LIVERPOOL VS. TOTTENHAM
| Sunday, April 30th |
Premier League | Anfield
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
Liverpool welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield in what might wind up being their most important game of the season. The Reds are fighting an uphill battle to break into the top four with only six league games remaining to make up nine points. It will take a huge effort and also a lot of other results breaking their way. However, the only thing that the players can affect are their own games.
In fact, this Sunday will be a huge day in the race for top four regardless, with the four contenders for that final spot all battling each other. United, on 60 points and with at least one game in hand over their opponents, are in the best position. However, a draw against Spurs midweek already cost them two big points and may have shaken their confidence. Whatever the outcome of that match, as long as Liverpool win their own, it will be a big gain for them.
But can they pull it off? The reason Jürgen Klopp and his team are in this position now is because they’ve lacked consistency this season. Winning two league games in a row has been a luxury. The three game streak they’ve currently created feels like magic. Four on the trot might as well be scaling Everest.
While Liverpool are in the middle of a great run, Spurs have stagnated. They’ve picked up only five points in their last five games, including an embarrassing 6-1 drubbing against Newcastle United last weekend. Additionally, Hugo Lloris missed the midweek match and may not be ready on Sunday either. With or without him, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven league games.
Both teams know what this game means. Liverpool have the Anfield boost, and it’s safe to say that the fans will be up for it. Ibrahima Konaté, who missed the midweek fixture against West Ham, will return to the lineup on Sunday. However, Diogo Jota, who has done fantastic upon his return from injury, received a knock on Wednesday that might relegate him to the bench for the sake of caution.
Klopp’s new formation has befuddled their recent opponents, with Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, and Trent Alexander-Arnold being the recent standouts.
Spurs’ new interim manager Ryan Mason got thrown into a tough situation, but managed to secure a point against United. He’ll be looking to further his luck at Anfield.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Núñez
It’s likely that Konaté will replace game winner Joel Matip in Klopp’s starting XI. Jota, who has been crucial these last few games, may find himself on the bench preventatively. He received a knock against West Ham, and since he only just returned from injury, Klopp might take the long view and start Darwin Núñez instead.
Stefan Bajcetic and Calvin Ramsay remain Liverpool’s long-term injuries. Roberto Firmino and Naby Keïta both have muscle issues and won’t be ready by Sunday — though Keïta has an outside chance.
For Spurs, Yves Bissouma, Rodrigo Bentancur, Ryan Sessegnon, and Emerson Royal are all out, but Lucas Moura will return from his three match ban on Sunday to be an option for Mason in attack.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “This is a season where a lot of things were difficult for a lot of teams. It’s not a cool for us, but it opens the door for other teams. Little mistakes during a season can have a big impact. The team they have is still exceptional. Why it didn’t work out for them, I have no idea. They were for years the best counter-attacking team in Europe. I expect them to be really good.”
Ryan Mason: “Obviously we’re talking about an exceptional footballer but they’ve got many different players who can cause us problems. They’ve proven that over the years and we’re aware of that. The focus for us isn’t on one individual as it’s about stopping them as a team and also it’s about us acting as a team with the ball and hopefully hurting them as well.”
Referee: Paul Tierney. Assistants: Richard West, Matthew Wilkes. Fourth official: John Brooks. VAR: David Coote. Assistant VAR: Wade Smith.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST tomorrow. Stick with The Liverpool Offside team to keep yourself up to date with team news and match buildup, live updates, and post-match reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.