Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino suggested Liverpool’s lack of involvement in Europe will help them push for major domestic honours this season.
Spurs travel to Anfield on Tuesday for a fourth-round EFL Cup tie after the Merseyside club beat West Brom 2-1 at the weekend to climb above them in the Premier League table.
Pochettino’s men turned in a jaded display in the goalless draw at Bournemouth on Saturday on the back of their midweek exertions to secure a similar result at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, now level on 20 points with leaders Manchester City and Arsenal in a congested title race, are free of such distractions and the Argentinian believes this plays to their advantage.
“It’s always difficult to play a big team like Liverpool, it’ll be tough,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“They aren’t in Europe and have a very strong squad.”
Pochettino is set to shuffle his pack, with Michel Vorm given a chance to impress in goal, although Toby Alderweireld continues to be sidelined by the knee injury he picked up against West Brom earlier this month.
Like Alderweireld, England striker Harry Kane is stepping up his recovery but the match at Anfield comes too soon, while highly rated youngster Marcus Edwards – an ankle-injury victim like Kane – is facing up to seven weeks on the sidelines.
“It is important that everyone in the squad feels they can play,” said Pochettino, who will be without Moussa Sissoko after Spurs accepted a charge of violent conduct against the France midfielder for an apparent elbow on Bournemouth’s Harry Arter.
He added: “Alderweireld is recovering but still out, Harry Kane is making progress. Edwards is out with an injury picked up before Leverkusen.”