Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday 19th December, kick off 4:30pm
by John Spillane
Back in action for the first time in two weeks, Tottenham in seventh place play host to title challenging Liverpool, 15 points better off, but having played three games more.
A combination of bad weather and positive Covid tests, among both playing and coaching staff, has seen Antonio Conte's side without a competitive game since the 3-0 home success over Norwich on December 5th. Impressive though the final scoreline was their struggling opponents created enough chances which on another day could have led to a very different result. Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura were the standout performers and are shouldering the scoring burden as Harry Kane continues to struggle, remaining on one Premier league goal this season, and having scored once in his last 13 appearances. The main focus for the home side will be how to quieten the high scoring Liverpool attack, with the role of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg vital to their plan. Their preferred 3-4-2-1 formation is set-up to defend deep and look to attack in transition. Kane seems to have dropped into a more withdrawn role and seeks to create space and then find the willing runners in Son, Moura, Bergwijn etc...
Liverpool's last two trips to London have failed to produce a win, with a 3-3 draw at Brentford in September going along with a Sunday afternoon 3-2 loss in early November to West Ham. Since that setback they have won six in row, though some of those victories have been more comfortable than others. Mixed in with 1-0 successes at Wolves (last minute goal) and at home to Aston Villa (penalty), have been more convincing performances, where they found the net four times against Arsenal, Southampton and Everton. Thursday night's 3-1 victory over Newcastle saw them come good after conceding first. Diogo Jota has recently returned to form and is hitting the target, along with Mo Salah, on a regular basis. Salah remarkably has now either scored or assisted in 15 consecutive Premier league matches, to equal Jamie Vardy's record which was set in 2015. Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been more effective going forward in recent games. For this game they may be missing Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho, which will give Ibrahima Konate another opportunity to partner Joel Matip.
Four years ago Tottenham, with Harry Kane scoring twice came out on top 4-1. Since then Liverpool have won the last seven meetings between the two. In the four games following the 3-0 loss at home to Manchester United (Nuno's last game) on October 30th, they have recovered with a record of W3, D1, but Jurgen Klopp's side may be a tougher proposition than Brentford, Leeds or Norwich.
Suggested bet : Liverpool -1 (13/8 at bet365)
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