Two high-flying Premier League sides will go head-to-head for a place in the EFL Cup quarterfinals at Anfield on Tuesday when last season’s runner-up Liverpool hosts Tottenham. The two teams sit just a point apart at the top of the Premier League, with Liverpool in a three-way share for the summit and Tottenham just behind in fifth.
Liverpool enters the game in stirring form, on a run of nine matches unbeaten in all competitions. That streak began with a 5-0 dismissal of Burton Albion in the second round of the EFL Cup before progressing similarly comfortably against Derby County to reach the fourth round.
And, despite challenging at the top end of the Premier League table, Manager Jurgen Klopp has stressed that the League Cup is an important competition, even without the motivation of last season’s final defeat to Manchester City.
"We decided directly after the game against City that we should try again. That’s all," Klopp said in his pre-match press conference. "It would be a sign, a little bit of a negative sign, if you need to lose a final to want to win it next year.
"It’s a very, very interesting tournament, a very big cup tournament, and that's the reason why we want to go to the final. When we are in the final next time we want to win it, of course, and nobody should be worried about this.”
Liverpool has won the competition a joint-record five times, most recently in 2012, but Tottenham has also enjoyed plenty of success, lifting the trophy on four occasions. Spurs have also made a strong start to the campaign, although have been held to draws in their last two Premier League fixtures by West Brom and Bournemouth.
Saturday’s goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium also saw midfielder Moussa Sissoko elbow Bournemouth counterpart Harry Arter in the face, an incident that was missed at the time but for which he was later charged with misconduct by the Football Association. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has already announced the club will not appeal, meaning the France international is likely to begin a three-match ban against Liverpool.
And, with Tottenham also involved in the Champions League, Pochettino admitted that the loss of another player to add to the injured duo of Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld was a blow.
“That is true, we’re in a period where we need all the squad and all the players fit to compete,” the Argentine said ahead of the Liverpool clash. “We have four games ahead – Liverpool, Leicester, [Bayer] Leverkusen and Arsenal. It’s difficult now because he’s a player [who was] in our plans to play tomorrow and now we need to change a little.
“We have some injuries like Toby and Harry Kane, players who have some problems, players who need to rest a little because they play a lot. But okay, we have a strong squad, we need to go tomorrow with the idea and mentality that we want to win the game.”
Pochettino’s counterpart has no new injury worries but has already announced that Simon Mignolet will take over in goal from the man who has succeeded him as the club’s No. 1 goalkeeper, Loris Karius.
Prediction: The sides played out a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane at the end of August and it promises to be a similarly tight contest on Tuesday. The outcome could ultimately rest on the strength of the two lineups put out. And, with Tottenham already having absentees and a heavier fixture list, the balance should be in the home side’s favor.
Predicted Score: Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham
Kickoff Time: 2.45 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: beIN Sports
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect