After seeming to turn a corner against Chelsea, disaster occurred at the KC Stadium as Hull defeated Liverpool 2-0. Another struggling team in desperate need of points found renewed vigour and enthusiasm against a Liverpool side with little in the way of creativity or invention against deep, organised defences. The visit of Tottenham Hotspur, however, poses an entirely different problem—one that Liverpool have been successful in answering so far this season.
In hindsight, the game against Chelsea was perfect for Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp's tactics have been effective and successful against top six rivals, the players have always found something extra in big games, and no psychological scars have been built up by repeated failures. There is, of course, no guarantee that a first league victory will arrive at Anfield tomorrow, but Liverpool are far more comfortable taking on rivals at the top of the table than teams attempting to escape relegation.
Spurs are four points ahead of Liverpool, a gap that would be cut to just one with a home win. Five points separate second from sixth, but Liverpool are now chasing instead of defending a spot in the top four. Klopp's team are fifth, only a point above Manchester United in sixth place. Liverpool have remained in the top four since beating Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in September, but a fifth game without a win finally pushed the Reds out of the Champions League qualification places.
Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner
Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum
Mané, Firmino, Coutinho
Danny Ings is out for the season, Marko Grujić is afflicted with a curse that prevents him from being fit in his first season in English football, and Ovie Ejaria is a doubt with an ankle injury. The inclusion of Emre Can is an interesting case. The 23-year-old is clearly out of form but has produced his best in big games against Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea. Georginio Wijnaldum, however, seems to be a better fit in midfield alongside Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. Adam Lallana is a doubt, though, which would lead to both Can and Wijnaldum starting in midfield. Both Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are both doubtful after the pair missed the game against Hull. Klopp is assessing all three ahead of tomorrow’s big game,
Simon Mignolet is set to be dropped after recent high-profile errors but has generally played quite well. The problem with Mignolet is his lack of concentration and reliability that never seem to go away, but Loris Karius needs to show the qualities that moved Liverpool to select him as the club's new first-choice goalkeeper. This is a big test for Karius, and it is almost certain that the former Mainz 05 goalkeeper will retain his position until the end of the season.
Danny Rose will miss the next four games after sustaining a knee injury against Sunderland. The left back sat out Spurs' home win against Middlesbrough last weekend, but Ben Davies is a capable deputy. Jan Vertonghen is another notable absentee in defence, but Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld represent a solid pairing. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Kieran Trippier, and Erik Lamela are all set to miss out. Mauricio Pochettino could very well name an unchanged side as there are no other concerns in his squad.
A draw might not be the most useful result for a Liverpool team in search of a first league win of the year, but defeat would be an undoubted disaster. Pochettino and Klopp have not yet bested the other in Premier League action, but three high-intensity draws suggest that there will be yet another high-tempo game tomorrow. A
Kickoff is set for 5.30PM GMT/12.30PM EST tomorrow on BT Sport 1 in the UK. Online radio coverage is provided by BBC Radio. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, TSN in Canada, Star Sports Select HD1 in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya, Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia, Eleven Plus Singapore in Singapore, and NBC in the US are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.