All eyes will be locked on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday as Liverpool look to keep up their league dominance and oust yet another one of their rivals as Jurgen Klopp squares up against Jose Mourinho for the first time since THAT day at Anfield, which led to the Portuguese mentor’s departure at Manchester United. It’s been a season to forget for Spurs this term after sacking Mauricio Pochettino, which put a dent in their pursuit to their top four chase, while the Reds have been near-perfect, winning 19 of their 20 games played which has fuelled talk of Klopp’s side going the entire campaign unbeaten and becoming ‘Invincible’. Avoiding defeat here would certainly take them one step closer.
Tottenham getting rid of Mauricio Pochettino was the inevitable outcome after it had become clear and obvious that the Argentine tactician had taken the club as far as he could, reaching the UEFA Champions League final with Spurs and turning them into a top four regular.
With Jose Mourinho available and the club eager to end their barren trophy run, it seemed like the perfect appointment. Since then, however, we’ve seen the same lethargic Spurs side we saw in Pochettino’s final games with Mourinho failing to make his mark immediately at the London-based club.
It seems as if Mourinho has also abandoned his usual cautious approach to try and connect his brand of football to the “Tottenham Hotspur way”, but that’s been a mismatch as well. On paper, Spurs have one of the best defences in England, but just haven’t found the right formula yet under Jose, while club-captain, Hugo Lloris, has been injured.
Another massive injury blow for Mourinho will be the absence of Harry Kane. The 26-year-old Englishman is Spurs’ leading goalscorer this term with 11 goals to his name and has also been vital in the resurgence to Dele Alli and Heung-min Son, being the target man up front, allowing the duo to roam in behind and create space between the centre-backs and full-back.
With Kane out, Tottenham don’t have a like-for-like replacement off the bench which could see Son play the number nine role, which could be Spurs’ downfall as they don’t have much pace out wide to counter the threat of Liverpool’s full-backs who love to bomb forward up the pitch.
Its not all doom and gloom for Tottenham, though, who have plenty of players capable of hurting Liverpool. Alli and Son have already been earmarked as the standout players for Spurs, while Lucas Moura’s pace could cause plenty of problems, while Christian Eriksen has the opportunity to give Spurs one last parting gift as speculation continues to intensify about his future at the club.
Week after week, the same question is asked: who can stop this Liverpool team? They’re past the halfway mark in the Premier League campaign and have beaten just about every team in the division, drawing only to Manchester United.
Talk of going Invincible is a topic which definitely needs to be put on the table, especially considering the fact that Liverpool had lost just once throughout the entire campaign last season – which came against Manchester City – who look far from their best this term.
Being 13 points clear at this stage of the season with a game in hand is simply unheard of. This is Liverpool’s title to lose, while a title-winning treble remains on the cards after progressing into the next round of the FA Cup with their fringe team, while the Reds are also strongly fancied in the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League against Atletico Madrid.
With Spurs plagued by injuries, its been the complete opposite for Liverpool who have a near-full strength squad – apart from Fabinho. Since Alisson Becker has returned from his injury, the backline looks much more solid which has resulted in five successive clean sheets in the league. Although, the partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk need just as much credit.
On the flanks, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson suit the system perfectly, allowing the midfielders to tuck in and stay compact, while the pair also have the ability to pick out Liverpool’s dynamic front three in the blink of an eye.
Picking Liverpool’s best performer to date this season has become a tough task, with a number of players showcasing their talent, especially in attack where last season’s Golden Boot winners, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, have already gone into double figures for the campaign, while all six of Roberto Firmino’s league goals have come away from Anfield this term.
Takumi Minamino will also be hoping to keep his place in the line-up after standing out amongst Liverpool’s fringe squad that beat Everton in the FA Cup.
If Klopp’s men are in the mood here, it could be more embarrassment for Mourinho by Liverpool, who were the last club to beat the Portuguese coach in his last game as Manchester United boss.
Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Dier, Winks; Lucas, Alli, Sessegnon; Son
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Minamino; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Prediction: Salah to Score Anytime & Liverpool Win (TBA)
It’s gone to the point of the season where Liverpool have become a banker in every match they play, its all about finding value in their victories. Backing Mohamed Salah to find the back of the net and Liverpool winning is both realistic and valuable. The Egyptian forward always turns up when the club need him most and was among the scorers when the Reds beat Spurs earlier in the campaign. At TBA, its definitely worth a punt.
You might like to check out our Soccer / Football App