Saturday’s early match against Liverpool represents one of the stiffest tests for Tottenham Hotspur in this young Premier League season. Liverpool were tapped by many to be serious contenders to regain their spot in the top four and get back into the Champions League this season on the strength of Jurgen Klopp’s chemistry and Daniel Sturridge’s amazing ability.
Thus far it hasn’t quite turned out that way. The Reds won a frenetic opening weekend match against Arsenal, then turned around and dropped a 2-0 decision at Burnley in a match they dominated but still inexplicably lost. The Reds are banged up already, with Divock Origi, Emre Can, and Philippe Coutinho all doubts for the match. Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva are all also out, but Sadio Mane is healthy, and Daniel Sturridge looks likely to start.
Spurs meanwhile are (mostly) healthy and complete, and look to be the better side on paper, but they seem to be still figuring a few tactical things out. Four points from two matches isn’t bad, but you get the sense that the are a little bit away from really clicking as a team. Maybe the missing pieces are Hugo Lloris and Mousa Dembele, both of whom are out for this match. Or maybe it’s just trying to find a way to get tired legs and new faces to gel together into a coherent attack that will rival the squad they used for the majority of last season.
LIverpool will be a challenge for Spurs despite the home field advantage. The Reds have been a bit of a bogey team for Spurs in recent years; Liverpool are still unbeaten in their last seven matches against Tottenham, a trend that Spurs are hoping to reverse tomorrow.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, August 27, 2016, 12:30 p.m. (UK), 7:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, North London, UK
Official: Bobby Madley
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), Sky Sports 1 / NOW TV (UK), Sportsnet (Canada), SBS One / Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
I was wrong about the lineup last week. Truthfully, I think there are a lot of ways that Pochettino COULD set up his roster against Liverpool. Ultimately, though, there’s the whole issue about Liverpool’s midfield to consider. Spurs played an exceptional match against Crystal Palace with Janssen at striker and Kane at the #10, possibly at the expense of very good performances from Eriksen and Lamela. So we might see that again.
However, Dele Alli’s absence was explained as him recovering from illness, and this isn’t Palace we’re talking about. At their best, Liverpool’s two attacking midfielders can create havoc against opposition defenses, so it could make sense to set up slightly more defensively (and with Lamela and Eriksen in their more natural positions) to try and keep the midfield from getting overwhelmed and to more effectively press.
So with that in mind, I’m rolling with the same lineup that I predicted last week. Which means I’m hilariously wrong again, naturally.
Lots of people picked Spurs to win last week, but only Bryan laid an egg in the table. Nobody nailed the final score of 1-0. A reminder of the scoring: one point for correctly predicting the match result, and a bonus point if you nail the exact score.
|Earl of Shoop||1|
Dustin Menno: Every time Spurs and Liverpool play I expect lots of action and even more goals. And every time I come away disappointed. You can’t fool me, footballing gods! 0-0 draw.
mpachniuk: Spurs will have their statement game soon enough, but it won't be on Saturday. Liverpool are pesky and have performed well against Spurs the past few seasons. Injuries look to favor Tottenham, yet we are still a bit clunky in our end product. I don't see us losing, but we aren't a well oiled machine just yet. 1-1 Draw.
Luke Zimmermann: It's always f***ing Liverpool, isn't it? Klopp's side's midfield is Swiss cheese and Spurs have real momentum after doing the dang thing a week ago. 2-1, good guys.
Alex Greenberg: Spurs haven't beaten Liverpool since November of 2012, with Bale and Lennon scoring the goals. I think that changes here as Liverpool's porous defense allows Harry Kane to get his first two goals of the season. Spurs 2-1 Liverpool.
Brian Meyers: Liverpool lost to Burnley! They will come out of the gates hard to recover their pride this game. Tottenham will probably dominate the second half as they have been as well. 2-1 Spurs
Earl of Shoop: Time to make a statement, lads. A nervy 1-1 draw, a meh 1-0 win - those are okay results, but that's no way to start this league-winning season. Janssen gets his first for the club, Kane begins his defense of the Golden Boot, and Eriksen joins in the fun with a beauty (even odds on it coming from a set piece). Unfortunately, 'Pool get a couple from some jerk or another. Spurs 3-2 in a thrilling match at the Lane.
Pardeep Cattry: Liverpool is good at conceding goals, and Spurs' attacking talent should have some fun with that. Liverpool don't exactly lack goals, though, and will keep it close. Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool
Ben Daniels: Liverpool have been up and down since preseason, following amazing performances with embarrassing losses. After being humiliated by Burnley last weekend they went and dominated midweek in the league cup. Time to bring them back down. 4-0 Spurs.
Ed F.: 3-2 win for Spurs as Liverpool's defensive lolfulness, even with Matip in the side, outstrips their scoring capacity once again.
Jake Meador: 2-2 draw. Janssen, Lamela, Wijnaldum, Coutinho
Bryan A.: Look, you guys know how this works. I predict something dumb and good things happen. So...Klopp's Liverpool team pressure the crap out of Tottenham's less technically sound midfield and turn the resulting turnovers into big scoring chances against Michel Vorm. 4-2 Liverpool.
GN_Punk: It's Liverpool. We always seem to have great matches against them and vice versa. Even without Can in midfield and Coutinho possibly being out, they'll find some way to score. 1-1 Draw.
Salmon Chase: One thing about Liverpool is plainly clear, Liverpool is where the darling managers of great football go to be made to look dumb by Erik Lamela. Is that statement a reach? Maybe. Does it represent a flagrant violation of journalism ethics? Absolutely! Good thing I'm not a journalist I'm a comedian with a dumb pen name. That said go see Andy Lane open for Chris Cotton on 9/5 at Raven lounge in Philadelphia. [Ed: Salmon didn’t put a score, so I’m going with Spurs win a billion to nil.]
Brian Mechanick: I was liking the fire we saw out of a slightly revamped Spurs midfield, and I think it sticks against a Liverpool team that is not in gear yet. Give me a Dele goal, and a 1-0 Spurs win.