The Big Match Tactical View: Liverpool v Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino will ask his players to press in advanced positions
Mauricio Pochettino will ask his players to press in advanced positions
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Tottenham ran out 4-1 winners in the reverse fixture - but they have a poor record at Anfield. Michael Cox and Alan Thompson preview Sunday's big game.

"Jordan Henderson has returned in the holding role and must be very disciplined against the threat of Christian Eriksen"

Liverpool v Tottenham
Sunday, 16:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Main Event / Premier League
Match Odds: Liverpool [2.1], Tottenham [3.7], The Draw [3.8].

Spurs hoping to do the double over Liverpool

Tottenham have a dreadful record at Anfield, winning just one of their last 23 visits there - but having thrashed Liverpool 4-1 in the reverse fixture, arguably their performance of the season, Mauricio Pochettino's side should travel to Merseyside with some confidence.

They should be particularly enthusiastic, too, following their excellent 2-0 win over Manchester United in midweek. That was a brilliant all-round performance that demonstrated everything Pochettino wants from his players: intense pressing, quick transitions into attack, plenty of fight and skill in midfield, and a high defensive line. He'll presumably ask for something similar this weekend.

Therefore, don't expect many changes to the starting XI. It would be a big surprise if Lucas Moura, the recent capture from PSG, started here - Pochettino will have a strict gameplan and won't want to include players unfamiliar with his tactics.

Spurs' fab four

Besides, the balance in the final third at the moment is tremendous - Christian Eriksen drifting into pockets of space from the right, Son Heung-min providing speed on the opposite flank and heading more directly towards goal, Harry Kane being a huge penalty box threat but also coming short to link play, and Dele Alli making powerful forward runs from deeper positions. Those four currently seem undroppable.

There are some question marks in deeper positions. Danny Rose was only on the bench in midweek but will probably return here in place of Ben Davies, as he offers more dynamism and speed against the threat of Mohamed Salah.

Serge Aurier is doubtful but could sneak in ahead of Kieran Trippier, although Trippier was a constant overlapping threat against United in midweek. Victor Wanyama is back after injury might have to settle for the bench. Toby Alderweireld is back in training but not yet ready for a first-team place.

Van Dijk to return

Jurgen Klopp will also name his strongest side for this huge battle against a side just two points behind the Reds in the league table. Virgil van Dijk is certain to return to the centre of defence alongside Joel Matip, with Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez on the flanks. Gomez has enjoyed a good season but has also been guilty of a couple of needless errors recently, and may struggle against the speed of Son.

Jordan Henderson has returned to play the holding role and must be very disciplined against the threat of Eriksen popping up in his zone, with Emre Can likely to continue in a slightly more advanced position. That said, both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum only played seven minutes in midweek, so could be deemed fresher and in line to start here.

Upfront is where Liverpool can cause serious problems. Spurs will keep a high defensive line, but the speed of Salah, who sneaked in behind to score in the reverse fixture, and Sadio Mane will cause Spurs real problems. Roberto Firmino is likely to drop into deeper positions, tempting the Spurs centre-backs up the pitch.

This is likely to be a ferocious and high-tempo game between two sides who press heavily and attack with tremendous speed. The midfield battle is likely to be important, and I think Spurs have the tools to cope here - the strength of Eric Dier, combined with the clever quick feet of Mousa Dembele, perhaps the Premier League's best player at slaloming away from challenges in tight positions. That will be vital in terms of beating Liverpool's press, and I think Tottenham will triumph if they come close to their level of performance in midweek.

I'll back a rare Spurs win at Anfield, at [3.7] - a victory that would see Spurs leapfrogging Liverpool in the table.

The Betfair Trader - Alan Thompson

Spurs will travel to Anfield in great spirits, they are now nine games unbeaten and put in a superb performance in their win over Manchester United midweek, a win would put them above Liverpool in the league but above all they will know a defeat would open a five point gap and avoiding that will be the priority.

Liverpool have critically had an extra 24 hours rest between games and know how important a home victory over a top four rival will be. They have an excellent record against Spurs, losing just one of their last 19 meetings at Anfield.

The match odds market prices are pretty much as expected, Liverpool are favourites trading around [2.16] and Tottenham [3.68] and I don’t see any value in getting involved in the match odds at these prices.

Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last seven starts all those games going over 2.5 goals, they may have kept a clean sheet midweek but I don’t see them keeping out this Tottenham side. Both Teams To Score is an obvious play but at [1.55] but it’s another market that offers no betting appeal, similarly Over 2.5 goals is also trading at [1.7] which is way below where I would want to get involved.

Rather than get the smaller return off Over 2.5 goals, I will use the relatively new Goal Lines market and back Over 2.5 & 3.0 at anything better than [1.9]. The payoff for the higher price is of course only getting a half win if the total goals in the game lands on exactly three.

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