Big Match Focus: Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

Jurgen Klopp's title-seeking Liverpool face perhaps their biggest test left in the Premier League run-in when Tottenham visit Anfield.

Pochettino's Spurs has never won at Anfield till date.   -  Getty Images

Tottenham represents one of the biggest hurdles left for Liverpool in its quest to win a first ever Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp's side went into the international break with a two-point advantage over Manchester City, but could be behind the reigning champions again by the time it hosts Spurs on Sunday.

The Reds, unbeaten in the top flight since a January 3 loss to City, have seven games left and Spurs is, on paper at least, arguably its toughest remaining assignment.

Mauricio Pochettino's men may have been unable to last the pace in this title race but will be equally keen for the points given the battle for a top-four spot remains tight.

POCHETTINO SEEKING RARE ANFIELD SUCCESS

Tottenham is finally due to host its first competitive game at its new stadium next week - and it will hope to turn that ground into a fortress akin to Anfield.

Liverpool is unbeaten in 36 league games on home soil, a run that dates back to a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in April 2017, while it has not been beaten by a 'big-six' side on Merseyside since Wayne Rooney scored Manchester United's winner in January 2016.

In fact, Pochettino's Spurs has never won at Anfield in any competition in the Klopp era, with Spurs drawing twice and being beaten twice. Its only win over 'big-six' clubs in the past seven fixtures came against Chelsea in November 2018.

Four of the seven Premier League fixtures between Klopp's Liverpool and Pochettino's Tottenham have been drawn. Spurs' only success was a 4-1 thrashing of the Reds at Wembley in October 2017.

FORM GUIDE

Once considered outsiders for the title, Spurs' rotten four-match winless run - which has included three defeats - has virtually extinguished its aspirations of pipping Liverpool and City.

Failure to beat Liverpool would equal its longest winless run in the top flight under Pochettino, the last five-game sequence coming in 2016 when it pushed eventual champion Leicester City close in the title race before fading.

The front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino may relish facing Tottenham given its recent struggles, Spurs having kept only one clean sheet in its last nine fixtures and conceding at least once in each of its previous five.

Meanwhile, Liverpool, which has kept clean sheets in four of its past six games, appears to be showing no sign of cracking under pressure and is bidding for a third successive victory for the first time in 2019.

HEAD-TO-HEAD (Sadio Mane vs Harry Kane)

While Salah and Firmino have blown hot and cold - particularly when compared to their 2017-18 form - Senegal international Mane appears to have raised his game and no player has scored more Premier League goals than his nine in 2019.

He has 17 goals in total in 2018-19, the same as team-mate Salah and Spurs' Kane, though Mane boasts a better shot-conversation rate (24.6 per cent) than both (Salah 16.4 per cent and Kane 18.3 per cent).

Kane has scored each of Spurs' last four goals in all competitions and converted a late penalty at Anfield last term to rescue a point. Of Kane's 17 goals, 11 have come away from home - a figure that is almost three times as many as the next best Spurs player's haul (Son Heung-min and Dele Alli with four each).

HISTORY SAYS...

Goals are likely in this fixture. Twelve have been scored in the last three alone and a 0-0 draw in Klopp's first game in charge in October 2015 remains the only goalless stalemate between the two since February 2012.

That shut-out four years ago also happens to be the only clean sheet Spurs has kept in its last 14 games across all competitions against its next opponent.

Spurs' last Premier League victory at Anfield came in the penultimate game of the 2010-11 season. Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric scored the goals on that day against a Liverpool side that featured Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll.

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