Big Match Focus: Liverpool vs Tottenham

After dropping points against Manchester United, Liverpool will hope to start a new Premier League winning sequence against Tottenham.

Liverpool face Tottenham in a repeat of last season's Champions League final   -  Getty Images

Liverpool's dream of clinching a record-equalling 18th consecutive Premier League victory fell flat in its 1-1 draw at Manchester United, but the visit of an erratic Tottenham side provides an ideal chance to bounce back.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino might have hoped for a big win at Old Trafford for the table-topping Reds, who could have something of the wounded animal about them at Anfield on Sunday.

Tottenham has won just one of its last four league games but enjoyed a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in midweek, with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela all scoring.

Pochettino will need his players to be at their best to get a result at Anfield, where Liverpool is unbeaten in 44 Premier League games since Crystal Palace beat the host 2-1 in April 2017.

FIT-AGAIN SALAH ADDS TO TOTTENHAM'S TROUBLES

Liverpool looked strangely toothless for long periods at Old Trafford, with Mohamed Salah's absence keenly felt in Jurgen Klopp's attack.

 

The Egypt international is expected to be fit to face Spurs and his inclusion on the team-sheet will be enough to dampen spirits in the visiting changing room.

Salah has scored six goals in his last eight starts in all competitions against Tottenham, plundering goals past Spurs for Basel, Fiorentina and Liverpool.

The threat of an upset at Anfield relies largely on the shoulders of Kane, who has been directly involved in seven goals in nine Premier League appearances against the Reds.

Kane netted three goals in two games against Liverpool in 2017-18, but his failure to score in either of last season's league fixtures between the two sides coincided with a pair of defeats for Spurs.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: ROBERTO FIRMINO V HARRY KANE

While Kane has scored six goals in his last seven games in all competitions for Tottenham, Firmino has just one in his last eight for Liverpool.

But a glance at the stats dating back from the start of 2018-19 gives a better indication of how well matched these two strikers are, and how much more creative Firmino is than the Tottenham number 10.

Firmino has created 54 Premier League chances and provided nine assists since the start of last season, while Kane has mustered just five assists from 36 chances created.

 

Firmino makes an average of 42 passes per game, with an accuracy of 80.2 per cent, dwarfing Kane's average of 20 per game at 72.5 per cent accuracy.

But when it comes to goals, Kane is very much the man: he has scored 22 in 37 appearances since the start of last season, averaging 0.6 per game, while Firmino has scored 15 in 43 appearances for Liverpool (0.4 per game).

FORM GUIDE

This fixture could hardly have come at a worse moment for Tottenham, which is in its worst period of Premier League away form for 18 years having failed to win any of its last 10 games on the road.

It is up against a Liverpool side which, despite the blip last weekend, remains  in imperious home form and has won all of its last 11 Premier League games at Anfield.

One glimmer of hope for Spurs could lie in the fact that Liverpool has not kept a clean sheet in their last four home league games, conceding once each against Norwich City, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Leicester City.

Scoring goals has not been Tottenham's major shortcoming - it scored five goals in its last four Premier League away games - but shoring up a defence that has conceded 10 goals in five league games on the road is a complex challenge.

HISTORY SAYS...

Spurs are winless in their past eight league visits to Anfield (D3 L5), with their most recent victory on the ground coming all the way back in May 2011 when Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric scored in a 2-0 win.

Liverpool won this fixture in March thanks to a last-minute own-goal from Toby Alderweireld, but the points were shared in 2017-18 when Kane converted a penalty in second-half stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw.

Victory for Liverpool on Sunday will take the team within one win of equalling its longest top-flight winning run at home of 13 games between April and November 1985.

Klopp's men would be more than happy with a repeat of the last time the two sides met: a 2-0 Liverpool victory in the Champions League final in June.

 

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