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EPL: Liverpool v Tottenham Preview
Our football writer previews the eye-catching EPL encounter between Liverpool and Tottenham.
Liverpool will look to pick up their first Premier League victory in 2017 when they host a rock-solid Tottenham side on Saturday. The Reds have won just one of their 10 games in all competitions so far this year – their only win being against League Two side, Plymouth, in the FA Cup.
Spurs are in the opposite sort of form, having gone nine matches without tasting defeat in the Premier League. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have failed to beat the Merseyside giants in the last nine attempts, with Liverpool claiming six victories in that run. Jurgen Klopp’s side are also undefeated against the top six sides in the league and will be hoping to continue that run against Spurs who have punched above their weight this season sitting in second place.
English Premier League | Saturday 11 February | Anfield | 19:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Liverpool 23/20 | Draw 23/10 | Tottenham 23/10
Liverpool have endured a dismal start to 2017, picking up just three points in five league matches, failing to win a single game. The two matchups that the Reds lost were to relegation-strugglers, Swansea City and Hull City. This recent slump of form has seen the Reds drop out of the top four and surely out of the title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s side find themselves 13 points adrift of leaders, Chelsea. The Reds need a positive response from their recent slump when they host Spurs this weekend and Klopp has called for all involved to make that happen.
“We have to show a reaction – not only the players, we all have to show a reaction,” Klopp told the club’s official website.
“I don’t like it but we have to accept it that people now say we have a wonderful record against the top teams, but then against the other teams we have not even a kind of a record.”
It’s senseless boasting a decent record against six sides in the Premier League, when there’s 13 other sides in the Premier League that are capable of beating the Reds. Personally, I cannot see Liverpool breaking into the top four again, and with Manchester United hot on their heels, they could finish as low as sixth.
Ragnar Klavan (illness) and Dejan Lovren (knee) are slight doubts for Klopp, who may be tempted to make changes at the back given his side have gone five league games without a win.
Philippe Coutinho needs to do more for his side after committing to a new long-term contract. The Brazilian hasn’t been at his brilliant best since returning from injury. Sadio Mane is another player who needs to find his feet. The Senegalese international will have no excuses after playing twice since his return to Liverpool.
Klopp welcomed back his fiery foursome of Coutinho, Mane, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana all in the starting line-up together for the first time in three months, but it wasn’t enough against Hull. Hopefully things will be different against Spurs.
Mauricio Pochettino has injected a winning formula into his Spurs side that they are surely getting used to. The London side have not tasted defeat in their last 11 games across all competitions, including nine in the Premier League.
Tottenham are Chelsea’s closest rivals, being nine points adrift of the leaders, lying second in the table. If ever Spurs wanted to take on Liverpool, now would seem a good time. Spurs have won just once at Anfield in the league since 1993 and must beat the Reds for the first time since 2012 to keep the pressure on Antonio Conte's league leaders.
Pochettino’s men may be nine points off the top, but given the opportunity, Spurs are ready to capitalise on any slip-up from Chelsea.
“We have to be ready. It is up to us. All that we can do is be there if the possibility exists. If not, okay. But if Chelsea drop their performance and their results, we need to be ready to take their place,
“That is one lesson we learned from last season. It is about us. If Chelsea lose, we need to make sure not another team takes our place. Now we are second, we need to keep that,” Pochettino told reporters.
The English duo of Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been key for Tottenham this season. Between them, they have scored 25 goals, with 11 of those coming from midfield talisman, Alli. Kane has already proved to be one of the league’s deadliest strikers. Last season’s top scorer has 14 goals in 19 appearances this campaign and still has the golden boot in his sights.
Despite Spurs’ knack of scoring goals, they boast the record of the tightest defence this season, conceding just 16 goals so far. The double pivot of Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele provide the perfect shield in Tottenham’s defensive unit, making it virtually impossible to breach at times.
Verdict: Alli To Score Anytime & Tottenham Win (13/2)
Despite Liverpool boasting the best attack in the Premier League (52) – along with Arsenal, it will be tough to beat Spurs, let alone score. Pochettino’s men have suffered just two defeats this campaign – less than any other side.
Alli has been a big-game performer since making his breakthrough into the Tottenham side, and for that reason, I’m tipping him to find the back of the net here. Go with the Matchbet of Alli To Score Anytime & Spurs To Win at a valuable 13/2.