In the biggest game of Spurs’s season so far, Liverpool visit White Hart Lane as we know it for the last time in their history. After a fantastic performance to win 4-3 away at Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal, Liverpool were sobered by a 2-0 defeat away to minnows Burnley. Both sides will look to walk away with three points.
In recent times, Liverpool have got the better of Spurs when the two sides have met. Despite two draws last season, the thrashings dished out by Luis Suarez and co a few seasons back are still strong in the memory for Spurs fans almost everywhere. This fixture last season was Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge of the Merseyside club, and finished 0-0 – but I expect a different result this time out.
Liverpool’s first XI can be ranked alongside any club in the league. The guile of Coutinho, the power of Sturridge and the workrate of Jordan Henderson cannot be underestimated. However, several of Liverpool’s big names are doubts for the game – Divock Origi and Philipe Coutinho will be Liverpool’s biggest absentees should they not make the game. There are also defensive frailties within the Reds’ backline; James Milner is a makeshift
leftback covering for the clueless Alberto Moreno, while Klavan, Skrtel and Mignolet are either very, very good, or utterly abysmal. The far more consistent pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have contained better strikers than an unhappy Daniel Sturridge, or Roberto Firmino playing further forward than is usual, while the sheer physicality of Eric Dier and possibly Victor Wanyama in the midfield will look to overpower
Henderson and Adam Lallana.
Spurs look stronger – if only marginally, in some areas – everywhere on the pitch. Vorm, despite not being first choice, is still a top quality goalkeeper, and has come under less scrutiny than his counterpart Simon Mignolet. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker against James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne is also a battle that should favour the Lilywhites; their attacking
prowess is utilised more effectively in Pochettino’s system than Klopp’s, and as previously mentioned, James Milner is not a natural leftback.
If Pochettino opts for the same side that started against Palace – which he should, in my opinion – then Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama are a much more solid midfield unit than the pairing of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, neither of whom are renowned for their defensive qualities. Liverpool will be bolstered by the return of Sadio Mane to the starting XI, fit again after a shoulder injury, yet his pace may be negated by the athletic Kyle Walker, while his attacking midfield teammates in Adam Lallana and possibly
Roberto Firmino lack the sheer presence of Erik Lamela and Harry Kane, both of whom ought to retain their places.
The only doubt may be Christian Eriksen, after a disappointing turnout last week, but the Dane’s ability to craft chances out of nothing should – hopefully – see him retain his place
in the side. Finally, Vincent Janssen should be full of confidence going into Saturday’s clash after two excellent performances, while Liverpool’s counterpart – Daniel Sturridge – may have a point to prove to Klopp, but unhappy players are rarely as effective as they would otherwise be.
Obviously, it won’t be a walk in the park for Spurs, who will have to be at their best, but it is not a game that they will be fearing – unlike previous Liverpool squads in the past.