Tottenham fans are a mite nervous about this weekend's match against Liverpool, and not only because Jurgen Klopp has swung in on a vine to take over the struggling Reds. Spurs' central midfield options are thin, and defensive midfield stalwart Eric Dier is set to miss the match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign in Spurs' last match against Swansea.
However, the Telegraph is reporting that Spurs could have both Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb by the time Liverpool gegenpresses into town, as both of them will be evaluated later in the week. Mason hasn't played since injuring himself while scoring the winning goal against Sunderland on September 13, while Bentaleb hasn't featured since late August.
What this means for Spurs' midfield is an open question. Without a true holding midfield backup for Dier, this still means a much different midfield than what we've been used to seeing out of Spurs this year. If you postulate that we're keeping Dele Alli in his midfield role, then Bentaleb would be the most logical choice; while he's not a like-for-like replacement, he played a more defensive role alongside Mason in last year's pivot. If Mason gets the nod, it's possible that Alli would be instructed to sit deeper, or we'd see Alli make way for someone like Mousa Dembele. Or you could throw our healthy midfielders into a hat and pick out two at random.
It seems unlikely that Poche would throw both, or even one, of his returning midfielders into the fire so quickly against a club like Liverpool, though. Poche tends to work his rehabilitated players gradually into the system as opposed to giving them full starts right away. It's possible we'll see one or both of Bentaleb at Mason at some point, but I'd be surprised if either of them starts. Alli-Dembele midfield, anyone?