Tottenham Hotspur head northwest to Anfield tomorrow in a crucial match that will help try to clear up the race for the Top 4 in the English Premier League. Spurs currently sit in second place, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but a logjam sits behind our beloved warriors in Lilywhite. One of those clubs are Liverpool, who are currently in fifth place just four points behind Spurs. Ahead of Saturday’s match, I sat down with Zach over at our SBN sister site, The Liverpool Offside, to talk about trying to stop Saido Mane, whether or not Boring James Milner is run by Milner himself, and if Liverpool expect to play any semblance of defense.
CFC: I'm terrified! Are you terrified? I'm having nightmares about Ben Davies chasing Sadio Mane around. So, please, tell us you're terrified, like you have to be terrified of Dejan Lovren marking Harry Kane, right?
TLO: Looks up the table at you in second, and Manchester United behind us by one point.
Terrified? No, terrified was several weeks ago, I think I'm well past terrified now. It has been downright painful to be a Liverpool fan in recent weeks, watching all of our good work to start the season just completely unravel. Objectively, I think Liverpool have a lot more to lose from this game than Spurs. And yes, Lovren (and the rest of the team) have been horrifying defensively.
Your best attacking setup this season has clearly been Coutinho and Mane flanking Firmino in a 4-3-3. Why has Sturridge been relegated to the super-sub role?
Don't you have to be super to be a super sub? Simply, Sturridge just isn't the pacy striker he used to be when he latched onto through ball after through ball during the 2013/14 season. He's still more than capable of pulling out a world class finish, as he did in the Europa League final last year. However, injuries have taken a serious toll on his body, and his movement and pressing isn't nearly where it needs to be to fit into Klopp's system. Sadly, he's not been effective for us off the bench, and I assume he'll be plying his trade elsewhere next season.
Any chance you can start Lucas in defense this weekend? We won't mind, seriously.
Hey! Leave Papa Lucas alone! (But seriously, please no).
Since the start of 2017, Liverpool have one victory: A 1-0 win over fourth division Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup. On a scale of "Keep the faith" to "This is fine dog.gif" how concerned are you about this team?
Honestly, I'm beginning to worry about my own mental and physical well-being, given the daily category 5 shit storm of all non-football related news. At this point, I need Liverpool to not play shit football, like, just once, to give me a full two hours of distraction where I can forget the world is falling to hell. I mean, this is fine dog.gif.
We at Cartilage Free Captain are fans of stats, so here's one we just can't help but bring up: 26-16-12. This is the W-D-L record for Jurgen Klopp through his first 54 games. It's also Brendan Rodgers' record through his first 54 games at Anfield. So...I guess the question here is why should Liverpool supporters feel more hopeful with Klopp than with Rodgers at this point in time?
Klopp is doing it without Luis Suarez.
And if we're talking 54 games, Klopp also has the identical point tally as Rodgers' last 54 games. The difference being that our goals scored (and thus goal differential) is much better than it was under Rodgers. This last month has been worse than anything we had seen under Rodgers, but Klopp has proven himself at the highest levels. Even more importantly, Klopp has shown his loyalty with 7 year tenures at both Mainz and Dortmund, in each case leaving those clubs much better off than he found them. I think if Liverpool keep him around for a similar length of time, we'll achieve great things with him.
I know this might sound ridiculous, but do you think that Jurgen Klopp's job is safe, or do you think your owners' brains all fell out three weeks ago and they're grunting, shambling corpse-men?
Before Klopp was hired, I asked the question on TLO, "If Klopp can't win here, who do we bring in?" That question still remains. I think the ownership have to give Klopp more time to build the squad he needs to play his heavy metal football. After all, we're literally one month removed from him being the greatest manager since Shanks.
I'm a big fan of Boring James Milner on Twitter, but how do you think Alberto Moreno feels every time he sees Milner line up at left back and what your thoughts about Milner starting there?
Love Boring James Milner. The twitter account is pretty good too. Listen, I'm not going to lie: our defense is by far the weakest part of the team. We knew it this summer, but I guess we couldn't get many of the players we were rumored to be in for. All in all, Milner has been pretty good at leftback. And there are certainly no calls to see Moreno back in that spot.
Does it frustrate you knowing that you might've signed Dele Alli if Steven Gerrard hadn't slipped into a coma for too long?
Throws computer out window, reading "Gerrard" and "slipped" in the same sentence.
What can Tottenham expect to see formation and lineup wise on Saturday?
Sorry, where was I? Oh. Probably 4-3-3? Coutinho, Firmino, and Mane up top. And I guess Loris Karius will start in goal? So at least we'll look sexy while conceding.
How about a prediction?
This feels like a 1-1. Both sides unsatisfied, and the result not really helping either side. So yeah, let's go with that.
We want to thank Zach for stopping by and chatting with us. I did the same for them over at The Liverpool Offside but their interview will not be up until Saturday morning. Try to catch it when you get a chance!