Jurgen Klopp marshals his men as Liverpool gets ready to host the top-four chasing Tottenham Hotspur, in their own battle to remain in the quadruple charge, in the Premier League at Anfield.
Liverpool and Spurs come head-to-head in the Premier League for the second time this season, after a thriller of a last game between the two sides way back in December. The match ended in a 2-all draw, with spoils shared by both of the managers.
However, a lot has changed since then, in both of the camps. While Reds have done the unthinkable, so far, the Lilywhites are in a fine form of their own. From going all out in the winter transfer market, to literally outclassing themselves every time they step on the pitch- the Conte ball is surely coming in fruitious. Although they have had a few downhill moments in there, like a shocking two-match run in which they lost against Brighton, and drew the following game against Brentford. Nonetheless, few of Conte’s signings have given the assurance of stability to this side, and most importantly they have settled in the new environment quite well.
Going into the match on Saturday, Klopp and co. will be favoured to repeat their heroics yet again! In their bid of trampling City off the top of the standings. But they know, it is easier said than done.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: Saturday, 7th May 2022.
Time: 6.45 PM GMT.
THE LAST TIME THEY FACED EACH OTHER
Jurgen Klopp’s men came back from behind to make it 2-1, till Son Heung-Min fired the equaliser in front of the thousands of home fans, to end the match with a point apiece.
Not going to lie, the large part of the game was dominated by a rejuvenated Spurs side. And it looked as if Conte had made his mindset to take something out of the game, and so his side did. It was an exciting spectacle, indeed.
However, the current form of both sides tilts the game in the favour of the hosts on Saturday. But you cannot rely on the pre-match odds in football, and this season in specific has been evidence of the same.
While the Reds will be expecting to get the max points to put the pressure on the Cityzens, the away fans will be eyeing for a spirited performance from their side given the addition of a few new faces this time around- if it is anything to go by.
HOW CAN THE SPURS HURT KLOPP & HIS TACTICS
Liverpool go into the matchday, on Saturday, with 13 wins out of 14 on the trot, in the Premier League – including a draw against Manchester City.
It is not a fluke when you’re in such an explosive form. Be it in the Premier League, or across Europe, it seems nothing is going out of sorts for Liverpool this season. Jurgen Klopp, without any doubt, has set up a hardcore squad that has adapted to the German’s heavy-metal system. But even they have had moments that could prove fatal in the match if committed again.
No doubt Antonio Conte, the tactician that he is, will look to work on those low moments to hit the in-form Reds. The Italian gaffer will surely look to exploit the defensive highline of his counterpart, German’s Liverpool. Recently, the Reds have been keeping a very highline of defence, often exploiting their custodian Alisson – who has been superb between the sticks this season. The recent spectacle of it is the horror show in the first half of the semi-final 2nd leg against Villarreal. What a shambolic performance it was, from the Liverpool players, if defensively analysed.
Meanwhile, Spurs have found the rhythm to their plays now. In addition to the services of the newly bought players, Kulusevski & Bentancur- both of them have been amazing- it seems as if the connection has been clicking now, than ever before. As they showed in their last game against Leicester City, it was an amazing game from all aspects, if you are a Spurs fan. Kulusevski combined twice with Son, helping the side to a comfortable 3-1 victory.
Thus, this overall show of courage and hard work have proved vital for Conte’s side as they rise from the blemishes of another mid-table scare to being in the fight for the top 4 – they currently sit in the 5th position with 61 points, 2 points behind their London rivals in Arsenal, going into the matchday.
Overall, this could be a huge battle between the 2 sides as Spurs will try and continue to set their mark to be in the race for the top 4. And as for Liverpool, well, they will just keep doing what they have been throughout the season and will look to go above Manchester City for the time being, until the Cityzens play the Magpies the day after on Sunday. This title race is taking its most lethal form, as the end nears- and so is the race for the top 4!
SNEAK PEAK: Players to look out for
Son Heung-Min (Spurs)
Arguably the most likeable personality in the world football, is also a beast of a player when it comes to contributing to his team week-in and week-out. Son Heung-min has more than flourished since the arrival of Antonio Conte. It is as if he has been breathing a new life now. No wonder the newly appointed manager is urging his attacking forward to continue at this current level.
Arguably one of the most lethal finishers in the division, the South Korean is currently the league’s second-best goal scorer with 19 goals, six more than his teammate Harry Kane, and only 3 behind Mo Salah (on 22 goals). While also assisting another 8 goals for his teammates, so far in the Premier League.
Son has been an outstanding performer for Spurs for a number of years now. And this season has been on the same lines. Not to disrespect anyone, but if it is anything to go by then Son has been the most consistent contributor since joining the North Londoners from Leverkusen, back in 2015.
With 8 goals in his last 6 games, the South Korean is, without any doubt, the hottest topic in the Premier League right now. If Spurs have the chance of finally finishing in a top-four place come the end of the season, Son will be as pivotal to those ambitions as his lethal partner Harry Kane.
Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
The breakthrough January signing for the Reds, Luis Diaz has shown his footy prowess whenever he has stepped onto the pitch. It is no fluke to come in a new side, and keep performing at your best week-in, week-out. But the Columbian international has broken all grounds. It is more than amazing to see how well he has fit in the squad, in such a short span of time, as if he has been playing here for quite a while.
Often referred to as Delightful Diaz by the Kopites, he is turning tables at Anfield. And it does not come as a surprise to anyone, seeing how well he was performing at Porto prior to his move to Anfield. Already, winning games by his sole brilliance on the field. Likewise at La Ceramica, in the 2nd leg of the Champions League Semi-final against Villarreal.
The Reds were 2 goals down when he was subbed on for Jota in the second half. And the rest is just beautiful! He came on, shook the confident looking Villarreal side and scored an all-important equalizer.
His stay, so far, at the Merseyside has been far more beyond than the numbers to show for. It has been outrageous, if not crazy. It is already giving us the chills to just imagine what he’ll do next season, having fully trained under Klopp.
Meanwhile, the Columbian International has already scored 3 goals, and has provided another 2 assists for the Reds in just 10 Premier League games. While Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for more of the same from his star signing, the travelling Spurs players will be hoping to stop him from getting forward.
It is remarkable to see how Liverpool have been coping with the injuries, so far, and are on uncharted roads to play the maximum amount of games this season having been qualified for the Champions League Final.
Jurgen Klopp will be more than pleased by his players, on how they have been disciplined at such a busy time period for the Reds. With games coming in thick and fast, there have not been any fresh concerns aside from the Bobby Firmino problem. But the Brazilian is on the course for a speedy recovery and should be back any time soon.
Rotations will be there, given the mid-week Aston Villa clash and then an FA Cup final to play against Chelsea the next Saturday. But it will be interesting to see, what all changes the German may stick to. Or does he wait for the clash against Aston Villa to make those changes, it will be a scenario to watch out for.
Meanwhile, Alisson- who has been in sublime form this season- will look to equal Petr Cech’s all-time Premier League record of most clean sheets by a GK for a season (24). Given, that if he stops an attack of Kane, Son and Kulusevski- who have been combining well in the recent weeks.
The skipper of the English national side, and the club, seem to have been favouring Liverpool a lot in the last few meetings. Alongside Son, no doubt the pair will be a hard task to stop.
Meanwhile, Conte need not worry about any fresh injury concerns, but the list is already huge. With Doherty, Reguilon, and Tanganga, all sidelined for this one. While Oliver Skipp has already been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
Liverpool predicted XI vs Tottenham- Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz.
Tottenham predicted XI vs Liverpool- Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.