Liverpool are five without a win in the Premier League and the games don’t get any easier as the Reds look to bounce back to winning ways. This weekend it’s the visit of Spurs to Anfield which will test Jurgen Klopp‘s attempts to get the team back on track; here’s everything you need to know about the visitors.
Premier League form: W – W – W – D – D – W
League position: 2nd
Last win: 1-0 vs. Middlesbrough, Feb 4
Away: Won four, drawn six, lost two
Spurs have evolved into a remarkably complete team under Mauricio Pochettino: strong in defence, but still effective in attack.
Though they play a different way to Chelsea, they share hallmarks with the blues in that they have no absolute weakness and plenty of depth to change personnel without affecting on-pitch ability too much.
4-2-3-1 is their usual set-up under Pochettino, but he hasn’t been afraid to switch things up in big games, playing a back three against both Chelsea and Man City.
Harry Kane is a striker who still looks as though he shouldn’t be particularly good at any one thing, yet manages to be effective in all areas: hold-up play, aerial threat, shots from range and, improbably, dribbling one-on-one to get a shot away.
The big problem when dealing with Spurs though is in tracking runners from deep, with both central midfielders and the attacking midfield line, as well as both full-backs, all keen to push high and get beyond the centre-forward.
Christian Eriksen is also one to watch, with the playmaker leading the way for Spurs in chance creation, but also third in the Premier League for shots per game.
[Stats via WhoScored.]
LFC can exploit…
Spurs have the best defensive record in the top flight, so don’t expect rafts of goals even if Liverpool weren’t in fairly abysmal form.
That said, the Reds must take advantage of the few cracks which recent goals have shown: short-range passes or crosses into the six-yard box with two or more runners heading toward goal, causing uncertainty between defence and goalkeepers.
Watford, Burnley and Southampton all scored from close range as a result of such deliveries against Spurs, even before Hugo Lloris had a meltdown against Man City and gifted them two goals. Any hint of weakness or lack of confidence, and Liverpool must be ready to take advantage.
The battle in midfield is going to be key; Liverpool showed against Chelsea they can still dominate the big teams even without being on top form, so look for whoever comes out on top between Victor Wanyama and Jordan Henderson to be the catalyst to set their team away on the counter, or maintain pressure high upfield. A very big game for the skipper.
Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela are all out injured from the regular Spurs first XI.
Possible XI: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane.