Early Premier League pace-setters Tottenham Hotspur face an acid-test of their title aspirations on Thursday evening, when the pretenders travel to Merseyside for a date with defending champions Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp has had injury crises and stuttering away form to contend with this season, though Liverpool have remained an irresistible force at Fortress Anfield, where the Reds hold a 100% winning record since the summer.
Spearheaded by deadly duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho will believe that he wields a world class forward pairing capable of producing a match-winning collaboration against Liverpool, though Tottenham will need both stars to be at their best to end the Reds’ phenomenal 65-match unbeaten streak at Anfield in the Premier League.
Ahead of tomorrow’s title tussle, we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest talking points ahead of the game below. Make sure to check out our huge 60/1 #OddsOnThat selection for the contest further down the page!
For a detailed analysis and more betting tips for the clash, head on over to our Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur predictions.
Mourinho-ball and Spurs style of play
Jose Mourinho enjoys nothing more than strangling the life out of heavyweight showdowns, and the Portuguese manager has never been worried about trading aesthetics for results in pivotal fixtures.
Despite the criticisms about his style of play, Tottenham hold the Premier League’s joint second-best goal-scoring record ahead of their visit to Anfield, though there has been a notable regression in their final third output over the past couple of months.
In their first six Premier League tests of the new campaign, Tottenham averaged a healthy 2.5 goals per 90 minutes, though Spurs’ average has slipped down to just 1.33 goals per game in their last half a dozen outings.
While his team’s increasingly prevalent defensive mindset continues to draw criticism from pundits and purists alike, Spurs’ haul of seven points from three huge matches against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal – a tally achieved despite notching five or fewer attempts in each game – was a vindication of sorts of Mourinho’s methods.
However, setting up deep and compact against a Liverpool team well versed in breaking down packed defences could prove Spurs undoing on Wednesday.
Son & Kane vs Liverpool’s injury hit defence
With Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk partnered in the treatment room instead of the Reds’ defence, Liverpool have had a softer centre for much of this season, and their return of just two clean sheets from their last 10 Premier League games in every inch the record you’d expect such a patched-up backline to hold.
The versatile Brazilian Fabinho is expected to reprise his role as stand-in centre-back against Spurs, though the identity of the ex-Monaco man’s foil is not yet clear, with Joel Matip nursing a back complaint and inexperienced pair Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips largely untested at the top level.
On Wednesday, Liverpool’s ramshackle rearguard face a daunting task against a Spurs striking duo in sparkling form.
Harry Kane and Son-Heung-Min have been performing in pitch-perfect harmony for Tottenham this season, and the devastating double-act’s brand of sporting symbiosis is proving next to impossible for Premier League defences to stop.
The pair, who are closing in on a record, have now combined for 12 goals in the Premier League this season, and only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in 1994-95 have linked up for more in a single campaign (13).
The duo’s match-defining ability was never more evident than in Spurs’ recent 2-0 win over Man City, where Kane and Son combined to score two goals from just three attempts against the Citizens, and Tottenham will need their superstars to be just as razor sharp if they are to cause an upset at Anfield this week.
Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur #OddsOnThat
Liverpool to win
Liverpool have struggled to get going on the road this season, though the Reds have been in irresistible form at Anfield, winning six out of six Premier League fixtures there since the summer.
The champions – who beat Spurs in each of the clubs’ last five encounters – have firepower to burn up front, and Liverpool’s performances in statement wins over Leicester (3-0) and Wolves (4-0) in their last two outings on Merseyside sent a timely warning shot to their title rivals.
Jose Mourinho won’t set his team up expansively at Anfield, though inviting pressure against Jurgen Klopp’s relentless red machine is a dangerous ploy, and we expect the hosts to extend their incredible home record at Tottenham’s expense.
Both teams to score
As we touched on earlier, Liverpool’s defensive record has been underwhelming this season, which should come as no surprise given their injury issues, and having kept just two clean sheets in 10 Premier League games, we think the Reds should struggle to keep Tottenham – and Son and Kane in particular- off the scoresheet at Anfield.
The last time Liverpool failed to score at home in the Premier League themselves was all the way back in October 2018 however, and with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all fit and firing, the Reds will create and take chances against Spurs.
Mohamed Salah & Harry Kane 2+ shots on target each
Both Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane rank among the Premier League’s three most potent players in terms of attempts this season.
Liverpool’s prolific winger Salah is averaging 3.7 attempts per 90 minutes this term, while Spurs talisman tops the pile in the Premier League with a slightly meatier 3.8 attempts per appearances.
With 1.7 and 1.6 shots on target per game on average respectively, Salah and Kane also rank among the league’s most accurate marksmen, and with both players carrying much of their team’s goal-getting responsibility into Wednesday’s crucial contest, we expect them to feature heavily.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg booked
Danish international Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been a key performer at the base of the Tottenham midfield this season, though Spurs fans have only been given glimpses of the combative anchorman’s nasty streak since his switch from the Saints.
For Southampton, Hojbjerg regularly tackled his way intro trouble with the officials, and the hard-hitting midfielder was booked 12 times in 61 league appearances for the Saints in his last two campaigns on the south coast.
Remarkably, the 25-year-old has only been cautioned once since moving to Spurs, despite ranking first at the club for average fouls committed (1.9) and second for average tackles made per game (2.9).
Hojbjerg will be tasked with breaking up Liverpool’s possession and counter-attacking thrusts this week, and we think his luck with referees might finally run out at Anfield.
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