Title-hopefuls Liverpool need the three points when they host Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday (16:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
At the turn of the calendar year, Liverpool were seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. That lead was gradually eroded over the next nine matches, with City then moving a point clear themselves after the first weekend of March.
Liverpool do currently enjoy a two-point cushion at the top following their 2-1 win away to Fulham prior to the international break, thanks to goals from Sadio Mane and a late James Milner penalty, but that is only because they have now played a match more. If City win all of their remaining fixtures, they will be the champions regardless of what Liverpool do.
After running up an average positive goal difference of two per match, with an average of 2.4 goals scored and just 0.4 conceded, through to the end of 2018, Liverpool have since cooled down to an average goal difference of 1.09 per match, born from slight declines at both ends of the pitch. That would still be good enough for a comfortable top-four finish if extrapolated over an entire campaign, but may not be enough against a juggernaut like Man City.
Even if this campaign doesn’t end in Liverpool finally claiming their first league title in nearly 30 years, there should be no talk of failure. They are well on course to break the 90-point barrier. That would not only represent their highest tally in the 20-team Premier League era and their best-ever points-per-game ratio, but would also have been enough to claim the title in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Jurgen Klopp’s side must try to keep as much pressure as possible on Man City and hope that they can more successfully traverse their two remaining fixtures against top-six sides than City do theirs. After Spurs this weekend, Liverpool host Chelsea in mid-April. City have Spurs at home and Manchester United away in back-to-back games towards the end of that month.
Spurs will not, though, be easy opponents. They have secured draws at Anfield in two of the last three seasons. While Liverpool did emerge as 2-1 winners from their match at Wembley earlier this season, the overall record in encounters between them since Klopp took charge in 2015 reads: two wins for Liverpool, one win for Spurs and four draws. In sum, Liverpool have dropped points in five of their last seven league meetings.
Spurs also have plenty to play for on Sunday as their own downturn in form has seen a previously stratified race for the final couple of top-four places concertina into a four-team contest. They are winless since mid-February and have lost three of their last four. The result is that while they are still third on 61 points, Arsenal are just a point behind in fourth, Manchester United three behind in fifth and Chelsea four adrift in sixth.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have had a bit of a strange season. Injuries and a lack of adequate cover in certain positions have required him to come up with various ways to keep the results coming in. He has been able to do so for most of the campaign, but his side have started to struggle recently, with their results beginning to reflect their consistently less impressive underlying numbers.
Spurs really should have eased a bit of the pressure on themselves by taking all three points away to Southampton in their last Premier League match. They dominated the first half, went in ahead at the interval thanks to a goal from Harry Kane, but inexplicably tailed off after the break, allowing their hosts to come back into the match and snatch victory with two goals in the final quarter-hour.
Our Preview’s Liverpool vs. Spurs Betting Tips Verdict
The international break has given Spurs some time to regroup, but their record against fellow top-six sides this season doesn’t provide much confidence that they will be able to get a positive result at Anfield. They have won two, drawn one and lost five times in those fixtures, including the aforementioned home defeat to Liverpool.
With Liverpool, and especially Sadio Mane (scorer of seven goals in his last five matches in all competitions), again starting to find the back of the net more regularly in recent weeks, they can be fancied to keep their title quest going with victory on Sunday.
If you fancy an investment in this match with any of our recommended sports betting sites, then here is the betting tip this Liverpool vs Spurs preview advises:
- Bet on Sadio Mane to score at any time @ best odds of 7/5 with Bet365.
- Latest Premier League Outright Winner betting odds.