Liverpool travel to North London to face Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.Tottenham have got off to a flying start. They have won both of their two games, 1-0 and 4-0, against West Ham and QPR respectively.
Tottenham have a new manager in Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine has had a relatively busy summer, transfer wise, as he looks to challenge for a Champions League place this season.
Ben Davies, Michel Vorm, DeAndre Yedlin (loaned back), Eric Dier and Federico Fazio have all come into White Hart Lane.
Spurs fans might feel like they have a new signing in Erik Lamela, too. Lamela was brought in last summer, but the Argentine had a terrible first season with Spurs. Albeit partly down to injuries. Lamela has impressed highly in Spurs’ opening two games, especially against QPR last weekend.
New signing, Eric Dier has had a fantastic start to life in North London. Predominantly a centre back, Dier hasscored two goals in his first two games with Tottenham, playing at right back.
Last season, Tottenham lost to Liverpool 5-0 at White Hart Lane. In that game, Tottenham opted with a midfield trio of Sandro, Paulinho and Moussa Dembele, and in truth, it got absolutely murdered by Liverpool’s trio, Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva. Honestly, it was one of the best midfield performances I’ve ever seen. The energy in that midfield was unplayable. All three of them had a top game.
Against QPR, Pochettino opted with a double pivot of Nabil Bentaleb and Etienne Capoue. So I don’t think it will be a midfield three against Liverpool, which could prove costly, as I imagine Liverpool will opt with the diamond, which is essentially four in midfield.
Spurs do look a totally different side, and I have no doubts whatsoever that this will be a lot harder for Liverpool than their 5-0 rout last season.
Liverpool had a setback on Monday, as they lost 3-1 to the champions, Manchester City at the Etihad. Liverpool had a good first half, but couldn’t take their chances. City’s clinical ways proved costly for the Reds in the end.
Liverpool played with a trio in midfield that day. I think, this time around, they might switch to the diamond. Mario Balotelli will be available for Liverpool in this fixture, and I think Rodgers will opt with the pair of Balotelli and Sturridge up top. Liverpool played with the diamond a lot last season, and it was very successful.
With the bad result in Manchester came more bad news for Liverpool. Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel and Alberto Moreno all picked up injury knocks towards the end of the game. However, Skrtel’s and Moreno’s injuries don’t seem to be as bad as Johnson’s. The message that came out from Rodgers’ press conference was that they will access Moreno and Skrtel tomorrow and on the day, and Johnson won’t take part due to his thigh problem.
If Moreno wasn’t to play, I’d assume Enrique would take his place at left-back. Enrique hasn’t started a competitive game since last October, however. Flanagan is still injured and Jack Robinson has just moved to QPR, so Enrique is our only natural left-back available. There is another option in Emre Can, though. Can played at left-back for former club, Bayer Leverkusen a few times last season, and did pretty well. Mamadou Sakho has played left-back in the past too.
I’d imagine Enrique will play because I don’t think Moreno will be quite ready after his ankle injury. However, Enrique’s lack of match fitness might put off Rodgers.
Three at the back is too an option. Martin Skrtel on the right side, Mamadou Sakho on the left side and Dejan Lovren in the middle of the trio. That seems very unlikely, though.
I think Skrtel will be fine. However, if he wasn’t, I’d expect and hope Lovren moves over to the right hand side of the pair and Mamadou Sakho to slot in and complete the pairing. In my opinion, that would be our best pairing, and it has some serious potential. So, if Skrtel was to be left out, I wouldn’t be too disappointed, because I really want to see that pairing.
Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli will come into Brendan Rodgers’ side. Lallana injured himself in pre-season, but the £25m signing is expected to come in the squad for Sunday’s tough fixture. I highly doubt he will start, though. I’d expect to see some of him though, and I’m extremely excited to see him, as no-one has seen him in a Liverpool shirt, as of yet. Balotelli wasn’t registered in time for the City game. But I expect him to come straight into the side, and I think he’ll do brilliantly.
Joe Allen was Liverpool’s best player against City, I’d say. So it will be intriguing to see if he keeps his place in the side, I think he should. Coutinho would be the one out of the side, if it was my choice. It’s not really dropping Coutinho, as such, it’s just too hard to leave Allen out after a class performance.
I think we should go with Sterling at the tip of the diamond. He will be roaming behind Balotelli and Sturridge. Henderson and Allen either side of Gerrard, anchoring the midfield. Lovren and Sakho, with Moreno and Manquillo the full backs. However, that could be wide of the mark due to injuries.
This is the side I think we should go with (regardless if Skrtel is injured or not):
I think Liverpool will win this game, but it will be extremely tight. I’m going to say a 2-1/3-2 to Liverpool. Towards the end of last season (in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at St.Mary’s against Pochettino’s Southampton), it was pretty obvious that Rodgers sussed the Argentine’s ways out.