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Premier League: 5 Key Battles That Could Decide Liverpool’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur
Simon Winter
Simon Winter
March 29, 2019
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Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

On Sunday, Anfield will host a contest of huge significance when Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur go toe-to-toe for 3 crucial Premier League points.

It’s a fixture layered thick with intrigue, and with so much at stake, supporters from both sides of the dividing line will be bracing themselves for a nerve-shredding afternoon on Merseyside.

Liverpool will be straining every sinew in their attempt to maintain their Premier League title charge, while Spurs need to shake themselves out of a recent slump to tighten their grip on their Champions League qualification place.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important individual battles that are could play a key role in deciding the outcome of Liverpool’s tussle with Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.

Read our comprehensive Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur match preview for more predictions and betting tips here.

Sadio Mane vs Kieran Tripper

Liverpool Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is undoubtedly the sharpest point of Liverpool’s notorious 3-pronged attack at present. The Senegalese international’s performances seem to be peaking at a crucial juncture in the season for Liverpool, and the 26-year old has hit 7 goals in his last 5 games.

In start contrast to the man he will likely be marking on Sunday, Kieran Trippier has had a much more inconsistent couple of weeks.

His fine display against Arsenal before the international break helped to soothe the mental scarring from his miserable afternoon against Chelsea the week before, though Tripper will still be feeling a little fragile ahead of another tough test at Anfield.

Few of the Premier League’s fullbacks can match Mane’s searing pace and line-breaking movement, and Trippier is certain to need plenty of help to keep Liverpool’s number 10 quiet.

Virgil van Dijk vs Harry Kane

Champions League - Tottenham vs PSV

In a fascinating individual duel that could be billed as the Premier League’s best centre half against the division’s best striker, Virgil van Dijk and Harry Kane will occupy the same spaces on the Anfield pitch on Sunday.

Both van Dijk and Kane rank near the top of their respective team’s lists of match winning players, but for very different reasons.

Van Dijk is the rock that Liverpool have built their title challenge on this season, and the towering centre-half has been imperious at the heart of the Reds’ rearguard right throughout their title pursuit.

Fresh from 2 goals in 2 games for England during the international break, Harry Kane will arrive on Merseyside vibrating with confidence. The 25-year old has scored 3 times in his last 3 appearances against Liverpool, though he was unable to make his mark when the teams met earlier in the season at Wembley.

Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Son Heung-Min

Roma vs Liverpool Predictions

Trent Alexander-Arnold is nursing a troublesome back injury at the moment, but if the flying fullback completes the recovery he is expected to, Son Heun-Min will be waiting to engage him down Spurs’ left flank.

Alongside their basic defensive duties, Liverpool’s fullbacks, both left and right, are key components in Jurgen Klopp’s attacking mechanism.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) and Andrew Robertson (8) are both among the club’s top 3 Premier League assist makers this season, and the former’s wicked set-piece delivery is a potent auxiliary weapon in Liverpool’s armoury.

Alexander-Arnold’s often light defensive workload is likely to be substantially increased against Spurs’ Son Heung-Min however. The South Korean attacker is without a goal in 5 games for Tottenham, though the 26-year old is capable of scoring from any angle at any time.

Georginio Wijnaldum vs Moussa Sissoko

Tranmere vs Tottenham - FA Cup

At the core of both of their teams, Sunday’s opposing managers Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, generally favour energy and physicality in midfield over technical prowess in bigger games.

Liverpool’s most commonly deployed trio of Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Milner are more renowned for their endeavour and work-rate than their imagination and guile, while Spurs’ Moussa Sissoko, Vincent Wanyama and Eric Dier are players with more combative rather than creative qualities.

Sissoko might be the only one of the aforementioned Spurs triumvirate that’s fully fit for Sunday’s game, which makes his aggression and running power all the more important against his hard-working Liverpool counterparts.

Georginio Wijnaldum is likely to be patrolling the same part of the midfield battleground as Sissoko, setting up a potentially explosive head-to-head battle in the centre of the pitch.

Mohamed Salah vs Danny Rose

Liverpool Mo Salah deflated

With just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 10 games, Mohamed Salah is in the midst of his least productive spell for the club since moving to Liverpool from Roma in 2017.

The Egyptian’s performances have been uncharacteristically flat in 2019, and the 26-year old’s hesitancy in possession points to a crisis of confidence.

Salah scored both of Liverpool’s goals in their corresponding fixture against Spurs at Anfield in February last year, though the winger came up against Ben Davies in that pulsating 2-2 draw on that occasion.

On Sunday, Salah’s movements will be tracked by a rejuvenated Danny Rose, who is a level or two above Davies in terms of quality. The 28-year old has found his mojo again this season and has reclaimed his starting spot at club and international level.

Salah and Rose are well matched in terms of their physical attributes, though the latter is certainly the more confident player of the two ahead of Sunday’s clash.

It’s worth nothing that no Spurs player has been booked more often in the Premier League this season than Rose. The England international has been shown yellow on 5 separate occasions.

Check out our match previews complete with predictions and more betting tips for the rest of this weekend’s Premier League action here.

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