Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane this weekend to try and reignite the form that saw them blitz past Arsenal before Burnley brought the Reds crashing back down to earth.
This is a fixture that has brought many a goal in recent years with the 5-0 drubbing at White Hart Lane in 2014 most enjoyable of the recent fixtures. The last two clashes have been draws and it indicates just how far Tottenham have progressed as a side that after not being able to beat Liverpool in the last years they’ve at least been able stop losing.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Spur’s side is very similar to Liverpool in that they employ a high press although the London outfit look to retain possession as much as possible and press as soon as they lose it as a ball-retention method. This differs from Liverpool in that the Reds seek to dispossess the opponent in dangerous areas and counter attack which saves the team from having to break down the opponent with build up play. Both forms of pressing are extremely effective.
This fixture, early in the season as it comes, offers a chance to see where both teams are in their development and also simply provides an entertaining football game. But what can we expect from a Liverpool perspective on Saturday?
Mané running at a quality back four
This is the first big test for Sadio Mané as a Liverpool player. The winger has been able to shine when pitted against weak defences with likes of Arsenal and Burton Albion not posing much resistance, but how will he do attacking a quality back four? Mané boasted an 8.53 rating, according to WhoScored.com, in the match vs. Arsenal and it was clear that he was the best player on the pitch.
However, the former Southampton man will have a tough task against one of the best left-backs in the Premier League in Danny Rose. The England international was one of the most accomplished defenders in the league last season and he will certainly think that he can take Liverpool’s star on.
Mané is certainly pacier than Rose and a far better dribbler, but is that enough? He will look to get down the right flank before cutting into the box to look for a pass or have a dig which worked well against Arsenal, but he was up against much weaker opposition that time around. We’ve seen Mane dominate the two fixtures he’s been a part of. He was a catalyst down the right side and, of course, scoring a wonder goal against Arsenal in the season opener.
Tottenham were considering a move for the Senegalese international this summer before he was snatched up by Liverpool for a £34 million fee. This game will be an indication of whether or not Sadio Mané can perform against a great back four this year.
Matip and Lovren partnership
In Liverpool’s opening two Premier League games we’ve seen a pairing of Lovren and Klavan which, for the most part, was successful. However, with a great performance in the fixture in the league cup against Burton Albion, Matip looks to likely get a start against Tottenham in place of Klavan.
Matip looked composed on the ball in his first game as a Liverpool player and his height will surely play a factor if he were to get the start against Tottenham. Standing at a whopping 6 ft. 5, he is one of the tallest players in the Premier League posing a deadly threat at set-pieces. The Liverpool fans have been dying to see their big signing get a start in the Premier League after coming over on a free from Schalke.
Sakho has officially been cleared of all appeals on his doping case, however has lost his spot in the starting XI and on the bench as Klopp has been looking for a loan deal for the French centre-back.
Another Liverpool visit to White Hart Lane
Since 2013, Liverpool have dominated the tie between both clubs having won 5 of the previous 7 visits and holding an impressive 19-5 aggregate lead over the London side.
However, even more impressive is their dominance at White Hart Lane in that stretch. Liverpool have yet to concede a goal to Tottenham at home in the past 3 visits (8-0 aggregate). Spurs fans will once again be intimidated by a Liverpool side that just thrashed their city rivals scoring 4 goals in 18 minutes at the Emirates.
Both teams have been very poor in the first half of games with neither side finding a foothold early on. An explosive start from either side would set the tone of the tie in their favour. This is a huge game for both teams as will Tottenham try to prove that they should be considered for another title race this season and Liverpool to show that they can consistently get big results against top clubs in the Premier League.
All signs point to a high intensity game between both teams that you won’t want to miss this Saturday at 12:30 GMT.