One Tottenham Hotspur record will ask questions of Mohamed Salah on Wednesday. The Liverpool forward is their go-to player this season.
Tottenham Hotspur have the best defensive record in the Premier League. You can measure that in simply conceding the fewest goals (10 in 12 games) or by them having the joint-highest number of clean-sheets (five).
In fact, even if you take out Liverpool’s 7-2 anomaly against Aston Villa, Spurs still have a better record. They’re undoubtedly a Jose Mourinho side, then.
Liverpool will need to break them down, though. Wednesday’s game is at Anfield, meaning Mourinho will likely settle for a point.
That solitary point for Spurs is two dropped at home for Liverpool. That’s a win for the Londoners in any title race.
So we can expect a Spurs that sit deep, keep things tight and tactical, while looking to hit Liverpool on the counter, presumably through Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.
The Reds will need to be on the front-foot, looking to break Spurs down and force an advantage. And that places a lot of pressure on Mohamed Salah.
Salah is comfortably Liverpool’s best attacking player this season – he has been since his £34m arrival, really. He has ten goals and two assists in his 11 games and while penalties boost the former figure, he’s still far above anyone else at the club.
For comparison, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have 11 goals and three assists – combined. Salah nearly matches them on his own.
But even in figures under the hood, Salah is clearly the top dog. He averages more shots than anyone else (3.7 per game) and creates the most chances (2.1 per game).
In fact, there’s only one productive attacking stat any other forward beats him in and that’s dribbling. Mane completes more per game (2.5 to 1.6) but Salah is second.
Now, Jota will miss the game against Spurs, of course. That leaves the ‘usual’ front-three but Mane and Firmino aren’t their usual selves.
They only have six goals between them in the Premier League this season. But it’s actually worse than that.
Firmino hasn’t scored in his last six games in all competitions. And he’s only got two goals as it is.
And while Mane has four in the Premier League, they all came in a run of three games around the first international break. He hasn’t scored in the Premier League since October 17th at Everton.
He hasn’t fared much better with assists, either. Zero in his last eight Liverpool appearances.
So this is why we say the pressure is on Salah. There is no guarantee at all that Firmino and Mane will produce anything against Spurs because they’re struggling.
If Liverpool want to win the game, they’re essentially putting their faith in Salah. He’s the only one delivering.
Salah scored in that Everton game, too. But while Mane has one goal, one assist in all competitions since, Salah has seven goals and three assists.
He is, simply put, the only reliable forward at Liverpool right now. And make no mistake – the Reds will rely upon him to beat Spurs.