Two teams who have steadily established themselves as possible contenders for a top-four finish meet when Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Tuesday (20:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Liverpool come into the match on the back of eight-match unbeaten league run and just two defeats in their last 15 matches in all competitions. They are seventh in the Premier League table, with 39 points from 11 wins, six draws and seven defeats.
Brendan Rodgers’ enjoyed more of the ball and created the marginally better chances away to local rivals Everton on Saturday but were unable to take advantage and eventually had to settle for a point from a goalless draw. The exertions of their come-from-behind victory over Bolton in the FA Cup a few days earlier began to tell during the second half.
The Reds were, however, able to take some positives from the match, not least their fourth consecutive clean sheet in league play. The trio of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho continued their solid form by restricting an admittedly unadventurous Everton side to just a single effort on goal from inside the area, which was well-saved by Simon Mignolet.
After plenty of experimentation, Rodgers now seems to have found a formation capable of housing the majority of his best players in apposite positions. With a better defensive base to build upon, including a more solid double-pivot in front of the back three, Liverpool’s forward players have had more freedom to go about their work, with good results to date.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Jon Flanagan (knee) for this match, while Adam Lallana (groin) and Brad Jones (thigh) are both doubtful. Philippe Coutinho was substituted just after half-time on Saturday after picking up a knock to his knee but is expected to be fit.
Spurs travel north on the back of a superb victory at home to local rivals Arsenal, which was their seventh win in their last nine league matches. They are sit fifth in the Premier League table, with 43 points from 13 wins, four draws and seven defeats.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side went behind early on against Arsenal on Saturday but came away as deserved winners following a strong, disciplined and determined display that eventually bore fruit thanks to two second-half goals from man-of-the-moment Harry Kane (pictured). His 86th-minute winner was a superbly directed header into the corner from a Nabil Bentaleb cross.
The performance and outcome reinforced the belief that the work of Pochettino and his staff is starting to yield consistent results. While they did at times struggle to break down a deep-lying Arsenal defence, heads never dropped and Spurs continued to push forward with belief and intensity. It was the fifth time this season they had come back from a goal down to win.
There is still an over-reliance on Kane for goals and Christian Eriksen for inspiration, while their defence still doesn’t look as secure as it might, but there can otherwise be genuine optimism about the direction the club are heading in under Pochettino’s command. A strong league campaign and a place in the League Cup final certainly represents a promising start.
Pochettino has no particular injury concerns ahead of this match, although it is likely that Danny Rose will drop down to the bench in favour of Ben Davies after suffering from minor muscle problems during the win over Arsenal.
Liverpool v Spurs Betting Tips
Liverpool were comfortable 3-0 victors when these sides met at White Hart Lane earlier this season and also won convincingly in both of last season’s fixtures, including a 4-0 win at Anfield. The teams have otherwise been well-matched recently, with four wins apiece in their last 10 meetings. Liverpool have, however, lost just once in the last 20 encounters at Anfield.
The Reds have been marginally better at home than they have on their travels so far this season but have nevertheless drawn more home matches (five) than any other side in the top half of the Premier League. The switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation has seen them put together a solid run of form and they will believe that victory is possible.
Spurs have certainly improved since the meeting between the sides earlier this season and come into the match high on confidence on the back of their victory in the North London derby. They have a relatively strong away record so far this season but were comfortably beaten when they travelled to face Chelsea and Manchester City earlier in the campaign.
They will be more competitive now and we believe a draw is the most likely result between these two in-form teams.
- Back the draw @ best betting odds of 14/5 with Bet365, Betfred, Boylesports or Stan James.
- There have been just 10 first-half goals in Liverpool’s 12 home matches this season. The second half has been the highest scoring in six of those 12, while it has also been the highest scoring half in seven of Tottenham’s 11 away matches to date. Back the second half to be the highest scoring half @ 11/10 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Boylesports.