Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has urged his players to be “brave” when they take on title-chasing Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday.
Spurs travel to Merseyside with their own ambitions of qualifying for next season’s Champions League still in the balance.
Conte’s men sit fifth in the table, two points behind north London rivals Arsenal in fourth, with four games remaining.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are still unbeaten in the league in 2022 and have won 13 of their last 14 Premier League games.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds also remain in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, with the EFL Cup already won and an FA Cup final to come against Chelsea. They sit just a point behind Manchester City in the league, and on Tuesday qualified for the Champions League final where they will play Real Madrid in Paris.
Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, Conte praised Klopp’s stars, in particular the way they overcame Villarreal in their semi-final.
65 – Spurs boss Antonio Conte took charge of his 100th match as a Premier League manager today, with his 65 victories only being bettered by Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho (73) through a century of games. Standards. pic.twitter.com/9DXCSudJ25
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 1, 2022
The Reds took a 2-0 lead into the second leg at El Madrigal but were 2-0 down to Unai Emery’s team and reeling at half-time, before coming back to win 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate.
“We know in this moment it is very difficult to play against Liverpool, because they are in really good form,” Conte said.
“I watched the game against Villarreal and it was incredible the calm that the team showed in a difficult situation, because after the first half they were 2-0 down and the atmosphere was very, very difficult for Liverpool.
“I have seen great composure, great calm of the team, and now they know that the team is strong, the team is I think one of the best teams in the world with Manchester City.”
The former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter boss, who was appointed by Spurs in November, was respectful of Liverpool but insisted he wants his players to play with belief and confidence on Saturday.
Spurs have won five of their last seven in the league, and drew 2-2 with the Reds at home in December.
“We have prepared for the game very well, and I think we need to be very good without the ball, to be good defensively, but if we want to win we have to be very good with the ball,” Conte said.
“I said to my players, we need to play a good game and be brave when we have the ball.
“Don’t be scared of the pressure and to find a solution because I think we improved a lot, and we can go there to play and to try to get three points.”
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