The biggest match of the Premier League weekend takes place in North London where newly-crowned World Club Champions champions visit Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in a rerun of the 2019 Champions League Final.
Both teams come into the clash with fairly lengthy injury lists, though you can certainly argue that it is Tottenham who are missing the more important players given that they are without Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ndombele, Ben Davies and, of course, Harry Kane. Liverpool will not be able to call upon Naby Keita or James Milner, whilst Fabinho is still out following the injury picked up at the end of last year.
So how will the match play out?
Well, Mourinho’s mask started to slip against the Saints, didn’t? What happened to all that talk of being a changed man? Stuff like that often disappears down the swanny when you are losing to a relegation-threatened side.
The longer Mourinho spends at Spurs, the more issues he is uncovering – and it’s not just that right-back area that is a worry. A bumper new deal doesn’t seem to have fixed Toby Alderweireld, and as we’ve already said, Moussa Sissoko is out for a while now and it says a lot about the state of the side when that is a bad thing.
On the other side of the fence, King Kloppo’s garden is very rosy. Most of his adult players got a rest last weekend as the U18s knocked ‘rivals’ Everton out of the FA Cup. Liverpool look even stronger every time they play in the Premier League and it makes total sense that leading online bookmaker EagleBet have them priced at 5/7 to win this one.
Why? OK, I’ll state the obvious for you.
Sadio Mane vs Aurier. I mean, Mane loves playing Spurs and then they get Serge to mark him?
Mo Salah vs whoever is actually available to play left-back. See above.
The only midfielders Spurs have who can run around a bit are injured, meaning Jordan Henderson could end up looking like Pirlo.
However, there is one sneaky little plan that Tottenham could employ. Getting the bus out of the garage and parking it in the stadium. I know, cunning right? Jose and a defensive approach? But, without their main-man up top they are going to have to rely on the pace of Sonny and Lucas Moura, so if Christian Eriksen can stop sulking long enough to pick them out early Spurs could exploit the spaces left by TAA and Robbo. There is every chance we might get the classic Mourinho 1-0.
As much as I can see that being the way Spurs play, it just won’t work. Prediction number one – Aurier to be booked within 30 minutes. Prediction number two, Liverpool to win 2-0 and Mane scores.