Even though Spurs are effectively out of the title race given recent defeats, there is much to play for in their visit to Anfield. A mere 4 points separate Tottenham from local rivals Chelsea, with Arsenal and Manchester United also in the mix, and one of two crucial Champions League spots are at stake.
Liverpool vs Spurs Preview and Prediction
Liverpool have their own pressures to contend with, especially given that by the time they take the field on Sunday, they may have well once again fallen to 2nd place in the table with Manchester City having travelled to relegation threatened Fulham by Saturday afternoon.
Fact of Interest:
- Liverpool have beaten Spurs in 3 of their last 5 encounters. Spurs’ last win against the Reds was last season’s emphatic 4-1 win in October 2017 at Wembley.
- Tottenham’s last league win at Anfield was back in May 2011, a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from former Spurs favourites Rafael Van Der Vaart and Luka Modric. Liverpool have won 4 of the subsequent home league matches since.
- Should Liverpool win, it would be their first season double over Spurs since 2014/15.
- Liverpool have won 13 of 15 home league games this season, a record second only to Manchester City’s 15 from 16. Their 9 goals conceded is the fewest goals conceded at home by all sides thus far this season.
- Liverpool are the only side who remain unbeaten at home this season. This record extends to 26 home matches including last season’s excellent record. They’ve scored 22 goals in their last 6 home games, the best goal return of any side in their last 6 home matches.
- Liverpool haven’t failed to score at least 1 goal in their last 11 home matches. Only Manchester City has succeeded in preventing the Reds from scoring at Anfield.
- Spurs has the 2nd best away record in the league with 11 wins from 16 matches. Their 11 wins and 32 goals on their travels are the current best in the league for all sides away from home. However, their recent away form is the worst of their season thus far, having lost the last 3 away matches to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton.
- Liverpool have scored almost two thirds of their goals in the second half of matches thus far this season.
- Spurs have scored their goals across an almost perfectly even split across the 90 minutes, with a slightly marginal preference (52,5%) for scoring in the second half of matches thus far this season.
- Sadio Mane has scored 2 goals in 8 matches against Spurs, both arriving in the 2-0 win in February 2017.
- Mohamed Salah has scored 5 in 8 matches against Spurs, with 2 of those coming in 3 matches against Spurs wearing Liverpool red.
- Roberto Firmino has scored 1 goal in 5 matches against Spurs.
- Harry Kane has scored 5 goals in 8 matches against Liverpool.
- Heung Min Son has scored only once in 5 matches against Liverpool.
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Both Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain have continued training since recent return from long injury but neither player appears to be close to being included in the matchday squad. The match may also be too soon for Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, who just recently returned from small knocks. While they’ve returned to training, the trip to Anfield may be too soon to feature Serge Aurier, Harry Winks. Eric Dier remains a doubt
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Liverpool appear to have managed themselves out of their winless slump but Klopp’s comittment to a 433 still seems to create more problems than solutions when having to either inject adequate attacking emphasis or midfield fluidity. Creativity remains a problem at risk of surfacing again, and too often have the midfielders in recent performances appeared oddly duplicated in role in a manner that doesn’t always help the team control possession or space. Either way, the stability of the system is a positive for the Reds, and the German will likely maintain continuity with a backline of Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk and Robertson. Midfield is the most difficult choice to predict; Fabinho appears undroppable when playing but the Brazilian has sometimes been bizarrely omitted from the starting lineup in certain matches. Nonetheless, a configuration of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Milner is expected with Henderson and Lallana mixed is as likely substitutes. The now famed Liverpool front 3 is of course expected to start the game, particularly with Mane and Firmino having done so well in recent matches.
Pochettino’s tactical choices are a picture of unpredictability and his choices against Liverpool will be equally fascinating and functional to take apart. Assuming the Spaniard takes cue from the most positive of his recent results, a 3 at the back system is a logical choice against the Reds, with Lloris, Alderweireld, Sanchez and Vertonghen all employed in a reasonably formidable backline. The most crucial decisions will be in midfield. Trippier and Rose are likely to be employed as wingbacks, and Sissoko, Alli and Eriksen will be expected to offer some creativity from midfield, but it remains to be seen if Alli will be employed further forward to pressure Fabinho or in a flat trio. The Dane may lose his place to a more robust choice in the middle, but if Harry Winks or Eric Dier aren’t available, it feels dubious to expect out of favour Kenyan Victor Wanyama to fill the gap. The last big choice remains upfront; captain Kane will as usual pick himself, but Pochettino is more likely to prefer the use of Korean star Son as an impact boost off the bench leaving Lucas Moura to start.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Liverpool||Tottenham|
|Current Season Record||Played 31, Won 23, Lost 1||Played 30, Won 20, Lost 9|
|Current Season Top Scorers||Salah/Mane (17), Firmino (11)||Kane (17), Son (11)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Liverpool 5 Wins, 4 Draws, Spurs 1 Win|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Anfield||Liverpool 6 Wins, 3 Draws, Spurs 1 Win|
|Last Season’s Result||Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham|
|Odds of Interest (as at 24 Mar)||Liverpool||Tottenham|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 3.10)||0.59||4.38|
Liverpool’s record against Spurs makes for healthy and optimistic reading, and Tottenham’s recent block of away games will only further embelish the expectations for the Reds to have a solid showing once again. Liverpool’s defence remains a tough nut to crack and with doubts on Spurs’ midfield choices due to injuries (Dier), inconsistency (Winks) or form (Wanyama), the recent surge in Liverpool confidence can only continue to escalate.
Liverpool’s mentality is what is most divisive in a fixture like this. Their record has been good since dropping costly points away to Everton, but much of their performances in attacking respects have been scrutinized and with good reason. Liverpool are struggling to score at times and Spurs may just have the right tactical formula to be able to respond to Liverpool’s threat for once, even if the Reds once again find goals out of sheer pressure and attrition. The fact that title rivals Man City play the day before is a potent factor as well; dropped points for the Citizens away to Fulham mean Liverpool feel responsibility to capitalise on an opportunity being hoped for, while a Man City win piles on pressure. Either way, Liverpool know the game against Spurs is a must win match, but knowing the rival’s result multiplies the stakes.
The Reds’ ambivalent mental state has a pivotal role in this match; Liverpool are more than capable of winning this match comfortably, but they’re equally capable of self-destructing. And even though Spurs have something to play for as well (Champions League football), the margin for their error is still 4 points instead of 1, with two spots up for grabs. Liverpool have a 29 year old league championship spectre hanging over every league result, and the gravitas of that significance may just allow Spurs to sneak a draw away at Anfield to ruin the hosts’ fun.
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