Tottenham v Liverpool: Pressure On
Tottenham Hotspur visit Liverpool for a Premier League tie that could be one of the most important matches played at Anfield in years. Let’s take a look at some of the history, the heartbreak and what this game could potentially mean for both sides going forward.
Liverpool Deja Vu?
Leading by a point with a game in hand, this is the closest Liverpool have been to a league title since 2013/14. It’s no secret that the Reds have struggled to close the deal towards the end of the season, especially when the title is on the line. That year, Manchester City clinched the title with a final-day 2-0 victory against West Ham. With two weeks remaining that season, Liverpool were all set to take on the hardware. Deja vu anyone?
The Reds had won an impressive 11 wins in a row between 8th February to 20th April, putting themselves in a fantastic position to win their first title in 24 years (at the time), needing only seven points from the last three games. A crushing defeat to Chelsea was followed by a mind-boggling encounter against Crystal Palace in which saw Liverpool throw away a 3-0 lead to draw the game. Manchester City took advantage of their catastrophic slip-up and ended up lifting the trophy despite holding the top spot for all of 16 total days of the season.
While the Merseyside squad had a stellar start to the 2018/19 season, the new year has not been particularly kind in comparison. Their 2-1 January 3rd loss to Manchester City knocked out the spring in their step to start the new year, and they drew 4 games of their following 10 games after that day. They had drawn only 3 of their previous 20 Premier League ties until then.
This is not to say that today’s Reds will suffer the same fate as their 2013/14 side and are somehow destined to repeat past mistakes. The story of the 2018/19 season is far from written. Klopp’s side have certainly had their share of struggles this year, but this is still the same squad that’s proven unbeatable in Anfield so far this year. This is still the side that has recorded just a single loss and is looking like a strong contender to lift the Champions League trophy in June.
Despite the fact that Manchester City’s confidence is at a high-point, they are in contention for 3 trophies, and with a large number of players with past or looming international duty, fatigue is surely a growing concern for Guardiola’s squad.
The way Jurgen Klopp’s players return from the international break will determine the way they perform down the stretch.
What’s up with Tottenham?
Between the 22nd of September and the 10th of February, Tottenham played 21 Premier League Games, winning 16, losing 5 and drawing none. This despite injuries to star striker Harry Kane and Dele Alli. On the 10th of February, they were sitting just a few points behind Manchester City with a top 4 finish all but locked up. However, a 2-1 loss to Burnley marked the start of a 4-game drought which saw them secure just a single point in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, which followed up a 2-1 loss to Southampton before the international break.
Speaking of the international break, 16 of Mauricio Pochettino’s men travelling an astounding 61,883 air miles on duty for their countries over the last two weeks. You can be relatively sure that this will have an impact on their overall fatigue levels going into Sunday’s Anfield clash. To add injury to insult, Eric Dier suffered a muscle injury during Englands 5-0 drubbing of the Czech Republic on home soil, while Serge Aurier sustained a hamstring injury playing for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Their Premier League decline seen their once comfortable 10-point lead over 4th place Arsenal shrink to 1, with both the resurgent Manchester United & Chelsea smelling blood just 3 and 4 points behind. A couple more slip-ups towards the end of the season could potentially have Pochettino & co scrambling to retain a top 4 finish after contending for the league title for most of the season.
A victory for the Reds would keep the pressure on Manchester City, whom they currently lead for first place by 2 points with an extra game played. That being said, Klopp needs to somehow keep his players focused on each individual game rather than the ramifications a slip-up could cause to their title hopes. A win here could boost their Premier League confidence and spark another run, as Tottenham are arguably the strongest side they’ll be facing for the rest of the season.
Spurs are suffering of late and their confidence is at a season-low with their top 2 finish hopes dashed. Their Champions League draw versus Manchester City, a side that has hit their stride in a big way of late, must also be weighing heavily on their collective mind. The Spurs’ relatively disappointing record at Anfield is also something to consider, as the side hasn’t won there since a 2-0 win in May 2011. That being said, their most recent visit of the Merseyside squad was in February 2018, a 2-2 draw.
Wrapping things up
Jurgen Klopp knows that a disappointing result here can mean disaster for Liverpool’s hopes for their first league title in the Premier League era. If he can mentally prepare his side for this final stretch of the season by keeping his squad relaxed and focused on each individual game, it could be a landmark year for Reds fans.
On the flip side, Pochettino is in damage-control mode, and this tie with Liverpool could not be at a worse time for the North London squad. They face Manchester City 3 times in 11 days in mid-April, 3 matches that could see their Champions League dreams dashed and put their top 4 finish in jeopardy.
Liverpool have plenty to lose this Sunday, but we think that the Reds have too much talent, and Klopp will have his side ready to defend their home turf with vigour against and ailing Tottenham squad.
Liverpool 3 – 1 Tottenham
To support our prediction, we’re offering a Mr Green Special with boosted 5/2 odds on Liverpool to emerge with all 3 points, but both teams to score.
As always, Mr Green is also offering all the betting markets under the sun for you to take advantage of for this tie.
Keep an eye on our Twitter feed to get the latest team news for both squads, along with anything that can affect the final outcome on Sunday. We’re constantly giving out the latest on Mr Green Specials there too, so make sure you take a quick peek at the latest offerings before placing your bet.