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Why Sadio Mane will be key as Spurs require “Herculean effort” to stop Liverpool


Liverpool head to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday evening, but is Jose Mourinho about to spoil another Reds party?

Jurgen Klopp‘s side have accumulated 58 points from a possible 60, as they threaten to smash various records this season.

There is still lots of work to do before they are crowned league champions, however, and the weekend trip to Spurs has the potential to be awkward.

The north Londoners haven’t got going under Mourinho yet, but the Portuguese will always be revved up when Liverpool come to town.

With kickoff fast approaching, we spoke to Rob Guest (@RobGuesty), Tottenham reporter for football.london, to get his thoughts on both teams’ season and Saturday’s game.

 

Tottenham are sixth in the Premier League – how pleased are you with the season so far?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli looks dejected at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Not very.

The table definitely looks a lot better for Tottenham fans at present, though, considering they were in the bottom half when Mauricio Pochettino lost his job.

At that point, they were 12 points off the top four but now they are six points behind Chelsea after stringing some wins together under Mourinho.

The lead should be a lot smaller, however, given the poor results over the festive period at Norwich and Southampton.

It has not been a good season for Spurs so far, but at least they are in a position where they could be able to get back in the top four come May, providing results improve quickly.

 

Was getting rid of Pochettino the right call? And how is Mourinho faring so far?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 16, 2018: Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho goes to shake hands with Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At the time, it looked like the right call to part with Pochettino, as something had to change for Spurs to get back up the league table.

The team were way off their best in the opening months of the campaign and finishing in the top four looked so far away just before his departure.

Mourinho had a big impact when he first arrived, winning four of his first five games in all competitions, but results have completed tailed off over the festive period, with one win in five.

The squad definitely needs refreshing, and it is going to take time for him to stamp his mark on the team and guide the club to some much-needed silverware.

 

Which players have stood out most for Spurs?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane (L) and Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Not that many, given the poor form in the first few months.

Toby Alderweireld, who recently committed his long-term future to the club, has been steady at the back and his performances haven’t dropped when others have.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane have continued to find the net despite the team’s struggles, while Dele Alli‘s performances improved in the first few games under Mourinho.

He was disappointing over Christmas, though.

Tanguy Ndombele has also shown glimpses of quality, but his fitness issues have meant that Spurs have yet to see him perform at his best over a consistent period of time.

 

Have any been particularly poor?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2019: Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Rose has not had a good season and he is currently out injured with a muscle injury.

Serge Aurier has also been extremely up-and-down in terms of his form at right-back, yet Mourinho has continued to play him rather than give Kyle Walker-Peters a shot in the team.

Christian Eriksen is another player who has not had a good season and many fans don’t want him involved in the team.

That’s mainly because he appears to be on his way in the summer on a free transfer, as his contract is running out.

The Dane has shown his quality in a few games, but you could probably count the amount of good games he has had this season on one hand.

 

How highly do you rate this Liverpool side among the best of Premier League era?

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side are definitely up there—they have been fantastic over the past couple of seasons.

Liverpool can take teams apart and they have shown that against some of the world’s best sides recently.

I would still have the likes of Arsenal‘s ‘Invincibles’ and Man United‘s treble-winning side ahead of them at present, however.

They could well be deemed as one of the Premier League‘s best-ever sides if they keep on progressing.

 

What do you think is the key to their success?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I think the key to Liverpool’s success is having a good manager and a starting XI that picks itself week in, week out.

The Reds’ defence always used to be a major issue, but the signing of Virgil van Dijk and spending big money on a quality goalkeeper in Alisson seems to have solved that.

Then, having a front three as good as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino means that goals will continue to flow.

 

Who do you fear most for the Reds on Saturday?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 2, 2020: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mane.

The Senegal international has been outstanding over the past couple of seasons and he really is one of the best players in the league.

He will be up against Aurier on Saturday evening and the Spurs right-back will be in for a very busy 90 minutes up against him.

It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he is crowned PFA Player of the Year at the end of the season.

 

Where will the key battles take place?

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with Sadio Mane during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Mane vs. Aurier is definitely going to be a key battle, as it proved to be at Anfield back in October.

One of the major battles across the pitch will be how the Spurs defence copes with Liverpool’s front three.

Mourinho’s men have only kept one clean sheet in 12 games and they have conceded first in their last five games in all competitions.

It really is going to have to be a Herculean effort from the defence to keep a clean sheet at the weekend.

 

Finally, hit us with your prediction…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur players shake hands in front of a No Room For Racism archway during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spurs have been so poor over the past few games, but it would be typical of Mourinho to frustrate Liverpool and get something out of this game.

I will go for a 1-1 draw, despite the hosts’ injury woes.





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