Liverpool’s difficult run of form will face another tricky test as they visit Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
After their FA Cup elimination at the hands of Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp’s men will return to Premier League action in North London at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs, meanwhile, are coming into this match on a good run of form, having won five of their last six games across all competitions, including an away FA Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers on Monday.
Now, these two will go head-to-head, and if Spurs can inflict yet another defeat on Liverpool, they will move above them in the table having still played one game fewer. It is imperative that Liverpool address their poor run of form and get back to winning ways or their chances of retaining the Premier League will start to become very thin indeed.
What will happen when Spurs host Liverpool? We’ve come up with five predictions:
1. Spurs will line-up like…
Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon are both out, with the latter meaning Ben Davies is likely to start at left-back despite not quite being 100% fit. Jose Mourinho confirmed Spurs have fitness “problems” but refused to name names. However, Dele Alli is another who will miss out.
2. Liverpool will line-up like…
Klopp has confirmed that Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip have returned to full training after the latter missed the defeat at United, while the former also missed the home loss to Burnley.
“Hendo and Joel trained yesterday with the team fully,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday morning. “Like always with these things we have to see how they react overnight and what they can do today, but they trained yesterday.”
Klopp also confirmed he has no new absentees to worry about, but Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota and Naby Keita remain sidelined long-term.
3. Mourinho to go for Man City repeat
As Manchester United showed in the FA Cup, the best way for a big side to approach this Liverpool team right now is to attack it. To go out and play with gusto in attack, showing no fear in going at what is a weakened back-line.
But José Mourinho is less likely to do that.
He has the perfect team to take a front-foot approach against the Reds. The Spurs squad is loaded with enough talent and skill in midfield and attack to really cause the Reds trouble, but Mourinho isn’t typically prone to taking risks.
2020/21 Premier League outright winner odds by William Hill:
- Manchester City: 2/7
- Liverpool: 8/1
- Manchester United: 10/1
- Spurs: 20/1
- Leicester: 25/1
What he’ll probably do instead is what he always does in big games: play a deep-block and look to score on the counter-attack. That’s what he did when Spurs played Liverpool a month ago, when the Reds were coming into the game off the back of two wins in their previous six; and Mourinho was still happy to concede possession. He was beaten that day by a last-minute goal from Roberto Firmino but that shouldn’t put him off the kind of tactics that served him so well in the 2-0 win over Manchester City (a game in which they had 33% possession and only two shots on target).
4. The Fab Front Three to get back in the saddle
Liverpool’s famous front three have been struggling during this goalless run but with Firmino assisting Salah twice at Old Trafford, those two will have the confidence needed to bring their A-game to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Meanwhile, Mané, who came off the bench on Sunday, will feel left out and want to make his own impression.
Firmino’s return to form, in particular, is huge because he is the one that makes it all tick in attack. He leads the press and plays a selfless role in maximising the quality of chances that Salah and Mané get. The Brazilian’s two assists at Old Trafford were incredible displays of skill and vision and now he will bring that energy to a Spurs defence that has kept just two Premier League clean sheets since the start of December. There are goals to be had against Spurs, and Liverpool’s fabulous front three will certainly find them. Whether it be goals or assists, they should have a direct hand in whatever impact the Reds have upon the scoresheet.
5. Liverpool to finally win again
The dam has been burst: Liverpool have scored a goal. After a frankly ludicrous four Premier League games without scoring (and remember the four they bagged against Aston Villa in the FA Cup technically don’t count as they came against an U-19 side!), the Reds finally put the ball in the back of the net. At Old Trafford. Twice!
Sure, they lost the game but they got over their massive complex in front of goal with Salah coolly dispatching his only real chances of the match. It was that old clinical edge we used to see from Liverpool, who probed the United defence for weaknesses and pounced when they found one.
Spurs vs Liverpool betting favourites:
- Tottenham to win: 9/4
- Draw: 13/5
- Liverpool to win: 23/20
Of course, their defence let them down but that was largely through United exploiting Rhys Williams, who is unlikely to play on Thursday with Joel Matip coming back in having been rested for the FA Cup tie. That should solidify the defence and give the midfield and attack a platform to perform. Captain Jordan Henderson is also back in training and likely to return.
Should Spurs approach the game in classic Mourinho fashion, they may find it backfires as this would allow Liverpool time to play their way into the game and reassure themselves that, hey, they are still good. And a Liverpool side with confidence in their abilities is a somewhat terrifying prospect. Spurs will likely score but, now that the Reds have remembered how to do so themselves, they should get at least one more than their hosts to pick up a first Premier League win since before Christmas 2020.