OPPONENTS Liverpool 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 4th February 2018
VENUE Anfield
2.  Nathaniel CLYNE
4.  Virgil van DIJK
5.  Georginio WIJNALDUM
6.  Dejan LOVREN
7.  James MILNER
9.  Roberto FIRMINO
11.  Mohamed SALAH
12.  Joe GOMEZ
14.  Jordan HENDERSON
17.  Ragnar KLAVAN
18.  Alberto MORENO
19.  Sadio MANE
20.  Adam LALLANA
22.  Simon MIGNOLET
23.  Emre CAN
26.  Andrew ROBERTSON
28.  Danny INGS
29.  Dominic SOLANKE
32.  Joel MATIP
34.  Adam BOGDAN
52.  Danny WARD
PREVIEW Ironically, Liverpool's first team squad is much shallower now than when we played them in October at Wembley.  Having bought Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, they have sold Philippe Coutinho and loaned several fringe players until the end of the season.  their recent results have been a little confusing, as after they ended Manchester City's unbeaten run, they promptly lost away to Swansea City and at home to West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup.  A return to form saw them put three past Huddersfield Town, but most teams are at the moment.

The reds' first eleven is pretty good, but there has been some debate in Klopp's mind about who his number one keeper is, having now plumped for Karius.  While van DIjk was brought in to shore up a central defence that creaks more than a haunted house, there have still been some horror moments, as teams have got past them too easily.  Tottenham showed how it could be done, when they took Dejan Lovren apart, getting him subbed halfway through the first half.  With Countinho gone, it will be left to Salah to open teams up with his pace, while the Liverpool fans' criticism of Sadio Mane has coincided with a drop in his form, so they will be hoping for something better from the winger.  Former Gooner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has found some better form since his move away from Highbury, Firmino has been among the goals, but has his off days (including the penalty miss against West Bromwich Albion) and with Lallana missing, Liverpool will rely on Emre Can to try and win the midfield battle. 

van Dijk will be partnered by either Lovren, Joe Gomez or  Joel Matip, who had been preferred recently, although he has been at fault for some of the goals they have let in.  Andrew Robertson has been preferred at left back, with James Milner on the other side, but he might not be risked against the pace Spurs possess.  Nathaniel Clyne is the other option, but he has been out injured, so Klopp might go with a back three with Milner further forward, unless he picks Moreno, who is a bit of a liability in the Liverpool defence.  Alexander-Arnold has been a youngster the manager has given playing time to and he is good going forward, but his defensive nous leaves a bit to be desired and could allow Spurs to get in behind him.

Georginio Wijnaldum could be a pick in midfield, if Klopp is looking to try and close down the space available to play, with Jordan Henderson another spoiler he could select there.  A lot will depend on the selections he makes and how Pochettino's side performs.

So, with Spurs having been so convincing against Manchester United, can we keep that going for another game and then again next week at home ?  Can Liverpool rekindle the scoring form they showed in the Champions League group games, in what was a weak group ?  Who will win the battle of the hot-shots - Kane or Salah ?

Spurs are more solid at the back than Liverpool, but the reds have a fluent midfield and attack.  Spurs are also good going forward and the edge might be in the stronger back line we have, so I am going for a narrow Tottenham win.

PREDICTION Liverpool    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the corresponding match report from last season, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Liverpool
Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Lallana (muscle) and  Ragnar Klavan (thigh) are all likely to miss the Spurs game on Sunday.
Danny Rose (ankle) is a doubt for the match, but Lucas Moura and  Toby Alderwiereld (both match fitness) will miss out on the game at Anfield.  Harry Winks and Serge AUrier return to the squad for the match.

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TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Liverpool  2 (1)  

Premier League
Sunday 4th February 2018
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0)

Kick off 16:30
Salah  02m 15s
Salah  90m + 0m 35s
Wanyama  79m 32s
Kane  (p)  90+4m 30s
Alexander-Arnold (foul on Davies)  43
Milner (foul on Trippier)  59
Can (dissent)  90+6


Dele  (simulation)  70



Crowd :   53,213 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Jon Moss (Leeds) Assistant Referees :  Mr. E. Smart; Mr. A. Halliday
Fourth Official :  Martin Atkinson  
Liverpool kicked off and played towards the Kop end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Liverpool : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Loris KARIUS

  6  Dejan LOVREN
4  Virgil van DIJK

23  Emre CAN     
14  Jordan HENDERSON  (  5  Georginio WIJNALDUM  65)
7  James MILNER       (32  Joel MATIP  78)

11  Mohamed SALAH   
  9  Roberto FIRMINO
19  Sadio MANE  (21  Alex OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN  65)

Unused subs: 
22  Simon MIGNOLET
18  Alberto MORENO
28  Danny INGS
29  Dominic SOLANKE

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ  (11  Erik LAMELA  71)
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (12  Victor WANYAMA  79  )

  7  Heung-Min SON  (18  Fernando LLORENTE  90+2)
20  DELE Alli     
Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE  (p)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

24  Serge AURIER
7  Moussa SISSOKO
9  Harry WINKS

Manager :  Jurgen Klopp Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Chartered Standard Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  New Balance Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

A pulsating match that featured three goals and a missed penalty in the last 15 minutes ended all square, with Liverpool furious at the referee Jon Moss at the end, but they should look a little closer to home after being gifted a goal inside three minutes and then twice being pulled back to level pegging as Spurs came within a whisker of winning, but had to be happy with a 2-2 draw in the end.

Klopp had been joyously rampaging along the touchline when Salah's second goal of the match scored just inside added time and coming just after Harry Kane had had a penalty saved, but he was soon in the depths of despair when referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot again a couple of minutes later, disbelieving what we was seeing and ranting at fourth official Martin Atkinson.  Kane took responsibility and stepped up to rattle the ball into the bottom corner of the net with almost the last kick of the game to pour cold water on the Liverpool crowd and players, who had forgotten, it ain't over until it's over.

But things has started oh so differently for the home side.  After some early play, a ball forward to Firmino bounced off him and then Dier’s touch inadvertently put Salah through.  On his own, he swept it to Lloris’ left from inside the area to give Liverpool the fast start that Spurs had on inflicted on Manchester United on Wednesday.  It was a disastrous start for Tottenham, who needed to start winning against the top six teams away from home if they wanted to win a title ... or so a lot of the media were saying.  The luck has certainly gone against us in a large number of the games against the top six over the last few years, but we have to ensure that we make our own luck and don't rely on things being handed to us on a plate. 

Spurs began to settle down and start passing the ball better, but weren’t able to gather the ball in regularly enough to trouble Liverpool. Henderson’s mauling of Dembele because he couldn’t keep up with him broke up Tottenham’s fluency too. There was defending to do, when Sanchez’s clearance hit Mane wide on the left and he was away as the Colombian fell over, but Jan’s interception at the near post prevented the ball reaching the middle of the goal at the expense of a corner.  Some confusion at the other end between defender and keeper saw Trent Alexander-Arnold concede a corner, but it was headed away and almost led to a break for Liverpool. While the home players were trying to close Spurs down, our passing was getting through them and Son had a shooting chance on the right, but van Dijk blocked his shot.  When the corner was cleared, Alexander-Arnold played a good ball into Milner on the right side of the box and his shot at goal was deflected, confounding Lloris, but it drifted just wide. From the corner, the ball broke and a cross shot was touched goal-wards by Salah, but he put it wide.

The knowledgeable Liverpool crowd were whistling the referee for not giving them a free-kick when Davies won a robust challenge on Alexander-Arnold, but they were happier when the Liverpool right back picked out Firmino with a cross, although he glanced the ball wide from ten yards out. Lloris was not helping us when trying to play out from the back with goal kicks straight out or straight to Liverpool players, putting pressure on his team-mates.  Not helping out Liverpool was Dejan Lovren (no surprise therw) and he sliced a clearance for a corner and from it, the ball dropped off Robertson for Dier, but he was crowded out and then Trippier played a good pass into the box that was just a yard too far in front of Eriksen. Another howl from the Reds fans went up for Davies winning a tackle on Salah that lead to the ball finding Kane whose shot was deflected well wide.

One thing that was holding Spurs back was Trippier’s inability to go past a player on the right wing, as he was getting the ball a fair bit, but turned back inside or behind when someone fronted him up. With a crowded midfield, it wasn’t possible to work the ball through that part of the pitch, so the width was important to get behind the Liverpool massed ranks. Milner’s nagging at Jon Moss after fouling Dembele again led to his side winning a free-kick when Vertonghen went to block Salah and slightly bumped him to earn a really soft award that ended with van Dijk heading way over. Moss was being influenced by the Liverpool players and another set-piece gave van Dijk a chance to head at goal, but Hugo got down to it.

Spurs were not getting any time on the ball, but it would be a question of how long Liverpool would be able to keep it up. Tottenham were failing to move the ball quickly enough to trouble Liverpool, but they couldn’t handle Mousa, fouling him regularly. One free kick five minutes before the break came out to Dembele and his low shot had Karius diving to his right to get behind the low drive from outside the box.

When Alexander-Arnold went flying into a high tackle on Davies, the home crowd even howled when he was rightly booked for dragging his studs down Davies’ shin. Spurs were losing the ball to Liverpool and the likes of Milner were winning it, when we should have been working the ball around him.  However, the half-time break arrived with Spurs only a goal behind, as Liverpool had not really capitalised on their early gift.

The start of the second half was tentative from both sides, with Spurs trying to string some passes together, while Liverpool went for the more route one approach by booting the ball up-field and trying to get Mane or Salah to chase it.  Eriksen produced a neat pass that put Son into the box, but Karius was out on him quickly block his shot and within a minute, Milner finally picked up his booking for fouling Trippier this time.  We forced a couple of corners and from the second, the ball dropped in a melee and none of our players could get a decent hit on it, but it was soon turned into a breakaway, with FIrmino's pass pushing Salah too wide and Vertonghen and Davies got a tackle in to rob him of the ball.

Spurs had got back into the game, dominating possession, with crosses into the box almost finding Kane and Dier, although Kane was offside for both of them. Alli had a shot blocked, as Spurs pushed higher up the pitch, with Liverpool dropping deeper and bringing on Oxlade-Chamberlain and WIjnaldum for Mane and Henderson. Dele then got booked for a dive in the box, before Pochettino decided to change things, with Lamela on for Sanchez, with Dier dropping back into defence and Dele alongside Dembele. There was just too much traffic down the middle of the defence to try and work the ball through for a shot, with players crowded out every time.

As the game got stretched, it was Liverpool who were losing their positions, with Spurs finding space, but not making enough of it. The home team were not finding an out ball, so shored up the defence with Matip on for Milner and changed to three at the back. Spurs made a change bringing on Wanyama for Dembele, as Mousa was tiring, but Victor wasn’t. When Victor picked out a ball to the left to Eriksen in behind the defence, his cross was punched out by Karius, but Wanyama got to it 25 yards out and rocketed the ball into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper helplessly stranded. It was a fine shot with the outside of his right foot that was so well placed and we have seen some of Victor’s efforts go well wide, but the goal was well deserved, as the pressure was building.

Liverpool were now with their backs to the wall, with rash clearances into no man’s land, so, when the ball broke through to Kane in the box, like Liverpool’s goal, he rounded Karius and was brought down and then there was a long discussion about whether Kane was offside, before Jon Moss pointed to the spot. Maybe the delay didn’t help, but Harry Kane hit his shot straight down the middle and Karuis beat it out, with Lamela hooking the rebound over the bar.

The save gave Liverpool a bit of a boost and they managed to get into the Spurs half, but their final ball was poor and wasted the territorial position they had. Tottenham kept pushing but Salah rode a couple of challenges in the box and slipped the ball past Lloris from a narrow angle inside Hugo’s near post as the game went into added time. Within the space of a couple of minutes, the game had gone from what might have been a winning position to being behind.

With a long throw in to substitute Fernando Llorente, the ball dropped to Lamela, but the accident waiting to happen that is Virgil van Dijk kicked through his calf with a swipe without looking and the linesman gave the penalty, after Moss had originally signalled it wasn’t. Kane took it again, with his 100th goal burying it in the corner of the net to Karius’ left while the keeper flew the other way. With calls of “Cheat” and whistling of the referee at the end, Liverpool’s crowd once more showed they are neither sporting nor know much about the game. Almost as much as van Dijk who denied he kicked Lamela in the box.

Salah was a threat with his pace and trickery, now having scored three against us this season and our defence is pretty strong.  They looked shaky after the early set-back and had to stick at it through the first half, looking more solid in the second half, with Pochettino's substitutions making the difference, while Klopp's played into Tottenham's hands.  The draw was probably about the right result in the end, but it wasn't quite as a convincing a performance as Wednesday night and Spurs will need to be on it on Saturday t ensure we can keep up the pressure on those above us. 

Kevin Mendament

Harry Kane's goal was his 100th Premier League goal in his 141st match.



Anfield was originally known as Annefield (the field of Anne).  The Anne in question was the daughter of a director of Everton, who let Liverpool have the ground as a dowry, after one of their players married Anne.  The player's name ?  Nathaniel Field !!


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What you thought
Benny The Ball Ironically, when Liverpool possessed the Spice Boys team, with McManaman, Fowler, Redknapp, etc, they were known for passing teams to death that the current team were victims of the same in the second half by Spurs.  While the home team shut Spurs down efficiently in the first half, they could not keep it up and dropped deep and ran out of legs, so that when they made their substitutions, they only served to confuse their own players, with too many around them to know their roles.  I can't believe that they trained with five at the back, like they ended the game with !!

Having only 34% possession must be a bit worrying at the daunting Anfield.  They were given the run-around and only Kane's penalty straight at Karius saved them from defeat.

Is it too early to say Klopp's not wearing any clothes ?

East Stan Ever been cheated Anfield fans ?  You would have thought so, by the noise you were making when the decisions went against you.  This isn't the 1980s any more, where it was one of the laws of the game that all the decisions went your way.  If van Dick had kicked someone like that in the street he would have been arrested.

How embarrassed must old Jurgen "false Hampsteads" Klopp feel after his antics running down the line when they scored in injury time.  Shame he didn't show as much passion in his substitutions, opting for the safety first defensive substitution, although with his defenders, it is hardly ever safety first.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 5 Everton 1 Saturday
Bournemouth 2 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 West Ham United London 1 Saturday
Burnley 1 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Swansea City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Huddersfield Town 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Southampton 3 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1 Sunday
Watford 4 Chelsea 1 Monday



League Table  2017-18
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 26 22 3 1 74 19 69 +55
2 Manchester United 26 17 5 4 51 18 56 +33
3 Liverpool 26 14 9 3 59 32 51 +28
4 Chelsea 26 15 5 6 46 23 50 +23
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 14 7 5 51 24 49 +27
6 Arsenal 26 13 6 7 51 35 45 +16
7 Burnley 26 9 9 8 2` 22 36 -2
8 Leicester City 26 9 8 9 38 35 35 +3
9 AFC Bournemouth 26 8 7 11 30 37 31 -7
10 Everton 26 8 7 11 29 45 31 -16
11 Watford 26 8 6 12 37 45 30 -8
12 West Ham United London 26 6 9 11 32 46 27 -14
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 26 6 9 11 21 35 27 -14
14 Southampton 26 5 11 10 28 38 26 -10
15 Crystal Palace 26 6 9 11 24 39 26 -15
16 Newcastle United 26 6 7 13 24 36 25 -12
17 Swansea City 26 6 6 14 19 37 24 -18
18 Stoke City 26 6 6 14 26 52 24 -26
19 Huddersfield Town 26 6 6 14 19 46 24 -27
20 West Bromwich Albion 26 3 11 12 21 37 20 -16


Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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