Can Pochettino Spur on Tottenham?
I’ll have a glass of whatever the Tottenham boys are on, thanks. Mauricio Pochettino is the new face in the White Hart Lane dugout, and the Argentine seems to have rejuvinated a squad that was – at times – out of sorts last season.
Former Southampton boss Pochettino arrived in North London at the beginning of the Summer, replacing Tim Sherwood who himself, took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December. Spurs finished last campaign in sixth, beaten to fifth place that they acheived last year by Everton, suffering big losses against Manchester City and Liverpool in the process. Things seem to have taken a turn for the better so far however, with Tottenham unbeaten in August, recording four wins out of four games.
Villas-Boas had more than his fair share of critics during his time at the helm, mainly due to his transfer policy, of which signings Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela bore the brunt of the stick. In the new regime though, there’s early signs that many of the Spurs misfits are reformed characters, with Soldado on the scoresheet against Limassol and Pochettino’s compatriot Lamela, turning in a man of the match performance against ex-Spurs chief Harry Redknapp’s QPR.
Currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table with two wins from two matches, the Tottenham faithful couldn’t have wished for a better start to the new season. Question marks will remain over their credentials until they prove themselves against a side with significant quality, and what better way to do it then against Liverpool on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers will have been hurting over the the collapse of his side’s title push towards the end of a thrilling Premier League title race and the departure of his top scorer, the mercurial Luis Suarez to Barcelona during the Summer. The Northern Irishman can be suitably inspired by the exploits of his men as they netted an astonishing 101 goals last term, with Suarez’s strike partner Daniel Sturridge attributing to a hefty 22 of those goals.
While offloading the troublesome Suarez may have caused many amongst the Kop to doubt whether their team will be able to replicate another title challenge, but Rodgers has seen to bolster his squad and add the strength in depth needed to cope with the rigours of an added Champions League run. Trio Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have arrived from Southampton, full-backs Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have also joined alongside midfielders Emre Can and Lazar Markovic. The most eye-catching signature of them all though, will be that of Mario Balotelli.
Having rid themselves of one troublemaker, Liverpool have recruited another in former Manchester City striker Balotelli. The Italians’ spell at the Etihad was plagued by his off-the-field and sometimes, on-the-field antics, but there can be no doubting his ability. Balotelli averaged around a goal every other game for AC Milan last season and Rodgers will be hoping he can replace the form of Suarez. With the striker’s hunger for finding for finding the back of the net and penchant for grabbing the headlines, Coral’s offering of 13/2 to notch the first goal looks a decent price.
Both sides are noted for their strength in going forward, so the winner of this clash may well be the side who defends the better. With this in mind, any goalkeeper to claim the man of the match award at 16/1 could be a decent punt with Betfred. Tottenham are yet to face an opponent with any real attacking threat, so for the home side to gain a point in a 2-2 draw at 12/1 with William Hill looks worth a tipple.
FORM (LAST FIVE GAMES)
Tottenham 3 – 0 AEL Limassol
Tottenham 4 – 0 QPR
AEL Limassol 1 – 2 Tottenham
West Ham 0 – 1 Tottenham
Tottenham 2 – 1 Schalke
Manchester City 3 – 1 Liverpool
Liverpool 2 – 1 Southampton
Liverpool 4 – 0 Borussia Dortmund
Liverpool 1 – 3 Manchester United
Liverpool 2 – 0 AC Milan
HEAD TO HEAD (LAST FIVE GAMES)
Liverpool 4 – 0 Tottenham
Tottenham 0 – 5 Liverpool
Liverpool 3 – 2 Tottenham
Tottenham 2 – 1 Liverpool
Liverpool 0 – 0 Tottenham
- Kyle Naughton returns from suspension
- Kyle Walker misses out through injury
- Nacer Chadli looks set to retain place after scoring twice against QPR
- Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are set to make their debuts
- Glen Johnson is to be assessed before kick off
Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Kaboul, Dier; Bentaleb, Capoue; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor
Mingolet; Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno; Henderson, Gerrard, Allen; Sterling; Sturridge, Balotelli
- Liverpool have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 3 away league games
- Spurs have netted at least 3 times in their last 5 home matches
- Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 homes games