When it comes to big games, sometimes it’s not about the team who is in great form but the team that shows enough grit, character and desire on the pitch of play. So it means that the team who is in a good run of form going into the match might not necessarily win? Yeah! Football, bloody hell!
Liverpool play host to Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday after both sides battled each other for Europe’s top crown just 5 months ago. Since Liverpool won that game in Madrid, both sides have moved in opposide directions with Liverpool sitting pretty atop the Premier League while Sours have won only two of their last twelve. Liverpool thoug, failed to pick maximum points for the first time this season against the Red Devils. The Reds went into that game as overwhelming favorites having won their opening eight premier league fixtures. Manchester United was practically there for the taking but form didn’t play a role in that match as the Red Devils, who have been in terrible form, rose up to the occasion on the day. Could they have lost if it wasn’t Liverpool? Maybe!
Tottenham have been in coma since they lost scandalously to Bayern Munich 7-2 in front of their home fans on match day two of the UEFA Champions League. The embarrassing 3-0 loss to Brighton at the Amex Stadium and the 1-1 draw at home to Watford resurrected the narratives of whether Mauricio Pochettino has reached his limit in terms of taking the club forward. However, the 5-0 thumping of Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League indicates that Spurs are back to life and the victory put to end the three weeks of horror for the club.
Liverpool and Tottenham are not necessarily rivals but that doesn’t make it less a big game, it is, by all standards. Both sides boast a very good number of top quality players; Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane, Hueng-Ming Son amongst others. In recent times, Liverpool have been the better side as they having won five out of the last nine Premier League meetings while Spurs have only won once during this period. Both sides have met 54 times in the league; Liverpool with 25 wins, Tottenham 14 and both sides have failed to win on 15 occasions. In terms of goals, Liverpool also have a better record of 92 goals while Tottenham have 63.
Tactically, Tottenham are likely to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation just like they did in the Champions League victory against Red Star Belgrade. N’dombele and Sissoko sitting in the heart of the midfield while Harry Kane should be joined in attack by Eric Lamela, Dele Alli and Hueng-Ming Son. However, the defense remains a problem for Tottenham; they have only kept one clean sheet in nine league games this season. For Liverpool, they should play their traditional 4-3-3 system. Aside from Mane, Salah and Firmino, there might be a possible switch in the midfield; Naby Keita is back from injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in good form after scoring twice in midweek. So, it is likely that one of these two players start in midfield or Klopp might decide to go for his trusted midfield trio of Henderson, Fabinho and Wijnaldum. Van Dijk is expected to start alongside Joel Matip in defense while Alisson Becker should retain his shirt in between the sticks.
Liverpool will look to get back to winning ways after dropping two points away to Manchester United last week while Tottenham will also look to put their recent Premier woes behind them as they visit Anfield; a ground that has not been favorable to them in recent times, this Sunday. The last time Tottenham won a game at Anfield was May 2011 and it ended 2-1. On paper, Liverpool clearly have the better chance of winning but one would not want to write off a rejuvenated Tottenham side – The result might just go either way.