This is a new feature we’ll be adding to the Fans Corner website, our opposition’s view ahead of the match. This coming Sunday, Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspur in the eagerly anticipated Premier League clash as both sides do battle for a Top 4 place. I would like to thank Nozrul Ahmed of Tottenham fan-site Spurs In The Blood for contributing to the first Opposition Corner, as we hear his take on Sunday’s mammoth clash.
A lot was made of the ‘Wembley Curse’ as Spurs struggled a bit earlier in the campaign; how would you assess Spurs’ season so far?
It’s coming along. I think we have definitely not performed as badly as many thought we would at the beginning of the season. We have only lost once in the Premier League at Wembley, but we drew so many games which have felt like losses, especially in the first three or so months of the season. As time has gone on, I think we have exceeded expectations so far – eight wins in our last seven whilst scoring 25 goals. Not the worst numbers for a cursed stadium!
When the two sides met in October, Liverpool contributed very much to their own downfall and Spurs were excellent, are you expecting a different Liverpool side on Sunday?
Definitely. Ridiculous to suggest any different. Liverpool are, on their day, unplayable at Anfield. We have struggled for all of my life at Anfield and it will definitely be another difficult game on Sunday. Both sides are desperate for a result and most definitely have very little room for any defeats seeing how tight the race for the top four is shaping up to be this season.
You were very impressive against Manchester United in midweek, do you expect to see the same sort of high-pressing, attacking football or will Pochettino be a little more reserved at Anfield?
As much as I want him to, no, I don’t think he will. It’s frustrating because I do love Pochettino as much as any other Spurs fan, but he does seem to think we can stroll into games like this and play our usual fancy football and find a way to breach your defence. I’d ideally want us to set-up in a similar way to the way we set-up against Dortmund/Madrid – defend deep and be direct. We obviously are strong in defence, so if we can frustrate Liverpool’s attack for much of the game, we have the players on the other side of the pitch to nick a goal or two.
If you win you go one point ahead of us, and if we win we go five clear. Would you agree that this is a season defining fixture for both sides?
Absolutely. This game comes at a crucial time in the season for both clubs. Both sides need a result and cannot afford to lose. If we lose, top four will seem to be going far out of reach for us. Especially as we have the small matter of a North London Derby to be concerned about next Saturday! Not necessarily a must-win game for either side, but most definitely a must-not-lose game for sure.
We all know how good Harry Kane is, but who’s the one other player that Liverpool will really need to be wary of?
Harry Kane has been superb this season, and the boy seems to be getting better with each time I watch him play, but we do have a couple of other players Liverpool will definitely need to be wary of. Hard to choose between them, but Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min very much have the quality to create a moment out of nothing. Eriksen has missed our last two games with illness and it was obvious we missed him with us drawing both the games. Having returned against Manchester United, I wasn’t surprised to see him run the show. When he’s playing well, the rest of our team seems to click. As for Son, he’s been very hot and cold in the last two seasons, but this season he’s upped his game – fancy him to score for us on Sunday if we do manage to get a goal or two.
Liverpool’s front three have won many plaudits this season, if you could take one at Spurs, which one would it be?
That’s a very tricky question. I do love Firmino, Mane and Salah, and think they’re all top drawer players. If I had to choose one out of those three, I’d have to go for Mane. As impressive as Salah and Firmino have been this season, and although Mane hasn’t been consistently great, I think our team is crying out for someone like Mane. I was honestly surprised why we were never in for him.
Finally, your score prediction for the game?
As I said earlier on, this is a game of importance to both sides. As much as both sides would love a win, I think they’ll both be especially careful not to end up losing this one. However, I’m concerned about our set-up and I hope we don’t try again to do what we did last season and come to Anfield to play our own game. If we’re sensible and have a good gameplan, we could come away from this with a very good point which I would welcome. I’m going for a 1-1.
A huge thanks to Nozrul for his contribution, despite me not agreeing with his prediction whatsoever. You can read the preview to Sunday’s game here. You can also follow Spurs In The Blood on Twitter (@SpursInTheBlood) which I would highly recommend you do.