Ben Morgan looks ahead to tomorrow’s crucial Premier League clash as Liverpool host fellow top four hopefuls Tottenham at Anfield.
Sunday’s game represents a chance for vengeance for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds after the humiliating 4-1 defeat Liverpool suffered in the reverse fixture at Wembley. That game sparked an 18 game unbeaten run for Klopp’s side, who head into the fixture in 3rd on 50 points, with Tottenham just 2 points behind in 5th.
Liverpool head into the game looking to get back to back victories after back to back defeats. They defeated Huddersfield 3-0 on Tuesday and will look to carry on in the same vein against Spurs. The visitors are in good form and continued that in their 2-0 victory against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
Klopp acknowledged the form of Mauricio Pochettino’s players in his press conference but insisted viewers shouldn’t be doubting his side either: “Spurs are in a good moment, but our moment is not too bad as well. It’ll be interesting.”
After resting his £75 million defender against Huddersfield, Virgil van Dijk is expected to be recalled into the starting line-up. Klopp highlighted that fans may not see the best of van Dijk this season, and should be looking to next season to see the best from him.
The boss said: “I’m very happy with him but there will always be up and downs. We will see the best from van Dijk after the summer. We don’t have the time to wait until then, why should we?”
The German also added that the defender was struggling to reach full fitness, after a patchy period with former club Southampton. “When Virgil came here, he wasn’t match fit that is the truth. He had a long injury, then he played, then he was injured. Then the transfer window was an open case and he didn’t play for Southampton. It wasn’t a consistent season.”
Adam Lallana is back in full team training but may not be ready in time. Loris Karius looks set to continue his run as Liverpool’s number 1 while captain Jordan Henderson will be hoping to be in from the start as he looks to build on his impressive return on Tuesday night.
The front three of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane should continue up top.
Spurs may be without new man Lucas Moura after the winger arrived from PSG in a £25 million deal. Pochettino said in his conference that the Brazilian may not be available for the game due to his lack of game time.
The Spurs manager told reporters: “Six, seven months with no playing, always it is difficult, it is like when you are injured, and it is not easy after to reach the same level of the group.”
Serge Aurier could return from injury at right back. The Ivorian played in the 4-1 victory in October, playing at left back instead of his favoured right back role and put in an impressive performance.
Harry Winks has also returned to full training ahead of the fixture. We could, however, see the same team who beat United which will include free-scoring Harry Kane. The Englishman leads the Premier League goalscoring charts with 21 goals this season.
This game has all the ingredients needed to be a classic. The Premier League’s two top goal scorers in Kane and Salah will cause both defences bundles of problems. Liverpool have a good record against Spurs at Anfield, losing only once in their last 23 games at Anfield against the London club, winning 15 and drawing 7.
We should be expecting a high tempo game. Both managers demand high intensity, high pressing football, so don’t expect to see either team sit back and defend. Liverpool will be hoping for Spurs to attack them, which could then mean we see Liverpool’s counter-attacking prowess.
So, under the Anfield lights, everything is in place for another classic between the two sides. Klopp will be looking to cement Liverpool in the top four and go five points clear of Tottenham.
For Pochettino’s side, they will be looking to improve that Anfield record and leapfrog their hosts in this vital game.