Reds’ shot at early buffer in top of the table clash – Liverpool vs. Tottenham Preview

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The Reds will look to give fans an early Christmas present as they meet Tottenham in a mouth-watering top of the table Premier League clash.

Liverpool vs. Tottenham

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 – 8pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League (13)
Referee: Anthony Taylor


After letting an opportunity slip over the weekend thanks to a subpar showing at Fulham, Jurgen Klopp‘s side now have an immediate opportunity to seize another with the visit of Spurs.

Both teams were made to settle for a draw last time out, meaning they head into the clash as joint league leaders on 25 points, with only goal difference separating the two teams.

It will be an occasion to savour in the festive schedule with the league’s best attack hosting the league’s best defence and more than that the best team on home soil meets one of the strongest away records.

Jose Mourinho’s men have surprised many with their early-season form but you can certainly expect a pragmatic approach.

The danger men are certainly Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, who have combined for 19 of Spurs’ 24 league goals this season and shutting them down will be imperative for the Reds.

It all makes for a tantalising matchup, one which will see 2,000 Reds once again be present at Anfield to help steer Klopp’s side to victory and extend their Anfield unbeaten run to an astonishing 66 games.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Liverpool's Joel Matip during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s been one hell of a see-saw season on the injury front as when one or two return to the fold another succumbs.

The return of Alisson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain over the weekend was tempered by the news of Diogo Jota‘s extended absence with a knee injury in addition to left-back deputy Kostas Tsimikas.

They join Thiago, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Diogo Jota on the sidelines, with James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri still working their way back to fitness with short-term issues.

And the Reds could not see another game go by with a setback as Joel Matip emerged as the latest fitness concern with a back issue which led to his half-time substitution at Craven Cottage.

Klopp had hoped it would not be enough to keep him out of the visit to Spurs and in his pre-match press conference he remained uncertain as to his chances having had just two days to recover.

Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips (left) and Jordan Henderson before the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

It means Jordan Henderson could reprise his role at centre-back but the most likely scenario is Nat Phillips making his return ahead of Rhys Williams.

Naby Keita, meanwhile, could be back in the mix as the manager gave the verdict of “maybe” after the midfielder was involved in the extended warm-up session on Monday.

For Spurs, they are fairing significantly better on the injury front and are expected to be without Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga for the match, with Gareth Bale also a potential absentee through illness.

Possible Spurs XI: Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Ndombele, Son; Kane

 

Last 5 at Home to Tottenham (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the first goal to equalise the score at 1-1 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 2-1 – October 2019 (Henderson, Salah pen; Kane)
Won 2-1 – March 2019 (Firmino, Alderweireld OG; Lucas Moura)
Drew 2-2 – February 2018 (Salah x2; Wanyama, Kane pen)
Won 2-0 – February 2017 (Mane x2)
Won 2-1 – October 2016 (Sturridge x2; Janssen pen)

 

Did You Know?

It’s no secret that Mourinho is capable of grinding out results against the Premier Leauge’s big-hitters, with the phrase ‘parking the bus’ never having been so accurate.

He can easily trigger a wave of frustration and while he has had the edge of Liverpool from time to time, he has never won in the previous five away meetings against a Klopp side.

The record stretched back to their days at Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, but it is Mourinho’s worst such record against any manager in his career.

In fact, he has tasted victory against a Klopp side just twice in his career – the last being a 2-1 win as Man United boss in 2018.

Against only two other managers does he have a worst losing record: Pep Guardiola and Rafa Benitez.

 

Form

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2020: Liverpool's Curtis Jones looks dejected after the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Fulham
Drew 1.1 vs. Midtjylland
Won 4-0 vs. Wolves
Won 1-0 vs. Ajax
Drew 1-1 vs. Brighton

Tottenham – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 2-0 vs. Royal Antwerp
Won 2-0 vs. Arsenal
Drew 3-3 vs. LASK
Drew 0-0 vs. Chelsea

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp pointed to the similarities he sees in his side and Tottenham as he insisted they would not be top of the table by just “counter-attacking”:

“I’m not surprised by Tottenham‘s development and the style of play, I’m not sure about what you said [that they are pragmatic]. I see a lot of similarities with us, to be honest, in the way they set it up.

“They play football, actually. You are right that they are not bothered to sit back on top of that and defend a result and go for counter-attacks, but that’s not the only strength of Tottenham.

“You cannot be top of the league with just counter-attacking and that’s why I just see what I see. What I see, unfortunately, is pretty good.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Tottenham’s kickoff at 8pm (GMT) will be shown live in the UK on Amazon Prime, with coverage starting at 7pm.

Chris Williams will keep you entertained and up to date with all the action on our usual matchday live blog, from 7.15pm.

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