Tottenham Hotspur resume their Premier League title push following the international break with a trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Saturday.
Spurs, currently second in the Premier League, are five points behind this season’s surprise package Leicester City, who have been top of the table, coincidentally, since they beat Tottenham in mid-January and the north London club will be desperate to beat Liverpool to keep up the pressure on the Foxes.
However, the visitors have a horrendous record against the Reds in recent years, having last beaten them back in 2012. Spurs have lost five of the last six meetings between the sides, shipping 18 goals in those defeats.
Putting the head-to-head comparison to one side, Tottenham will feel confident going into the match considering they are seven places and 17 points better off than ninth place Liverpool in the Premier League table.
The home side will be eager to make up for their last game before the international break in which they surrendered a two-goal advantage to lose 3-2 to Southampton, courtesy of Sadio Mane’s 86th minute winner, while Spurs have won both of their last two league encounters against Bournemouth and Aston Villa.
If Spurs are going to get anything from this match, they will have to keep a keen eye on Liverpool’s top scorer this season Roberto Firmino, who is expected to return from a hamstring strain this weekend, while Daniel Sturridge is looking increasingly more sharp as he gets more game time following his long-term injury problems.
There is no doubt that Harry Kane is the danger man for Tottenham. The England international is leading the Premier League scoring charts with 21 goals already this season and also scored for the national side to launch their comeback in a 3-2 win over Germany on Saturday.
The London club had no less than five players involved in the England squad during the recent international break and midfielder Dele Alli believes it was a big compliment to Mauricio Pochettino and what he has achieved at the club. “It’s a big credit to Mauricio [Pochettino] and the whole club,” he told the club’s official website. “There are only a few games left until the end of the season and it’s important that we perform well at Spurs and we take how we played with England back to the club.” Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is expected to miss the match through injury, but was part of a warm-weather training camp during the international break for the players in the squad who weren’t on duty for their countries, which he believes has galvanised the squad.
@leivalucas: “Hopefully it won’t be too long until I’m back to full training, and hopefully I’ll play a big part at the end of the season.” #LFC A photo posted by Liverpool Football Club (@liverpoolfc) on
“It was brilliant. It’s great credit to the manager for having the idea to take all the players who were not on international duty and the staff as well,” he told the club’s website. “It’s going to be a very intense six weeks and we are all ready to make the most of it.”
Christian Benteke has been rated as doubtful for the match due to a knee injury, while Divock Origi is also expected to miss out after being withdrawn from the Belgium squad with a thigh injury.
Spurs will be without Jan Vertonghen, who continues his arduous recovery from a knee injury, while Erik Lamela is also out with a muscle problem, but Toby Alderweireld is expected to be fit after recovering from a stomach bug.