Spurs start life in a new home against Liverpool – Tottenham 2018/19 Opposition Preview

8 August 2018

Tottenham move into their new stadium in 2018/19, opening their account against Liverpool, but will they continue to improve under Mauricio Pochettino?


When we play them: September 15 (away); March 30 (home)

Last season: Drew 2-2 (home); Lost 4-1 (away)


Much of last summer’s concern for Spurs surrounded their temporary move to Wembley, but they ended up thriving at the national stadium.

The north Londoners continued to look one of the most complete sides in the country and their third-placed finish represented yet another strong campaign from Pochettino and his players.

Now it’s time for Spurs to adjust once more, at the unimaginatively named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which will be another test of their credentials.

They don’t play there until they host the Reds on September 15, though, with three of their first five matches away and the clash with Fulham back at Wembley while work is completed on the stadium.

Opponents are likely to up their game at such an impressive new arena and it will take time for the players and the fans to adapt to their new surroundings.

Tottenham Hotspurs' Davinson Sanchez during the Premier League match at Wembley, London. (Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

On top of that, a frustrating summer has seen Spurs sign nobody to date, leading to supporters venting their anger at possibly falling away from the leading pack.

While Liverpool attempt to push Man City all the way, are they standing still?

The fitness of Harry Kane will again hold the key to their success, as will the form of the still criminally underrated Christian Eriksen.

Pochettino’s men have spent the last three seasons proving people wrong and staying in the top four—will this be the year they don’t quite have enough, with the manager and key individuals contemplating moving on at the end of it?

 

Tottenham

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 4, 2018: Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Players in: None

Players out: None

Best XI: Lloris; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez; Trippier, Winks, Eriksen, Rose; Alli, Moura, Kane

We spoke to talkSPORT presenter Russ Williams (@Russw777) and fellow Spurs fan George Lacey (@GeorgeLacey_) to discuss how their team will fare in 2018/19, as well as Liverpool.

How optimistic or pessimistic are you for the new season, and why?

RUSS: I’m reasonably confident of a top-four finish but actually winning something will be hard once again, considering the competition at the top.

GEORGE: At time of writing, we’re the only remaining side in the Premier League to have not signed a single player.

Tottenham fans are worried with the season starting this weekend and remain hopeful of making a few new additions before Thursday’s deadline.

That said, we have so far kept hold of key men Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld and tied star man Kane down to a long-term deal.

With our rivals significantly strengthening over the summer, in particular Arsenal and Liverpool, it will be very difficult to achieve another top-four finish as we move back home to N17 and into a fantastic new stadium.

Overall, our first XI remains a very strong outfit and Lucas Moura, who starred during the pre-season tour of the US, could have a big impact this campaign.

With a few signings to add some much-needed quality on the bench, we can expect to see us challenge for a top-four finish again. The title is very much Man City‘s to lose though.

Victor Wanyama (Photo: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images)

What are your aims for the season?

RUSS: We need a decent start at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

A title challenge and Champions League football is essential as well, to ensure we keep up our current momentum.

GEORGE: Our aims have to be to secure a top-four finish.

We will yet again have to settle into a new home which could take some time, but with Pochettino at the helm we have every right to believe we can push on again.

A title challenge could prove a step too far as Liverpool’s big summer of spending looks to have given them a real boost.

Chelsea and Arsenal have new managers that will look to impose themselves on the Premier League early but that could also take some time as players adapt to a fresh approach.

I’d settle for a top-four finish right now and a strong run at the FA Cup will be high on the agenda as Pochettino awaits that much-coveted trophy, to show for all his great work since coming to Spurs.

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 18, 2018: Tottenham Hotspur's Lucas Moura during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Rochdale AFC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Spotland Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who’s your man to watch?

RUSS: Davinson Sanchez. This is his second season in the Premier League, coming off the back of an excellent World Cup, and he has terrific pace and awareness.

This could be his season to shine.

GEORGE: My man to watch will have to be Lucas. After joining in January when it was very difficult to justify him a starting place, he’s seemed to have relished the chance of impressing management over the summer.

He joined Spurs from PSG with a great reputation and I have a feeling he will be a key man for us, especially as Heung-min Son is missing due to commitments with South Korea in the Asia Cup.

If he’s given a starting berth at Newcastle on Saturday, he could cement his place in the team early on.

* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.

 

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Capacity: 62,062

Away fans’ pubs: Are you joking? Ever been to Tottenham?!

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Enjoy the newest Premier League super stadium, including a bank of 18,000 seats.

 

Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 13, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. It was his 32nd league goal of the season making him the leading scorer. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How do you rate Liverpool’s chances heading into the season?

RUSS: Liverpool have a very good chance of challenging, but for all of his planning and endeavours, it’s about time Jurgen Klopp won something.

GEORGE: I think they’ve bought very well and seem to have addressed positional frailties as well.

A new ‘keeper in Alisson should give the back four reassurance and the signings of combative midfield Fabinho and Naby Keita show ambition and intent from the club.

Therefore, with the already brilliant front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino, Liverpool fans should expect a title challenge and at least a top-three finish in the Premier League.

Last season’s Champions League finalists could also have a good go at Europe’s major cup competition again.

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Andy Robertson (left) and Virgil van Dijk before a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who’s going to be the Reds’ Player of the Year, and why?

RUSS: Salah, but Andy Robertson a close second.

GL: Well Salah was above and beyond anyone else last season so it’s hard to look past him again, as it is for Spurs fans to look past Kane’s heroics.

I’m going to go bold and go for Virgil van Dijk, though. Liverpool will not struggle to score goals but keeping them out in the Premier League is a very hard task.

Therefore, if Van Dijk keeps fit he could be imperative in deciding the success of Liverpool’s season.

He could also pop up with some vital goals during the tighter games this season.


TIA’s Spurs Predicted Finish: 5th (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions)

Where Russ and George say Spurs will finish: 4th/5th

Where Russ and George say Spurs will finish: 2nd/2nd


This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC:

Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton | Burnley | Cardiff | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield | Leicester | Man City | Man United | Newcastle | Southampton | Tottenham | Watford | West Ham | Wolves

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