Tottenham are finally set to return to action as they host Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Premier League this evening.
Antonio Conte must unleash Emerson Royal from the start against the Reds after he was missing against Norwich earlier this month.
The Brazilian full-back has been an astute addition to the squad since his arrival in the summer and he should come straight back into the side for this game. Japhet Tanganga started against the Canaries and lost four of his six duels, whilst being dribbled past once and failing to create a single chance.
Emerson, meanwhile, has won 56% of his duels for Spurs with an average SofaScore rating of 6.88. Kevin Campbell previously hailed the full-back’s tackling as “remarkable” for Spurs in the top-flight this season and said:
“I’ve been watching him since he was at Betis and he is a really good player. He has a lot to offer.
“It has taken him a little while to settle. But, ooh I must say, that tackle stat just goes to show that he is adapting. He has gone under the radar a little bit. He is a top player and I think he will prove that at Spurs.”
At the time of his comments, only Allan (35) had completed more successful tackles than Emerson (34). He is currently averaging the 2nd-most tackles per game in the Premier League with 3.6, with Rayan Ait-Nouri leading the way on 3.9.
This shows how strong the 22-year-old has been defensively this season and why it could benefit Conte to bring him back into the XI for this match. Mo Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane are a lethal strikeforce and Spurs will need to be at their defensive best to keep them at bay, which is why starting one of the best tacklers in the division is a move that must be made.
The Liverpool front three have scored 31 times between them in the Premier League this season and appear likely to cause Tottenham a host of problems. Whilst Emerson may not be able to contain them all by himself, his statistics suggest that he could play a part in keeping them quiet for as long as possible – giving the likes of Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane a platform to spring attacks on the counter.