title hopes. They remain the favourites to retain the title in the minds of many. If they are to deliver that, they may need the 28-year-old to have his best ever season in front of goal. Tottenham have been excellent at the back this season and Mourinho knows how to shut games down. Liverpool may not get as many chances as they usually do and will need to be clinical. They will want the chances they do create to fall to Salah.
This is a fixture that is tailor made for Son Heung-Min. He surpasses Harry Kane as the primary goal threat in the big matches, as he showed against Manchester City and Arsenal, with a goal in each. Liverpool showed a vulnerability down their right-side, with Trent Alexander-Arnold returning to full fitness. This was later impacted further with the withdrawal of Joel Matip due to injury. It will be hoped that the centre back can be passed fit for this top of the table clash. Regardless of his availability, Son will be chomping at the bit to run at this Liverpool defence, as there will be space available for him to exploit. Tottenham have had a lot of success from Harry Kane over the top through balls into Son. This could be an approach that can have some success on Wednesday.
Joel Matip is a doubt after being taken off during the draw against Fulham. Diogo Jota and Konstantinos Tsimikas have been ruled out until 2021. It isn’t expected that any of the other injured players will be back for this one. Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keira are likely to be the next to return to action.
Gareth Bale missed the weekend, but it expected that he will be back to feature in the squad. Erik Lamela will miss out, but it is hoped he is back for the new year.
This is unlikely to be a match with many goals. Jose Mourinho has made this Tottenham team very tough to break down. If they manage to score the first goal, it could end up being a very one-sided contest. After shutting out Manchester City and Arsenal, Mourinho will be confident that they can keep a clean sheet. That said, Liverpool are one of the best attacking sides in the world and it would be brave to set up in that way. The first twenty minutes will be crucial in determining how the game is played. A score draw seems to be a good bet for this one.
Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham