Tottenham Hotspur head to Anfield to play Liverpool on Saturday in a huge match that could be a major decider in who takes home the Premier League trophy this season. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is not unaware of the magnitude of this match, but in a press conference ahead of the match he tried to play some mind games, comparing the tie to a cup final... but only for Tottenham.
"We are looking forward to a really, really important game for both sides. Maybe for Tottenham it is something like a final, only if they lose, so they have to win it to make pressure on Leicester. Usually it is not important to think about the situation of the other team but, in this special case, I think it makes sense to think about and know about it. That means it's a final and we have to be ready."
Klopp's a savvy media manager who knows how to deflect pressure off of his club. He's also very clearly not wrong here. Liverpool's league ambitions are essentially dead this season, but Spurs' are emphatically alive, and it's not difficult to realize who needs the win more. Liverpool may be disappointed with a loss to Spurs, but it ultimately won't hurt them too much. The same can't be said for Tottenham.
In the same press conference, Klopp also downplayed his earlier statements suggesting that he might rotate his Liverpool side for this league match with an eye to the Reds' Europa League tie at Dortmund coming up on Thursday.
"We have another four days until the next game, so it is nothing to think about. We can prepare after this. It's absolutely OK and we never had a problem with the balance between the tournaments."
Of course, rotation may not be as much of an issue here if only because Liverpool are so dinged up at the moment. Although Divock Origi appears to be on the mend and might feature in some fashion against Spurs, Daniel Sturridge is the team's only other healthy striker. Liverpool are second on the EPL injury table with nine players out, a list that includes Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva, and Danny Ings, and rumors are circulating about Jordan Henderson's foot.