Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to continue their title challenge when they head to Anfield to take on Liverpool this weekend (5.30pm Saturday, Sky Sports 1).
Spurs’ performance in their 3-0 defeat of Bournemouth last time out was one of the best in the Premier League this season, Eddie Howe’s charges brushed aside by an energetic and vibrant outfit brimming with confidence. Mauricio Pochettino would be happy enough with an altogether scrappier victory on Saturday, with the trip to the red half of Merseyside earmarked by many as a potential banana skin in the race to be crowned champions of England.
For all of their fantastic attacking play at times this term, Tottenham’s biggest strength has been their defensive resolve. Centre-back Toby Alderweireld has arguably been the signing of the season in the Premier League, but Spurs’ quality at the back is the result of a well-coached and well-organised team as much as it is down to the contributions individual defenders. Keeping things tight at Anfield is a must if Spurs are to win the match, with Liverpool’s forward players capable of unsettling any backline on their day.
Jurgen Klopp’s side’s slim hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League were dealt a blow with a dramatic 3-2 loss to Southampton before the pause for the latest round of international fixtures. Winning their game in hand on Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham United would see them move to within four points of fourth as things stand. So Klopp and his players will not have completely given up on reaching next year’s edition of Europe’s premier competition just yet.
Pochettino will be unable to call upon the services of Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie, but Alderweireld should have recovered from illness in time to play. Erik Lamela could also be involved despite picking up a muscular injury while training with Argentina over the international break. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were the starting full-backs against Bournemouth last time out, so Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier could replace them in the XI this weekend. Perhaps the two weeks without a domestic game will alter Pochettino’s usual methods of rotation.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will definitely be without Lucas Leiva, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, but Klopp will be hoping that Divock Origi, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Alberto Moreno and Jordan Rossiter recover from various ailments in time to be available for selection. Martin Skrtel may drop out after his poor performance against Southampton, while Jordan Henderson could return to the XI after being left on the bench at St Marys two weeks ago.
Tottenham are flying high and will be desperate to get the win that would heap the pressure on leaders Leicester City, but Liverpool are tough opponents and will want to turn in a good display in front of their home fans. The Reds’ focus may now be on the Europa League more than the top flight, but they still have more than enough talent in the squad to trouble Spurs on Saturday. Therefore our match preview’s verdict is that they are worth backing to take all three points.
In terms of the goalscorer markets, Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge are clear favourites to find the back of the net for their respective teams, meaning there is not a great deal of value in placing a bet on either England international to score. For that reason, the odds on the likes of Dele Alli, Adam Lallana (pictured) and Christian Eriksen look far more tempting, with the Liverpool man perhaps the best choice to get his name on the scoresheet at any time during this weekend’s encounter.