After a disappointing draw at Old Trafford last week, Liverpool welcome an out-of-form Tottenham Hotspur side to Anfield as they look to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
Both clubs were in action during the week, winning comfortably as Spurs dispatched Red Star Belgrade by five goals while the Reds secured a 4-1 win in Genk.
In the league, Liverpool sit top with 25 points. Their lead was cut to six points after only being able to muster a draw against a poor United Side.
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Tottenham’s league form is just as bad as the Red Devils — they sit seventh with just 12 points despite their attacking brilliance and usually reliable defence. Things haven’t clicked for the side since their loss in the Champions League Final against the Reds.
Liverpool dropped points for the first time in the league this season last weekend, Jürgen Klopp’s side showed the Red Devils, who were placed in 12th, too much respect.
The full-backs were not their usual selves as the opposition tactics rarely gave them a chance to venture into the final third. Once our more attacking midfielders were subbed on, Liverpool started to dominate. Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had impressive cameos and continued their form into midweek.
The Englishman scored two excellent goals — one an audacious effort with the outside of his foot. Keïta was subtle about his play, but the Guinean brought assurance to the middle of the park and he was very effective on the ball. He completed the most final third passes for Liverpool — 29 — while also being excellent defensively, winning the ball back 12 times.
Tottenham Hotspur in disarray at the minute. Uncertainty surrounds their manager and many of their top players are nearing the end of their contracts. Most of the team that started against Jürgen Klopp in his first Premier League game four years ago are still starting, demonstrative of a lack of progress.
With no silverware to show, the north London side may be reaching an end to their cycle and it seems like they a currently going through a transition phase.
Talk of such a transition is a strange one. They still have plenty of world-class talent to choose from but the hunger shown over the last couple of years hasn’t been to their usual standards. The work off the ball has not been as intense and the results show for it.
In recent weeks they have dropped points against Brighton and Watford — both are placed in the bottom half of the table. A heavy defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League added salt to the wounds.
Joël Matip is a major doubt for Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp mentioned in his press conference that the Cameroonian hasn’t returned to training so is unlikely to be involved. Dejan Lovren’s inclusion in the starting XI against Gent hints that Joe Gomez could be the one to partner Virgil van Dijk at centre back.
Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could prove to be a selection headache. Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum are almost certain to start so Klopp must decide whether to complete his trusted midfield with Jordan Henderson or add a bit of flair with one of the two aforementioned players. It could prove to be the difference between the two teams.
Tottenham have injury concerns of their own, Hugo Lloris is out long-term, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min all continue their rehabilitation from injury. Argentinian Giovani Lo Celso is out with a hip injury.
Paulo Gazzaniga will start in goal, while Mauricio Pochettino could go with a back five of Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sánchez and Serge Aurier.
Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko will likely feature in midfield. They will look to do the dirty work in the middle of the park with the duo possessing high fitness and physical levels. A trio of Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min would look to get the better of a Liverpool defence which has looked shakier than last season.
Despite their form, Tottenham still pose a threat to Liverpool. Their defence is weakened considerably due to the lack of quality in the full-back positions. Three centre backs would, in theory, shore things up at the back, but Liverpool have an excellent record when coming up against a back three.
If Tottenham do sit deep then Oxlade Chamberlain could prove to be the difference, the Englishman has the capability to score from long range and he could be vital when unlocking a low block defence.
But Liverpool should have too much quality. The front three have recorded their best start to the season and the welcome the return of a host of midfielders has given them the option to attack from different areas of the pitch.
Mohamed Salah has a good record of scoring against Tottenham and will be looking to continue his streak in a 2-1 win.
Predicted final score: Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur