Spurs’ Anfield hoodoo & Van Dijk’s return – 5 talking points ahead of Liverpool vs. Tottenham

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Liverpool host Tottenham on Sunday in what could prove to be a pivotal match in the race for the Premier League top four.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points ahead of the game at Anfield.


Victors in the Driving Seat

A few weeks ago, Spurs appeared to have left themselves a mountain to climb to seal Champions League qualification but after Wednesday’s impressive win over Man United, they are right back in contention.

Now only two points behind Liverpool and Chelsea, and five adrift of United, Tottenham can jump above their opponents on Sunday with a victory.

But Jurgen Klopp’s men are in form, the only side to have taken more points from their last six league games than Spurs.

Both teams might settle for a draw.

 

Tottenham’s Anfield Woes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 30, 2014: Liverpool's scoreboard records the 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is seven years since Tottenham last won away at Liverpool, who have emerged victorious from five of the last seven meetings on their home turf.

Spurs’ problems at Anfield are not a one-off.

While strong at home against the top sides, they have struggled away, winning only one out of 18 games on their travels against the top six under Mauricio Pochettino.

It suggests a team that has been either tactically naive or mentally fragile but there are signs of progress this season.

They took four points from trips to Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Now they need to do it domestically.

 

All Eyes on Van Dijk

SWANSEA, WALES - Monday, January 22, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Swansea City FC and Liverpool FC at the Liberty Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since his eye-watering £75 million move to Liverpool at the start the January transfer window, Virgil van Dijk has not had an easy ride.

He scored on his debut against Everton but then struggled in defeats to Swansea and West Brom, before being left on the bench for Tuesday’s win over Huddersfield.

Jamie Carragher has said Van Dijk needs to lose weight and it will be interesting to see if Klopp brings him back in this weekend.

If selected, there will be no room for rust, given his opponent is likely to be the razor-sharp Harry Kane.

 

Kane to Hit Premier League 100

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring the first goal against Everton during the FA Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kane moved onto 99 Premier League goals with his header against Southampton last month but has had to wait two weeks to make the century.

An excellent all-round display against Manchester United on Wednesday was not accompanied by a goal but it will not be long before the striker reaches this latest milestone.

Kane scored twice as Tottenham thrashed Liverpool 4-1 in the reverse fixture back in October and against Liverpool’s shaky defence, he will fancy his chances again.

 

Liverpool’s Pace to Hurt Spurs

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 12, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

They may not boast the resilience, or even organisation, of Tottenham but Liverpool’s speed in attack is their most dangerous weapon.

Last season, this fixture was decided by Sadio Mane, who scored twice and ran Ben Davies—not the quickest of full-backs—ragged.

With Danny Rose still regaining fitness after injury, Davies is likely to play again this weekend and it would not be a surprise if Klopp pinpointed that flank as an area to exploit.

Spurs will press Liverpool up the pitch with a high defensive line and that will leave their opponents with ample space to run in behind.

Liverpool, and Mane, will be looking to capitalise.

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