When two of the Premier League’s big guns go toe-to-toe, it generally makes for an explosive encounter. While the English top flight may just be creaking into life after its summer hibernation, the signs are that this clash between Tottenham and Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime could be one for supporters, neutral observers and punters to savour.
The early shake up has provided predictability and eyebrow raising in equal measure. Spurs will be pretty happy with their start to the campaign, particularly given the alarming manner in which they fell out of title contention just three or four months ago.
A decent point at Goodison Park was backed by a narrow 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane – not mind-blowing by any means, but solid enough. The biggest question mark is in Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics; he opted to play Harry Kane in a slightly deeper role behind new signing Vincent Janssen at the weekend – bizarre treatment of last season’s Golden Boot winner.
The Dutchman was lively though, despite a gilt-edged chance to put his side ahead going begging. Defensively, Spurs look as solid as ever with the Jan Vertonghen-Toby Alderweireld partnership looking as reliable as it did last season.
Liverpool’s loss to Burnley last Saturday was something of a head-scratcher, although it did act as confirmation that English football – for better or worse – is changing. During the 2015/16 season, Leicester City managed to win matches without really ever having the ball; the Clarets took that to a whole new level at the weekend.
Burnley only held 20% possession (the lowest figure for a winning team since Opta began recording such data) and two shots on target. The end result? They won 2-0. What does that say about Liverpool? Well, with 80% possession of the ball they still largely failed to carve out goalscoring opportunities.
Of the 25 shots they fired at Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal, only five were on target. So clearly their finishing is a little wayward and perhaps their decision-making can be questioned too – as confirmed by Jurgen Klopp in his post-match interview.
These two sides have resided in the upper echelons of English football for decades, so it's no surprise to learn that they have met on a whopping 165 occasions in competitive play. The Merseysiders hold the edge as far as the head-to-head stakes are concerned, with 78 wins to 47.
It's their recent record against the Lilywhites that really stands the test of time. Liverpool haven’t lost to Spurs since the 2012/13 campaign, some seven matches ago. In that time the Reds have claimed five consecutive victories (including 3-0 and 5-0 romps at White Hart Lane) and last season both contests ended in a draw.
April’s encounter at Anfield was a feisty tussle in which Kane’s goal levelled Phillip Coutinho’s opener. Needless to say, Liverpool won’t be overawed by a trip to the Lane then, even though Spurs tasted defeat there on just three occasions in 2015/16.
The impression is that Klopp’s men are probably a better proposition away from home, thanks to their high pressing style and fluid counter attacking. They will need to be at their breakout best here given that Spurs are likely to dominate possession on their own patch.
This is another of those ‘early season, too close to call’ matches, although Liverpool’s porous defence – that’s five conceded in just two games – will be of interest to punters. If Janssen can find his shooting boots and Kane rediscovers his scoring touch, then they are likely to register.
But the Reds are no mugs going forward themselves, as the four goals they scored at Arsenal and their 5-0 win over Burton Albion in midweek testifies. This fixture does bear all the hallmarks of a high-scoring affair and that’s why both 'Over 2.5 Goals' at 10/13 and 'Both Teams to Score' at 20/29 are so appealing with NetBet.
Goals need somebody to put the ball in the back of the net and punters may be happy to back Janssen at 7/5 to break his Spurs duck here against a shaky looking Liverpool backline. For all the latest Premier League odds, visit NetBet all season long!