After a rousing victory over north London rivals Arsenal, Tottenham will aim to continue their charge toward the Champions League places when visiting top-four rivals Liverpool on Tuesday. Spurs’ 2-1 win on Saturday was their first victory over their local foes in more than three years and continued an upturn in form since a difficult start under the charge of Mauricio Pochettino. Yet the former Southampton boss will undoubtedly be keen for his side to now show the consistency required if they are to improve on their current fifth position.
The win over Arsenal, fuelled by two Harry Kane goals, came just over a month after Tottenham secured a similarly impressive victory over Chelsea. On that occasion, though, the positivity was quickly dispersed by a disappointing loss to Crystal Palace. It is very much the results against Arsenal and Chelsea that Pochettino will surely be pointing to when his side makes the trip to Anfield, however. As was previously the case against those sides, Tottenham have a horrendous recent record against Liverpool, losing the last three meetings with the Merseysiders by an aggregate score of 12-0. At Anfield, their poor run extends to just one league win in more than 21 years. Defender Eric Dier, brought in from Sporting Lisbon last summer, believes the win over Arsenal has fuelled their confidence to get another massive three points on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to be ambitious,” he said, reports Tottenham’s official website. “After winning against Arsenal we must go to Liverpool and look to win again. “We’ve got to take the positives from Saturday, of which there were a lot, and now kick on at Liverpool. They’re a great team, they’ve got lots of attacking threats like Arsenal and it’s going to be a tough game for everyone but we’re looking forward to it.”
While Tottenham enjoyed a derby-day to remember at the weekend, Liverpool’s rewards from their all-Merseyside affair were considerably more moderate. A goalless draw with Everton at Goodison Park was short on quality and thrills, and ended Liverpool’s three-match winning run in the Premier League. The result leaves Liverpool in seventh place in the League, five points off fourth place and four behind their next opponents. After a woeful start to the season, manager Brendan Rodgers knows his side can ill-afford further slip ups against Tottenham and beyond, if they are to secure a return to the Champions League next season.
“It's one, because of the start we had to the season, it's put a little more importance on this game," Rodgers said, according to Liverpool’s official website. “We'll look to win it as it will just put us a point behind them and also keeps up the momentum. If we don't win the game, it just puts pressure on the other fixtures we'll have in the rest of the run.”
As well as failing to secure the three points on Saturday, Liverpool also suffered a significant injury blow. Midfielder Lucas Leiva, whose reintroduction to the starting lineup had coincided with Liverpool’s upturn in from, was forced off early on with an abductor problem against Everton that Rodgers confirmed would keep the Brazilian out for a “little bit of time.”
There is better news in the shape of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling being passed fit after suffering knocks at Goodison Park, while Adam Lallana is set to return.
Prediction: Lucas’ positioning and defensive acumen in front of the defense has been a major factor in Liverpool’s recent success, and Rodgers faces a dilemma in finding a solution to his absence, with no obvious replacement. The midfield could well be a key area on Tuesday, too. It was Tottenham’s intensity in the middle of the pitch that allowed them to get the upper hand on Arsenal, particularly in the second half.
While it has been the dynamism of Liverpool’s play, with and without the ball, that has proven too much for Spurs in the sides’ recent meetings, Pochettino, with the likes of Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, now has a group playing more to his high-pressing style. Tottenham are also benefiting from superb fitness levels, as shown by the continuation against Arsenal of their habit of getting late goals. Contrastingly, Liverpool looked jaded in an uninspiring draw with Everton. But both sides are now in the midst of a hectic period of challenging fixtures, and, at Anfield, they may well cancel each other out.
Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham
Kickoff time: 3 p.m. EST
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra