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Preview: Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Christmas will come early for Premier League fans when the champions host the leaders in a mouth-watering midweek showdown as Liverpool welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield on Wednesday night.

The two sides are separated by only goal difference heading into the contest, but both will be looking to bounce back from underwhelming 1-1 draws at the weekend.


Match preview

Liverpool's Joel Matip celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on December 6, 2020© Reuters

The scene could hardly be set more enticingly for this Christmas cracker of a fixture as the league's top two sides go head to head under the Anfield lights while level on points.

Liverpool and Spurs have an identical record of seven wins, four draws and one defeat so far this season, and also have identical form of two home wins and two away draws from their last four league games.

Wednesday's contest also pits the league's best attack against the league's best defence, and the best home form against one of the best away records in the division this season.

There are plenty of perfectly-poised elements to this game, then, but despite being so well matched in so many areas, it is Liverpool who will go into it as favourites due largely to their home form.

Comfortable victories over Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last two league games at Anfield mean that they have now won 31 of their last 32 such outings, taking a staggering 94 points from the 96 on offer in that time, and scoring 93 goals too.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on November 22, 2020© Reuters

The unbeaten run now stretches back to 65 games, although on Wednesday they will face a Tottenham Hotspur side full of confidence that they could be the team to end that run.

However imperious that home record is, Liverpool do still have their problems this season - not least in the injury stakes with as many as nine first-team players in danger of missing this game.

Sunday's 1-1 draw at Fulham was also a fifth consecutive Premier League away game which Liverpool have failed to win, meaning that they have already dropped 11 points this season.

It took the Reds until the 35th game last season to drop their 11th point, going on to drop just 15 all term, while at the same stage of 2019-20 they were nine points better off and already eight points clear at the top of the table.

There is no doubt that their form has dropped off since clinching the title, but this is a season like no other and, considering their injury problems, Jurgen Klopp will be satisfied to still be sitting joint-top of the table.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho pictured on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool were always expected to sit in and around the upper echelons of the table this season after cruising to the title so convincingly last term, but fewer people backed Spurs to be right up there with them at this stage of the campaign.

A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday dented their title hopes somewhat, but there is nonetheless growing belief amongst the supporters that this could be the year they end a 60-year wait to be crowned champions.

There is good reason for that too; Spurs have already beaten Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal this season, in addition to picking up a good point away to Chelsea.

Ending Liverpool's long home unbeaten record would be the biggest statement of their title credentials yet, while they also face Leicester and Wolves in their next two league games after Wednesday to cap off a testing festive schedule.

If, at the end of all of that, Spurs still lead the way then it will be hard for anyone to dismiss the chances of Jose Mourinho winning a fourth Premier League title as a manager, although the flip side of that is that a slump in form could suddenly see them fall away, such is the tight nature of the table this season.

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates with Son Heung-min after scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League on December 6, 2020© Reuters

Spurs are now unbeaten in their last nine away league games - their longest such run since April 2018 - and, while four of those have been draws, they would probably regard another stalemate as a good result on Wednesday night.

Tottenham have also won three of their last seven away league games against the reigning top-flight champions, which is as many as they had managed in their previous 40 such matches.

Add to that the Mourinho factor and his ability to grind out results when visiting fellow 'big six' opposition and Spurs have every reason to believe that they can achieve the rare feat of coming away from Anfield with something as a visiting team.

That said, Mourinho has never won in five previous away meetings with Klopp, which is his worst such record against any manager in his career.

Whether he can end that hoodoo - and Tottenham can end their poor recent record against Liverpool - remains to be seen, but it is a very finely poised encounter which could prove to be pivotal at the end of the season.

Liverpool Premier League form: WDWDWD
Liverpool form (all competitions): LDWWDD

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form: WWWDWD
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): WDDWWD



Team News

Liverpool defender Joel Matip pictured on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool were forced to play the second half against Fulham with a centre-back partnership of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho after Joel Matip was taken off at half time due to back spasms.

Klopp has raised hope that the Cameroonian could recover in time for this match, but if not then either Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips could be drafted in instead.

Matip joins an already lengthy list of injury concerns, which now includes Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas, both of whom could miss up to two months after picking up injuries in last week's Champions League dead-rubber against FC Midtjylland.

Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, Joe Gomez, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri also remain sidelined, while Naby Keita will be assessed ahead of kickoff after suffering a fresh muscle injury.

Tottenham's injury problems are a lot less severe, with Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga likely to be the only absentees for the visitors in this match.

Gareth Bale missed the weekend draw with Crystal Palace due to illness, but Mourinho expects the Real Madrid loanee to have recovered in time for the trip to Merseyside.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane are almost certain to start again having combined to score for the 12th time this season against Palace - already the second-highest tally for an entire Premier League season, after Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton's 13-goal haul in 1994-95.

Kane alone has been directly involved in 19 goals from his 12 Premier League games this season, and could smash the record for quickest to reach double figures in both goals and assists in a season - currently held by Cesc Fabregas, who managed it in 17 games.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Ndombele, Son; Kane


Head To Head

Liverpool have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning each of the last five meetings across all competitions - a run which includes back-to-back Premier League doubles and a Champions League final triumph last year.

Liverpool have never won seven consecutive games against Spurs, while the last time Tottenham lost that many games in a row to a specific opponent was against Manchester United from September 2001 to September 2004.

In the Premier League alone Liverpool have only lost of their last 15 meetings with Tottenham and just one of their last 26 at Anfield.


SM words green background

We say: Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

While this promises to be a fascinating contest, that does not necessarily mean that it will be a thriller and Mourinho will no doubt set up to soak up pressure before looking to hit Liverpool's depleted backline on the break - something they are capable of doing to devastating effect.

It would not be too much of a surprise to therefore see Spurs end Liverpool's long home unbeaten run here, but it is nigh-on impossible to back against the Reds at Anfield right now. Klopp's side seem to get the job done time after time on home territory, so we are sitting on the fence and predicting a draw here.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Premier League on November 22, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City36265576294783
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd362010670422870
3Leicester CityLeicester362061065442166
4Chelsea361810855332264
5Liverpool35179961412060
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham351771155451058
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs351681161412056
8Everton35168114642456
9Arsenal361671350381255
10Leeds UnitedLeeds36165155753453
11Aston Villa35147144941849
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35129143547-1245
13Southampton36127174763-1643
14Crystal Palace35118163759-2241
15Burnley36109173351-1839
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36109174362-1939
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton35813143641-537
RFulham36512192650-2427
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom35511193268-3626
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3552281862-4417

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