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The Numbers Game: Liverpool out to continue dominance over Spurs and keep slim top-four hopes alive

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Apr 2023

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Liverpool and Tottenham face off on Sunday in a pivotal game for both teams’ slim Champions League aspirations.

Jurgen Klopp’s man have endured a hugely underwhelming campaign after narrowly missing out on the Premier League title last season, and sit seven points adrift of the top four having played a game more than fourth-placed Manchester United.

Tottenham, under the interim charge of Ryan Mason after Cristian Stellini was sacked following the 6-1 humiliation at Newcastle United, responded to that drubbing by recovering from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Erik ten Hag’s side.

But Spurs are six adrift of United having played two games more, and defeat at Anfield may well be the final nail in the coffin as far as their top-four hopes are concerned.

And the omens are firmly against Tottenham.

A kind fixture for Klopp

Indeed, Liverpool have dominated recent meetings between these two sides. The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League games against Spurs (W13 D6), and are unbeaten in 10 since a 4-1 loss at Wembley in October 2017.

Anfield has been far from a happy hunting ground for Spurs, who have won just two of their last 35 away league games against Liverpool (D10 L23), winning 2-1 in August 1993 and 2-0 in May 2011.

On top of that, Tottenham are winless in five Premier League away games, losing as many games in this run (3) as they had in their previous 16 on the road beforehand (W8 D5). It’s their longest run without an away league win since a run of 12 between February and November 2019.

The 31 away league goals Tottenham have conceded this season are their most in a single campaign since 2008-09 (35), while the only two clean sheets they have kept outside London this term came in victories at Nottingham Forest (2-0) and Brighton and Hove Albion (1-0). Liverpool should be very confident of breaching the Tottenham goal.

Leaky Liverpool

Liverpool have concern in defence themselves. Klopp’s side have conceded four goals in their last two Premier League home games (2-2 v Arsenal, 3-2 v Nottingham Forest), as many as they had in their previous nine at Anfield. The Reds have not conceded at least two goals in three consecutive home league games since September 2012.

Alisson has failed to keep a clean sheet in Liverpool’s last three Premier League games, but they have won all of those games.

Liverpool have form for prevailing this season despite consistently shipping goals. They haven’t won four games in a row since November and December and conceded in each of those games.

Goals appear to be a given in this one, and the primary threats are easy to identify.

A game to savour for Salah

Tottenham will not be relishing facing Mohamed Salah again. Since he joined Liverpool in 2017, no player has scored more Premier League goals against Tottenham than the Egyptian (7). The Liverpool talisman netted both goals in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Spurs in the reverse fixture this season.

Salah has been involved in 11 goals in his last eight home games in all competitions (8 goals, 3 assists), scoring at least once in each of his last six. Not since Luis Suarez scored in eight successive home games between April 2013 and January 2014 has a Liverpool player found the net in more consecutive games at Anfield.

At the other end, Liverpool will obviously be focused on stopping Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, though that is easier said than done.

Six of Tottenham’s last seven Premier League goals against Liverpool have been scored by either Kane (3) or Son (3). Kane has scored eight times against Liverpool in the competition, with only Andrew Cole netting more against the Reds (11).

But Kane goals do not automatically mean victory for Tottenham on the road. He has scored in each of his last three Premier League away games, with Spurs failing to win all three (D2 L1). The last player to score in four consecutive away appearances in the division but not win any of them was Steven Fletcher between April and September 2012.

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