Can Spurs Stop Klopp At The Kop?
Adrian Clarke says that Liverpool enjoyed a wonderful New Year’s Eve party after beating Manchester City, but almost six weeks on it’s high time they shook off the hangover…
Played 10, Won 1, Drawn 4, Lost 5.
With League 2 Plymouth the only opponents they’ve conquered, it’s fair to say 2017 has so far been an unmitigated disaster for the Reds, whose heads will feel even sorer should they lose to high-flying Spurs on Saturday.
Considering the formbook, a price of 49/20 on that happening feels pretty kind.
Under immense pressure not to let their season crumble, this is definitely not the fixture they wanted but Liverpool’s road to recovery MUST start here.
That’s why I expect them to make an explosive start. Whoever an agitated Jurgen Klopp selects, he will surely send them into battle all fired up from the opening whistle.
Slow out of the blocks
It will rankle that they’ve shipped the first goal in each of their last five contests, too. So with the prospect of playing another game of catch-up not the slightest bit appealing, my money’s on a pumped-up Liverpool leading at half time. That’s available at 37/20.
Spurs are solid, we know that, but on the road they haven’t been as impregnable. Of the three clean sheets they have accrued away from White Hart Lane, the highest placed side they’ve shut out is Stoke City, currently in 11th.
Taking all three points off them though, is a different matter.
They may lack squad depth, but under Mauricio Pochettino they are physically powerful, tactically astute, solid down the spine, super-confident in their style, and sprinkled with match winners. They’re nobody’s pushovers.
Top scorer Harry Kane loves it at Anfield too
He’s notched in both of his two Premier League appearances at the stadium, and is priced up at 7/4 to score at any time on Saturday. When you consider how shaky Liverpool’s back four and goalkeeper have looked lately, that will be a popular bet. As with the last three game weeks, Grosvenor Sport have boosted his odds to score first, get him at 11/2.
Could it be from the penalty spot?
It’s worth noting that these two clubs have scored more often from pens than anyone else in the Premier League this term (Tottenham 5, Liverpool 6) so there will be interest in the 7/1 on Spurs scoring from 12 yards, especially with Kane the regular taker. Liverpool are 6/1 to score a penalty, incidentally.
The Mane Man
Studying this game from a tactical perspective, I see the Sadio Mane v Ben Davies duel as a key duel. In for the crocked Danny Rose at left back, the Welshman is a decent defender, but light on match fitness. Providing Jordan Henderson can take control of the engine room and feed the flanks with early passes, Davies could experience a trying evening under the lights.
With Chelsea still, just about, in their eye line, Tottenham will go for the win – but I sense that ambition will play into Liverpool’s hands.
They have been uneasy trying to break down ultra-defensive bus-parkers, but in contests where there is a natural ebb and flow, Liverpool seem a far more dangerous proposition. On turnovers they have nimble players to exploit gaps, and they also take less positional risks in this type of fixture.
Liverpool are unbeaten against the Top Six
Unbeaten against the Top Six this term; when entertaining the aforementioned City, Manchester United and Liverpool, their much-maligned defence didn’t concede a single goal from open play. It’s as if top opposition refocuses their minds.
With defeat not an option, I just don’t see Liverpool losing this contest. The 1-1 draw is offered up at just 27/5, and feels a realistic choice, but neither side craves that result.
Therefore I lean towards the hosts.
Liverpool beat Spurs 2-1 in an EFL Cup tie earlier on this season, and that’s my 8/1 pick to happen again.
Jurgen Klopp would love to finally get rid of his New Year hangover, and with Valentines Day just around the corner he may get his wish.
Remember, you can catch the action from Anfield at 5:30pm on Saturday Feb 11th, as well as the rest of the televised Premier League fixtures at any one of our 53 local casinos in the UK!
Grosvenor Sport have generously boosted Harry Kane to score first to 11/2 and Sadio Mané to 13/2.
Image: hydrogen1/flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))