Thursday, May 23, 2024

Prediction: Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are set to collide at Anfield in Sunday’s highly anticipated showdown, both striving to correct recent missteps which have caused the hosts to lose significant ground in the Premier League title race, and put the visitors on the brink of failing to qualify for the Champions League next season.

The last time these teams met, back in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Liverpool had two players sent off and a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out through miscommunication between the VAR and the on-field referee, and the vast controversies which plagued that match will only make this one more interesting.

Liverpool

It’s an unexpected end for departing Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp, who will depart Anfield with another League Cup winners’ medal but sees Liverpool’s dreams of a quadruple dashed within just a few months.

The FA Cup and Europa League exits at the hands of Manchester United and Atalanta, respectively, have preceded Liverpool virtually bowing out of the Premier League title race. With just one win in their last five league matches and a mere point from the last six available, their hopes have dwindled close to non-existent.

The 2-2 draw with West Ham United, which followed a home defeat to Crystal Palace, highlighted Liverpool’s recent struggles. Klopp’s heated exchange with Mohamed Salah on the touchline at the London Stadium further symbolized their end-of-season downturn.

Liverpool, currently in third place, realistically need a victory on Sunday to keep any slim hopes of securing their second Premier League title alive. They trail Arsenal by five points and would fall seven points behind Manchester City if the champions win their match in hand. A draw against Tottenham would not be enough if Arsenal secure a victory against Bournemouth in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Additionally, Liverpool face the risk of suffering three consecutive home defeats in all competitions for the first time since the 2021 behind-closed-doors era, following recent losses to Atalanta and Crystal Palace without scoring. However, they received a boost on Thursday evening due to the failure of their upcoming opponents against Chelsea.

Team News

Liverpool will be without four players for the remainder of the season due to injuries: Joel Matip (knee), Ben Doak (knee), Bobby Clark (unspecified), and Thiago Alcantara (muscle). There are concerns that Matip and Thiago may have played their final games for the club as their respective contracts expire this summer.

In a worrying development, captain Virgil van Dijk missed training ahead of the match, raising doubts about his availability.

On a more positive note, Conor Bradley has returned to full training following an ankle injury and is expected to be involved on Sunday, likely on the bench. However, Diogo Jota is still recovering from a hip problem and is unlikely to feature against Tottenham.

The recent dispute between Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp stemmed from Salah’s omission from the starting lineup against West Ham. Klopp has emphasized that there is no animosity between them, which may have been a hint that Salah will be reinstated to the starting XI for this match.

Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool secured their return to the Champions League following Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea. Ange Postecoglou’s animated presence on the touchline reflected the frustration as his team was outmatched and outplayed.

Tottenham’s recurring issue with set-piece vulnerabilities was evident once again, with Trevoh Chalobah and Nicolas Jackson capitalizing on defensive lapses to give Chelsea the victory. The 22 set-piece goals conceded in the 2023/24 Premier League season rank Tottenham third, trailing only Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United. Despite sitting fifth in the table, Spurs remain seven points behind Aston Villa with just one match in hand.

A fourth consecutive Premier League defeat for Tottenham, coupled with potential Aston Villa victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, could extinguish their Champions League hopes. However, Postecoglou has emphasized that securing a top-four finish is not the primary objective in his squad’s debut season.

The Tottenham faithful, who have witnessed their team record just one clean sheet in 17 top-flight games, may have different expectations to those of their manager. Nonetheless, Spurs fans fondly recall their team’s memorable victory over Liverpool in September, albeit aided by a VAR controversy involving Luis Diaz’s wrongly-disallowed goal.

Team News

Spurs didn’t suffer any additional injuries against Chelsea, but they already have six players – Timo Werner, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Manor Solomon, Destiny Udogie and Fraser Forster – out for the rest of the season.

James Maddison started the Chelsea game on the bench, but at Anfield, he might make his return to the starting XI, likely in the place of Brennan Johnson.

Conclusion

Spurs have limited time to recover from their fruitless visit to Stamford Bridge in mid-week, and their problems with defending set-pieces add to the issues Postecoglou has to deal with. And while Liverpool’s recent form has also been largely underwhelming, motivated by the September woes, the Reds are likely to find the strength they need to beat the Sunday’s opponents.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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