Liverpool host Tottenham this weekend and the Reds will be looking to regain their lead at the top while their visitors, who are now battling for a top-four spot, will hope to bounce back from their loss to Southampton and remain in third place.
Indeed, Sunday promises to be a high-intensity encounter between two of England’s Champions League high-flyers. Football FanCast take a look at where the game will be lost and won.
Kitted in red is one of the Premier League’s most in-form players; in white is one who has fallen from grace since a summer in which he established himself as an England hero.
Sadio Mane has chalked up 11 goals and one assist in his last 10 games – a phenomenal strike-rate – and, if he keeps this up, he could be a real dark horse in the race for the Premier League’s Player of the Year gong. The Senegalese has been different gravy in 2019 and is becoming more of a danger in front of goal than 2017/18 hero Mohamed Salah.
Meanwhile, Kieran Trippier, having won the hearts of a nation with his sensational free-kick against Croatia in the World Cup, has had a rough ride – the former Burnley man’s defensive ability has been called into question multiple times and, against one of the best sides in Europe, it may be once again.
There is no doubting the 28-year-old’s technical ability but this isn’t a game in which Spurs can afford to be lax at the back.
No side has conceded fewer home goals than Liverpool this season, whereas no team has scored more away goals in the Premier League than Tottenham – so this game really does feel like a case of the immovable object vs the unstoppable force.
Of course, the question for the neutrals is whether that will result in a disappointing cancel-out afternoon or one in which the strengths of both sides come to the fore, chiefly Tottenham attacking with intent but Liverpool doing a great job of keeping them out.
That’s not to say either team are substandard in the other departments. Tottenham attacking well will only leave space for the likes of Mane on the counter-attack, just as Spurs are actually third for fewest goals conceded on the road.
Either way, this is an intriguing test of a Premier League fortress hosting the away day kings.
There’s good news for fans of City, Liverpool, Spurs and United in the video below…
Shaqiri should be available for the weekend although the Swiss surely doesn’t usurp any of the front three, so it’s likely that his impact will be from the bench. The former Stoke man has shown his ability to cause problems when entering the fray later on – he tore Manchester United apart at Anfield in December – and his directness will be crucial if the Reds are lacking some impetus in the later stages.
Meanwhile, Lucas Moura could drop to the bench after a poor performance last time out in which he failed to record an attempt on goal, but can certainly be of use to Pochettino still. His speed and dribbling ability are unparalleled in the Spurs ranks and he could stretch Liverpool’s defence in the second-half.