On Wednesday, Anfield will play host to an epic clash of the titans when Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool – both on 25 points at the top of the Premier League – battle it out in what promises to be a telling encounter for the title race.
Harry Kane and Son-Heung Min have been at the forefront of Spurs’ good early form. They’re linking up to devastating effect and Kane’s opener against Crystal Palace, assisted by Son, took their combined season tally to 12.
The world-class duo especially thrive on the counterattack when they hit opponents on quick transitions. Kane’s excellent passing range, mixed with Son’s electric pace and lethal finishing, makes them extremely dangerous.
Jurgen Klopp’s intense pressing system is very dangerous, especially as the Liverpool players are well drilled in executing it, but it could potentially play into the duo’s hands.
They press rapidly from the front, and the four-man defence maintains a very high-line in an attempt to suffocate teams high and move the press forward.
Liverpool’s stunning 7-2 loss to Aston Villa showcased that when you bypass the press with clever runs and direct passing: you can expose last season’s Champions.
If Spurs sit in a low-block effectively and then dance around the press – it could represent a great opportunity for Kane and Son to cause havoc with the space in behind.
Klopp’s defence is now a lot more vulnerable than previous seasons. The loss of Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez has weakened them. Their press, on occasion, has also been less intense meaning the space in behind the defence is more available to be exploited.
18 goals conceded in 12 games is a poor record. Only Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, Brighton and Leeds have let in more goals than Liverpool (Premier League).
Mourinho will have to deploy a deep-low block to try and stop Liverpool’s build-up play gaining momentum. They have shown this is possible – Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all great examples of the deep defensive shape working to great effect.
If they can successfully restrict space for Liverpool to work in, Tottenham could find great success when if they move the ball quickly in a transition.
In this massive game at the top of the table, and the hardest game on the fixture list – there is a big feeling that Kane and Son could thrive and potentially expose Liverpool’s new-found defensive fragilities.
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