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Preview: Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.
By , Senior Reporter | 2mo

Liverpool face their toughest remaining test in the Premier League title race when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds lead the way at the top of the division by two points, but they have played a game more than champions Manchester City - away to Fulham on Saturday - and will likely find themselves in second place ahead of kickoff.


Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp was keen to dismiss suggestions that Liverpool showed title jitters in their most recent outing, a 2-1 win at Fulham, as they required a late James Milner penalty to overcome the division's second-worst side.

If not for Milner's nerves of steel from 12 yards, the Reds would have headed into the international break sitting second in the table and with little chance of toppling Man City.

As it is, though, they have occupied top spot for the past fortnight to ensure that City are unable to take their foot off the gas. After this tricky test against an admittedly out-of-form Tottenham side, Liverpool have just one more top-six team - away-day strugglers Chelsea on April 14 - to face in their remaining seven matches.

Klopp also has the Champions League to factor in, with Porto - the best team they could have hoped for - to face over two legs for a place in the semi-finals of the competition.

This is very much shaping up to be a season to remember for Liverpool fans, then, though they more than any other set of supporters - in recent years, at least - know just how quickly joy can turn to pain.

The narrow win over Fulham was, no matter how Klopp puts it, a nervy affair and it was only the Reds' fourth win in eight league matches. Those dropped points to Leicester City, West Ham United, Manchester United and Everton have allowed Man City to pounce, setting up what should be a thrilling conclusion to one of the best title races in years.

Liverpool also tend to fare well against fellow top-six opposition, having claimed 13 points from games against the sides in and around them this term. Only Man City (19) have collected more, while Man United are the only side to have have won fewer points from such fixtures than Tottenham (seven).

The Reds' impressive title charge has also been built on an impressive home record and a solid defensive return, though they have conceded six goals in their five Premier League home games in 2019, as many as they had in their previous 17 at Anfield.

Three more points this weekend will make it 37 home league games without defeat and at the same time ensure that Liverpool are very much in the title race to stay. Defeat, though, and it will not take long for the same old 'bottlers' tag to be bandied about.

Recent form in Premier League: WDWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWDWWW


Tottenham Hotspur

It was only seven weeks ago that Tottenham were themselves being talked up as title contenders - rightly so after holding off Leicester to move to within five points of the top two.

That win at Wembley on February 10 made it four in a row in the top flight, but they have not picked up all three points in their four matches since.

The wheels started to fall off with a shock 2-1 loss at Burnley, which they followed up with a 2-0 reverse to Chelsea, a fortunate 1-1 draw against North London rivals Arsenal and a 2-1 defeat at Southampton last time out.

Victories in both legs of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund have softened the blow a little, setting up a quarter-final with Man City and ensuring that their campaign is not over just yet.

Any outside hopes Mauricio Pochettino had of lifting the Premier League title this term are now over, however, and all of a sudden Tottenham are looking over their shoulder rather than ahead at the top two.

The defeat to Southampton three weeks ago, which Pochettino found particularly hard to accept following the concession of two late goals, leaves the Lilywhites' top-four hopes looking a lot more precarious than they did a month ago.

In fact, with Arsenal taking on Newcastle United, Chelsea heading to Cardiff City and Man United playing host to Watford, defeat for Tottenham on Sunday could be pretty disastrous.

They hold a one-point advantage on fifth-placed Arsenal and are three points better off than Man United, while Chelsea are four points behind. This weekend, if all goes to form, could see the race for a top-four finish well and truly heat up.

Recent form in Premier League: WWLLDL
Recent form (all competitions): WLLDWL


Team News

Liverpool may be without Trent Alexander-Arnold this weekend after the full-back pulled out of England's squad with a back problem, while groin injury victim Xherdan Shaqiri will also be assessed, as will Naby Keita.

The two-week break has given some of the Reds' injured players more time to recuperate, but this match is expected to come too soon for Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, though both should make their comebacks in April.

Alexander-Arnold will be given every chance of starting, though, leaving just one or two big decisions for Klopp to make as Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Milner, Adam Lallana and Keita are all battling it out for two midfield berths.

No player has scored more Premier League goals in 2019 than Sadio Mane, meanwhile, and he is very much the dangerman for Tottenham to look out for.

In terms of the visitors, Eric Dier picked up a muscular injury on international duty and will sit this one out, and replacement midfielder Harry Winks is also still unavailable.

Spurs will also make the trip to Anfield without Serge Aurier, another who was injured on international duty last week, but Kieran Trippier is back available and should start.

There is no doubt about the form and fitness of Harry Kane, who has been involved in four goals in four Premier League appearances against Liverpool at Anfield (three goals, one assist).

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Wanyama, Eriksen; Dele; Son, Kane


Head To Head



Liverpool have lost just one of their last 24 home Premier League games against Tottenham - a 2-0 defeat in May 2011 under Kenny Dalglish.

Spurs have been victorious in just one of their last 12 top-flight matches overall against this weekend's opponents, meanwhile, winning 4-1 at Wembley in October 2017.

The reverse fixture in September ended in a 2-1 victory for the Reds, with Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino on target for them.


We say: Liverpool 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur



Spurs are winless in their last four Premier League games, losing three of those, and they are at risk of going five without a win in the same campaign for the first time since February-March 2012. Both teams have plenty riding on this game, with Liverpool at risk of losing ground on Man City if they fail to take all three points on Sunday, and we are backing the hosts to come out on top.






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