Scott Groom explains that Liverpool should not underestimate Tottenham even if they will be missing three key players as the Lily Whites are a strong side.
The Premier League bounces back into action this weekend, with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool taking on Spurs in the first fixture of the game week.
Klopp and his side will no doubt be keen to put last year’s 4-1 thrashing behind them and make amends for what was a woeful display at Wembley last year.
And the squad will no doubt be buoyed by the news that Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli and Heung-Son Min are all injury doubts for Tottenham ahead of the mouth-watering clash.
The news that Lloris and Alli won’t be taking part is inevitably a huge lift for the Reds, and with Son only just back from his World Cup and Asian Games exploits, he may well not be deemed fit and ready enough for a starting role at least.
Despite the fact that the Lilly Whites will be without three of their key men, Liverpool should still not underestimate them as they have other quality players that could still cause problems.
The likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen are still fit and likely to play from the start, and will no doubt be Spurs’ main threat, along with August’s Player of the Month, Lucas Moura (how he won that award of Sadio Mané is a mystery not even Sherlock Holmes could solve, so we’ll move on).
These three will likely make up a Spurs front line that possesses power, pace and precision and will keep Liverpool’s so far seemingly unreachable defence on their toes.
Harry Kane, as we all know by now is an out-and-out goalscorer, so Gomez and van Dijk, who will most certainly be Klopp’s centre back pairing on Saturday, will have to marshall him very carefully. I have no doubt that they can do this as they have pocketed big powerful centre-forwards already this season – and done so with poise and elegance.
Eriksen and Moura will provide a different challenge, as they will look to work out wide, cut inside, drift deeper and break Liverpool’s line of defence, meaning that not only the back four but those picked in the middle of the park need to be alert at all times.
And speaking of the midfield, Spurs are not too shabby there either.
It is thought that Pochettino will opt for a midfield of Dembele and Dier backed up by Trippier and Davies as wing-backs, who will provide plenty of forward running and attacking threat – not too dissimilar to the roles of Robertson and Trent.
Dembele is a powerhouse who carries the ball well and has good distribution, so Liverpool need to be on him and shut him down fast so that he isn’t allowed to drive forward and feed balls into the likes of Trippier, Eriksen, Kane and Moura in areas that could hurt Liverpool.
Spurs are a solid unit, and to underestimate them because of these three injuries would be foolish, and I think that’s the message Klopp will give to his team today.
However, I also think he’ll be telling them to get after Spurs as Davinson Sanchez at the back could be their weak link.
If Salah, Firmino and Mané start making their trademark runs and being a nuisance, they could really pose him problems. He has looked a little lost sometimes against players who show good movement and is know for a rash moment or two when faced with tricky dribbles, having seen red a couple of times for club and country last term.
That is where the Reds will hurt Spurs, but this game will be won in the midfield, as whoever controls that area of the pitch will have the lion’s share of possession and territory, thus most probably create the most chances.
Let’s just hope the Reds have their heads screwed on and don’t just think this will be a walk in the park.