TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW
Liverpool travel to North London on Sunday for a tough test against Antonio Conte’s Spurs outfit. The Lilywhites are enjoying a strong campaign thus far, sitting third in the league table and topping their Champions League group. Here’s the match preview.
The Reds inflicted Napoli’s first defeat of the season last time out. It wasn’t a perfect display but there was a level of improvement from the shambles that was Leeds’ visit to Anfield last week. The return of Konaté helped add a level of solidity to the backline.
It was on that solidity that the team were able to build what turned out to be a well earned victory. There was a return to the 4-3-3 formation as well, with Mohamed Salah switching back to the right wing and Curtis Jones playing off the left.
It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as Jürgen Klopp’s men found it difficult to build any meaningful attacks from open play. The Reds looked most dangerous from set pieces, and indeed both goals came from in-swinging corners.
Liverpool registered an open play xG of 0.72, less than half the xG they registered from set pieces (1.68). Again, it wasn’t a perfect performance, but with the side struggling for consistency all season, we’ll take any win we can get.
With just three games remaining till the World Cup break and the huge reset we are all hoping for, Jürgen Klopp will try to eke out as many wins as he can from his side. Sealing qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League gives us a great deal to look forward to post World Cup.
Spurs meanwhile have enjoyed their best ever start to a Premier League season this campaign. The winning mentality of their Italian boss Antonio Conte has rubbed off on the side as they aim to end their long trophy drought.
Spurs have won twice as many league games as Liverpool this season, with their 26 points from 13 games placing them third on the log. They’re three points behind second placed Manchester City and five behind neighbours Arsenal, albeit having played a game more.
They threatened to throw away their Champions League hopes on Wednesday night after going 1-0 down to Marseille. A spirited comeback saw them win 2-1 to clinch qualification for the Round of 16 as group winners.
They have struggled slightly over the past fortnight. Back to back defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle had fans bemoaning Conte’s overly negative approach. Drawing at home to Sporting following late VAR controversy didn’t help the mood among the fanbase.
The last two games haven’t been without tough moments, with Spurs going behind to both Bournemouth and Marseille. They showed real character to win both games it must be said. They showcased powers of recovery to overturn a two goal deficit at the Vitality stadium before the late drama at the Stade Velodrome.
Two stoppage time winners have brightened the mood somewhat and the Reds will have to be wary. There can be no gifts for this Spurs side as Antonio Conte will gladly accept and then shut up shop, knowing full well he possesses some of the most devastating counter attacking weapons in the country.
The corresponding fixture last season saw a highly entertaining, if somewhat controversial 2-2 draw play out as Liverpool held on at the end following Andy Robertson’s sending off. Tyler Morton made his full debut that day as several key players missed out due to Covid.
The most recent meeting was the frustrating 1-1 draw at Anfield back in May, a result which cost the Reds the league title in the end. Spurs sat deep that night, soaked up pressure and hit ruthlessly on the counter.
That will no doubt be their approach once again on Sunday despite a few injuries in attack. Spurs have not managed to beat Liverpool in any of the last ten meetings in all competitions. Jürgen Klopp has an amazing record against the side he faced in his very first match as Liverpool boss.
He’s taken charge of 16 games against the North London outfit in all competitions; winning eight times and tasting just one defeat. Going back even further, Liverpool have lost just two of their last 21 meetings against Spurs. It will be a tougher test this time around though, with Spurs already 10 points clear of the Reds.
Jordan Henderson is fit and available after missing out on Wednesday night with a knock. James Milner is ruled out however as he undergoes concussion protocol. Oxlade-Chamberlain will return to the squad after being ineligible on Wednesday night. Matip, Keita, Arthur, Jota and Diaz remain out injured.
For Spurs, Christian Romero (thigh), Dejan Kulusevski (muscle), Richarlison (calf) and Son Heung-Min (eye) are all expected to miss out. Lucas Moura should feature despite revealing he’s been playing through the pain barrier.
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