After a start filled with postponements, positive COVID tests, and congested schedules, the Premier League is finally nearing its halfway mark. All teams have played around 20 matches and have a rough idea of what their real aims should become at the end of the season. Some clubs have started well and exceeded expectations, while others have disappointed and fallen flat. Tonight’s clash is a face-off between two teams with contrasting forms and expectations, who have now found themselves in a tight race for Champions League spots. Here at Ball that Matters, we will be doing an in-depth preview of tonight’s clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
Buildup and Form
Liverpool is coming in off the back of arguably their worst run in the Klopp era. They are winless in their last 5 premier league matches and have failed to score in all of them. Their misery was further compounded when Burnley ended their unbeaten home record which stretched nearly four years. They are also coming into this game after a loss against bitter rivals Manchester United. Klopp will be eager to change the fortunes of his depleted side.
Liverpool Premier League form: LDLDD
Jürgen Klopp: “We will be ready for a fight tomorrow night, but where it will lead us to I don’t know.”
Spurs, on the other hand, have established themselves as a genuine contender for the Champions League spots. Though their results haven’t been as consistent as they would have liked, they have been picking up wins and draws and ensuring that losses aren’t frequent. They have been in fine goal-scoring form as well, unlike opponents Liverpool. They are coming into this fixture on the back of convincing wins against Sheffield United and Wycombe Wanderers.
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form: LDWDW
Jose Mourinho: “Play Liverpool is play Liverpool, independent of all the context, independent of everything.”
Jose Mourinho will have Serge Aurier available for selection again. The Ivorian was an unused substitute for Tottenham’s FA Cup clash against Wycombe. He will most likely take part against Liverpool.
Matt Doherty’s participation is still in doubt after missing the game against Wycombe due to an unspecified injury. Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli will not take part against Liverpool, as both midfielders are still injured.
Jurgen Klopp’s side is still ravaged by injury, especially in defence, where they will be missing their centre-back duo of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Diogo Jota and Naby Keita will also miss the game through injury.
Head To Head
Liverpool have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning each of the last five meetings across all competitions – a run which includes back-to-back Premier League doubles and a Champions League final triumph last year.
Liverpool have never won seven consecutive games against Spurs, while the last time Tottenham lost that many games in a row to a specific opponent was against Manchester United from September 2001 to September 2004.
In the Premier League alone Liverpool has only loss of their last 15 meetings with Tottenham and just one of their last 26 at Anfield.
Players to watch out for
Salah is on this list purely because of his fantastic performance against United in the cup. The Egyptian King is arguably one of the best wingers in the league and was going on a barren run but he broke his drought with two well taken goals on Sunday. He has the ability to break through resolute defenses and convert half-chances which can be useful against a low-block, defensive side like Spurs.
The Liverpool goalkeeper, widely regarded as the best in the world, has been picking the ball out of his own net more times than he would have liked in the recent times. He is on a patchy run of form, something unusual for a player of his caliber and temperament. His error lead to the concession of a penalty against Burnley, and he was poorly positioned for Bruno Fernandes’s free kick in the FA Cup. He will have to be in top form against Spurs tonight, in order to deal with the powerful shots and finishes from Son, Kane and Bergwijn.
Son Heung Min
It is impossible to mention Kane without mentioning Son as well. Their partnership has evolved into one of the deadliest strike forces in the recent past of world football. Son can not only finish from close range, but can also shoot from distance. He has also worked on his passing game and has turned provider for Kane various times this season. His corner deliveries are also top-notch and he has become one of the deadliest attackers in the Premier League.
If end of season awards were to be given now, then Harry Kane would be a strong contender for player of the season. The England captain and target man has added another dimension to his game and transformed into one of the most complete no 9s in world football. His finishing skills and powerful shots were anyways strengths but he did not have the ability to assist within his armor. His telepathic connections with Son Heung Min has been the source of many goals for spurs this season.
It promises to be an entertaining night, as clashes between these contrasting sides very rarely fail to impress. However, the importance of the outcome should not be lost among the entertainment. A Liverpool loss would well and truly rule them out of the title race and will put them in serious danger of missing out on the top 4. An absolute worst-case scenario for Klopp’s mighty reds. It will be a memorable night and one that every football fan should not miss. As a Liverpool fan, I will be desperately hoping for a win to the Reds.
For more such articles do click here