Liverpool travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday and will be hoping to pick up three points after back-to-back league losses against Nottingham Forest and Leeds.
The Champions League win over Napoli in midweek will have come as a welcome confidence boost. Likewise, Tottenham will be prepared for the game after their own midweek heroics that saw them comeback in Marseille to also reach the Champions League knockouts stage.
That coupled with the 3-2 comeback against Bournemouth last weekend has seen a trend of Tottenham grabbing late goals that seal or steal the points. In the league alone nine of the 26 goals scored this season have come in the 73rd minute or later, roughly 35%.
Likewise, in the Champions League four of the seven goals were scored came after the 75th minute, which secured 11 points to take them top of the group. This is the kind of mentality Antonio Conte will demand from his team as, in the past, Spurs have struggled to grind out results and show that ‘never say die’ attitude.
But this is a Tottenham team riddled with injury woes, especially in the forward area. Harry Kane will be without his long-time partner Son Heung-min, who suffered an eye fracture in midweek and will undergo surgery, leaving the South Korean in doubt for the World Cup.
The Lilywhites are also without Richarlison but Dejan Kulusevski is set to be called back to the team. The Swede has not played since September’s international break so might appear as a substitute, leaving the door open for Lucas Moura to get his first league start in a 3-5-2 alongside Kane.
Cristian Romero will also still be unavailable for the clash, and the Argentine is not expected back until after the World Cup, resulting in the same back three that played Bournemouth last weekend.
Emerson Royal will be expected to start on the right, but Ivan Perisic could be the key to picking up points. The ex-Inter Milan wingback has provided the most assists of any Tottenham player with seven in all competitions this season and in the league has xAssist of 0.33 per 90 (top 1.3%) and successful crosses of 2.07 per 90. To compare, Trent Alexander-Arnold has xAssist of 0.2 per 90 (top 6%) and successful crosses of 1.43 per 90.
The Croatian international is vital to Spurs’ set pieces this season. These could be a key factor of the game in North London as nine league goals have come from set pieces, 35% of their league total and the highest of any team.
Klopp could play into Conte’s hands with his counterattacking style and the deployment of Moura as a striker, combined with their defensive frailties this season. The German could also face the wildcard of Bryan Gil as a substitute, who has looked good in limited minutes this season and can provide a shot of creativity late in the game, especially if he is brought on along side Kulusevski to change to a 3-4-3.
Neither team has particularly impressed this season, but Spurs have been able to grind out results compared to Liverpool. Klopp’s men will have to be ready for a physical clash, but a result at N17 could be a turning point in the Reds faltering Premier League campaign.