On the back of strong midweek performances in Europe, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool collide in Premier League action at Wembley on Sunday (16:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
The two teams finished in the top four last season and were therefore rewarded with places in the Champions League. They will both again hope to do so this time around, but it is Spurs who have so far dealt better with the challenge of competing on multiple fronts.
Tottenham currently sit third in the Premier League table, five points shy of leaders Manchester City but four points clear of Liverpool in eighth, with 17 points from five wins, two draws and one defeat, and have only lost once in 12 matches in all competitions to date.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side come into Sunday’s match on the back of a competitive display away to Real Madrid on Tuesday. Madrid created chances and Hugo Lloris made some excellent saves, but Spurs defended decently, stuck to their plan and always carried a threat on the break. The end result was a 1-1 draw, but both teams had opportunities to win it.
Last season, Tottenham’s European campaign came to an early end with a meek group-stage exit. Not only that, but their league form suffered. Six of the eventual seven points that separated them from champions Chelsea were lost in the 12 league matches that were played while the Champions League group stage was ongoing. Pochettino will therefore be encouraged by the confident start his side have made on both fronts this season.
Spurs left most of their transfer business late but eventually bought wisely to provide Pochettino with additional options in key positions. The squad looks stronger, as evidenced by the manner in which they have been able to obtain good results despite a solid number of injuries, and there is additional flexibility in their approach that should serve them well.
Flexibility is not a word that is commonly associated with Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, as they have a very clearly defined style of play. While the statistics suggest that there has been a subtle shift in emphasis towards reduced use of a high press this season, they are still a side who are aggressive out of possession and who move forward quickly once the ball is won.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]Flexibility is not a word commonly associated with Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp[/quote]
Given the subtle exchanges and explosive pace provided by their forwards, it would be unfair to call them predictable. They are a side who can be frustrated by teams who defend deep and commit limited numbers forward in order to prevent space opening up for them to attack, as Manchester United did to good effect in their 0-0 draw last weekend.
After that frustration, in addition to an accumulation of missed chances in a run of one win in eight matches, Liverpool very much enjoyed their 7-0 mauling of Maribor on Tuesday. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino notched two goals and an assist apiece, while Philippe Coutinho was also in fine fettle, albeit against weak opposition. It felt like a release of tension; Klopp noted afterwards that it would give his players “a lot of confidence.”
That confidence will be bolstered by their recent record against Spurs. Liverpool have won two and drawn three against Spurs in all competitions since Klopp’s arrival in October 2015 and haven’t lost to them in going on five years. The last two meetings with Spurs as hosts have ended in draws, but Liverpool were strong in their 2-0 win at Anfield last season.
Tottenham may, however, approach this meeting slightly differently. Liverpool have traditionally performed better against top-six teams under Klopp precisely because those teams are more likely to take the initiative and allow them opportunities to press the ball and find space in transition. Spurs have shown in the Champions League that they are capable of mixing up their tactics and even on home soil are likely to take steps to avoid that happening.
The absence of Sadio Mane, who scored twice in Liverpool’s aforementioned home win over Spurs in February, provides Tottenham with another slight edge and should be enough to see them finally record their first victory against Liverpool since 2012.
Our Preview’s Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool Betting Tips
- Bet on Tottenham Hotspur to win @ best odds of 17/14 with Unibet.
- Back Harry Kane to score at anytime @ 5/6 with Betfred or Unibet.
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