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    Tottenham vs Liverpool Match Preview


    All eyes will be firmly fixed on White Hart Lane on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp takes charge of Liverpool for the first time, marking the start of a new era at the club following Brendan Rodgers' sacking a fortnight ago. Tying to spoil the party will be an in-form Tottenham side, aiming to redress their recent poor record in the fixture having lost the last five matches, although they come into the game in better form with 10 points from a possible 12.

    It remains to be seen whether Klopp can make an instant impact for a Liverpool team that sit 10th, just three points outside the Champions League places. Much is made of the fact that he took over a Borussia Dortmund team in 2008 that had just finished 13th in the Bundesliga and guided them towards two consecutive league titles, followed by a Champions League final. His success, however, was initially built on stability as the club finished sixth and fifth in his first two seasons in charge and his time at Liverpool could initially be based on similar foundations.

    The German's appointment has been universally approved among the club's supporters, but also across the media and from football fans across the country, who believe his personality, passion and footballing philosophy will add a level of intrigue to the Premier League. He was praised at Borussia Dortmund for managing to get the maximum out of his players, for the intensity of the performances and for the pressing game that suffocated the opposition, allowing them very little time on the ball.



    Klopp is unlikely to retain the back three formation that Brendan Rodgers has adopted in recent weeks so it might take a while for the German to shape the team in his mould but Saturday's match should give us an indication as to how the players will be able to adapt to his tactics. His first week in the job was also marred by the long-term injuries sustained by Joe Gomez and Danny Ings, so he will have a depleted squad to choose from that is already missing Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson.

    Tottenham will be aiming to give the German's introduction to English football a rude awakening and will be protecting an unbeaten run that goes back to the opening day of the season, when the club lost 1-0 to Manchester United. If they perform anything close to the standard of their last home fixture three weeks ago, when they thrashed league leaders Manchester City 4-1, then Liverpool will be facing an uphill task from the outset.

    Despite Spurs' excellent form in the last four league games, they only sit two places and a point above Saturday's opponents, having failed to win any of their first four matches this season. This was partly down to the slow start that Harry Kane made to the campaign, failing to score in the first six games, before finally opening his account in game seven against Manchester City. Their success is partly down to a much improved defensive record, conceding just seven goals in eight games.



    If Tottenham are going to record their first victory in six over Liverpool, it will be vital that Kane performs to the level that he produced last season when he scored 32 goals for club and country. There is so much more to the striker's game than the goals he scores but his goal drought highlighted just how much the club are reliant on him hitting the back of the net. His versatility allows him to drift out wide and into midfield, meaning that defenders find it difficult to pick up the runs he makes and opponents are never given a minute's rest due to his exceptional workrate.

    If the game is tight, then Tottenham will also look to Christian Eriksen to find the piece of magic to unlock the Liverpool defence. The Danish international can play on the left flank or through the middle, has the ability to find pockets of space with his intelligent runs and can penetrate the Liverpool defence with his passing and shooting ability. Liverpool cannot afford to switch off at any stage as Eriksen is a specialist at scoring late goals and it is vital that they don't concede any free-kicks in dangerous positions as the Dane is one of the best set-piece exponents around.



    For Liverpool, with Benteke, Firmino and Ings all out and Coutinho a doubt, there will be even more pressure on Daniel Sturridge to deliver the goals. It remains to be seen whether he will be used as a loan striker or whether Klopp will show faith in a youngster such as Divock Origi. He may also opt for placing Coutinho or Adam Lallana in a more advanced role, playing off Sturridge. The has been no occasion more evident this season of Sturridge's worth to the team than against Aston Villa, when he twice showed the finishing prowess in a 3-2 victory that the club have been lacking this season.

    With Klopp's teams specialising in high-energy attacking football, it is likely that an all-action midfielder such as James Milner will be well-suited to the German's style of play. He has the responsibility, as captain, to lead by example and his enthusiasm, pressing game and ability to work hard should be infectious and rub off on the rest of the team. The likes of Lucas Leiva, Jordon Ibe, Joe Allen and possibly Emre Can will also have the opportunity to stake a claim to a first-team midfield place and will need to buy into Klopp's all-action style and leave nothing out there on the pitch.



    Liverpool have won the last five times the teams have met, scoring 18 goals, with the last Tottenham victory coming in November 2012 when Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale scored in a 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane. Liverpool have beaten their North London opponents 3-0 and 5-0 in their last two visits to White Hart Lane, whilst sandwiched in-between those two matches was a 4-0 win for Liverpool at Anfield. Prior to Liverpool's dominance, Tottenham had won seven of the last 10 matches between the teams in all competitions, drawing another, and scoring 19 goals in the process.

    Tottenham will be without Ryan Mason (knee), Son Heung-min (foot), Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Alex Pritchard (ankle) but welcome back Danny Rose, who missed the trip to Swansea a fortnight ago with a hand injury. Eric Dier serves a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards.

    For Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho (groin) and Dejan Lovren (ankle) are slight doubts and could join Christian Benteke (hamstring), Jordan Henderson (metatarsal) and Roberto Firmino (back) on the sidelines. Danny Ings (knee), Joe Gomez (knee) and Jon Flanagan (knee) are all long-term absentees.

    Score Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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