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This Sunday’s match (22nd October) between Liverpool and Tottenham could be a defining moment in each team’s season, as two clear rivals for a top spot go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium.
We’ll explore both teams’ recent form, the probable team selection of both managers, and some of the factors that could come into play to see if the Reds stand a chance against the high-flying Spurs.
Liverpool will be coming into this game in high spirits, having achieved some good results in the last couple of league outings. The 0-0 draw against bitter rivals Manchester United, while nowhere near what they deserved from the game, was a masterclass in free-flowing, attacking football, which was marred by Jose Mourinho’s park-the-bus tactics. Equally, a point away at Newcastle earlier this month was a fair result considering the Magpie’s recent form, leaving the Reds in eighth place and within striking distance of the top four.
However, Liverpool’s absolute demolition of NK Maribor in the Champions League (7-0) will give them bags of confidence going into the game this weekend – especially as it was an away fixture. Just another record to add to the city’s growing list of achievements! With Jurgen Klopp’s swift, counter attacking style really dictating the play, and all of Liverpool’s front men getting on the scoresheet, Liverpool have proven to be terrifying opposition. Let’s just hope they can perform like that against a better drilled side!
Tottenham, on the other hand, have enjoyed plenty of success in recent games, both home and away. With three wins out of three in the Premier League, they’ll be hoping to kick on and secure their third place position in the table. Equally, they pulled off a stunning result against Real Madrid on Tuesday night (1-1), so the whole team, especially the defensive players, will be full of confidence going into next game.
With favourable results in recent matches, it’s unlikely that we’ll see much change in selection or formation from either team. Liverpool’s front three of Coutinho, Salah, and Firmino are all but guaranteed to start, having done the job against Maribor and after getting several days’ rest. The most notable absence up front will be that of Sadio Mane, who is still on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and will be unable to take part. As for the rest of the team, it’s likely that Klopp will play the same starting XI from the Manchester United draw, with captain Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez coming back into the fold.
Tottenham, also, are unlikely to change much from their previous Premier League win against Bournemouth. Having rested some of the bigger players for the game against Real Madrid, such as Alli and Son, it’s likely that we’ll see them return to the starting lineup. However, with several star players making their return from injury, including left back Danny Rose, Mauricio Pochettino could face a bit of a selection nightmare, which would be great news for the Liverpool fans.
This will be the question on everybody’s lips coming into this game. With the Spurs striker already netting six goals this season and Liverpool’s defensive frailty being exposed once or twice, it’s a question worth asking.
While the centre back pairing of Matip and Lovren has shown some weakness in the early stages of the season, especially from set-pieces, there has been encouraging signs over the past couple of games. It’s no small feat to keep a clean sheet against Manchester United in their current form, and while Maribor may not have the greatest attack, nullifying them for 90 minutes, away from home, is an achievement. Additionally, Klopp could opt to solidify his back four against such a free-scoring opponent by bringing in the defensive-minded Gomez at right back and James Milner at left back, reducing the risk of being caught out.
However, it still seems unlikely that they’ll keep the goal-machine quiet for the whole game, so it’s probably best to cover yourself by checking the latest Premier League odds on Harry Kane to grab one!
Something that many Liverpool fans will be banking on, and most Spurs fans will be wary of, is the Wembley effect. While much has been made of Tottenham’s ‘home’ form so far this season – their win against Bournemouth was their first at the national stadium – there is some truth to their troubles. Wembley is much bigger than White Hart Lane ever was, and for a team that likes to play compact football, that’s a problem.
For the Reds, it’s a dream come true! Wembley’s expansive pitch will mean a lot more room for the likes of Salah and Coutinho to run into, while the attacking midfielders will easily find space in behind. All in all, while the ‘curse’ of Wembley may be broken for Spurs, they’ll certainly be worried about giving a team like Liverpool any extra space to play with.
Whatever the outcome, this is certain to be an entertaining game, with plenty of attacking football on show. With Liverpool’s strikers in fine form and Tottenham’s main man looking unstoppable, a 2-2 draw would be a safe bet, though we wouldn’t be surprised if Tottenham’s Champions League excursions catch up to them and Liverpool take all three points – (omitted) be sure to have your ket wigs on standby!
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