Tottenham vs. Liverpool
| Saturday, January 11th |
Premier League | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
5:30PM GMT / 12:30AM EST
Jordan Henderson will lead the Reds out onto the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch for the first time on Saturday. Like all of us, he will wonder where the inspiration came from when naming the new arena. Something we’ll just never know, I suppose.
Spurs are struggling and, despite Jose Mourinho managing the club for nine matches, haven’t shown signs of turning things around yet. To make matters worse for The Special One, Harry Kane is out until April with a serious hamstring injury and Moussa Sissoko will be in recovery for a couple of months after knee surgery.
The good news for Mourinho is that Son Heung-min has served his 3-match ban for a straight red in the 2-0 loss to Chelsea and will be available to start. Danny Rose and Harry Winks are expected to return to the squad after injury layoffs.
Son can cause Liverpool’s defense some problems but Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will be high on confidence going into the match. Van Dijk is, of course, a magical being. But witness Gomez stepping up to the next level of his game right now.
At the other end of the pitch will stand a defense whose last clean sheet was against Burnley in early December, but you’d have to go all the way back to mid-September to find the only other one.
Mourinho has to sort out his team’s core during this transfer window. If Daniel Levy is willing to pay the money, and if Jose can convince a couple of new defensively minded players into his ranks before the end of January, it’s a near necessity for Spurs to strengthen the base of the team now if they want Champions League football next season.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Klopp has more than a few players recovering from injury—Fabinho, Dejan Lovren, Joël Matip, are close to returning to full fitness, James Milner and Keita both unavailable—but the manager still has plenty of top shelf talent for the trip to London.
I’m expecting Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson to be selected in the midfield along with either Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Adam Lallana to complete the trio.
The front three should be locked in. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané will man their forward positions. Spurs are understaffed and low on confidence. Klopp will want a full assault on Tottenham’s goal from the start.
No surprises in the defense either. Klopp’s only fit senior centre backs are Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk. And, barring catastrophe, Trent and Andy walk right onto the team sheet.
It would be nice to get an early goal and then another mid-game goal and then two early second half goals, control Tottenham out of the game, then a late goal (could be a penalty). That sounds fun.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We have to be unpredictable in this game. We have to make things they cannot prepare for and that’s what we try to do.”
Jose Mourinho: “If you’re confident, it’s not going to be easy, but if you’re confident you’re going with everything that you have and that’s what I want the boys to do, go with everything we have.”
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referees: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakisg
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
VAR: Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard
Kickoff is set for 5:30PM GMT/12:30PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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 the action as it happens.