High-flying Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to prove their top 4 credentials when they host Liverpool at White Hart Lane and continue the impressive start to the new season. The Reds hope the arrival of Mario Balotelli and return of Adam Lallana is going to provide just the boost they need to recover from the Manchester City loss.
Having struggled under both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood last season in spite of the heavy summer spending, Tottenham were not exactly expected to mount a serious top 4 challenge this term. Spurs’ summer signings were hardly world-class, with Vorm, Davies, Dier and Fazio all joining the ranks. But, even with some key players missing a big chunk of pre-season training, Tottenham enjoyed a bright start under Mauricio Pochettino, winning both matches against AEL Limassol to make it to Europa League group stages while defeating West Ham and QPR in the Premier League without conceding. The rebirth of Eric Lamela has been the biggest talking point over the past few weeks, and the Argentine already look like the player who set the Serie A alight just a couple of years ago. Mauricio Pochettino seems to have found a perfect balance in the side, although the back line still looks quite shaky at times, and Spurs were pretty fortunate not to concede against both West Ham and QPR. The match against star-studded Liverpool will be a perfect test for Tottenham defence, and I seriously doubt they will pass it with flying colours. New signing Federico Fazio is in contention, and a number of first team regulars will be recalled after they were rested in midweek.
The task of replacing Luis Suarez has proved to be quite difficult for Liverpool in spite of the number of attacking signings in the summer. Having seen his charges struggle in their opening match against Southampton, Brendan Rodgers decided to take the ultimate gamble and signed Mario Balotelli from AC Milan to further reinforce his front line. The Liverpool boss has been very successful in taming both Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, who have developed into world-class players under his watchful eye, and if he can do the same with ‘Why Always Me’ Balotelli, then the Reds will have a real shot at lifting the Premier League trophy. Summer signings Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno are expected to improve the back line, but with both players largely struggling against Manchester City, one cannot expect Liverpool will manage to keep a clean sheet against free-scoring Spurs. The good news is that Adam Lallana has resumed full training, with Rodgers revealing he is fit to play, while it remains to be seen whether Mario Balotelli will slot straight into the starting line-up. Jose Enrique is finally available for selection, but Alberto Moreno and Martin Skrtel both face fitness tests.
Tottenham’s record of three clean sheets in four games will be seriously tested against Liverpool, a team desperate to make amends for the Manchester City defeat. But, seeing as how Spurs are extremely dangerous up front with Lamela and Chadli supporting Emmanuel Adebayor, a high-scoring encounter appears on the horizon.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 13/20