Thankfully, the real football returns this weekend after an international break which feels like it ran for months. Liverpool return to action at Anfield against visitors Tottenham Hotspur, a match which is undoubtedly the pick of the weekend.
Tottenham are battling for a top 4 finish and being just 1 point ahead of rivals Arsenal certainly means that they are under pressure to try and get something from this game. Manchester United and Chelsea are also just a few points behind Pochettino’s side.
Liverpool are, of course, still chasing that elusive Premier League title and although they currently sit top of the Premier League 2 points clear of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s men have a game in hand. They play at Fulham in the early kick-off on Saturday.
Tottenham need to tighten up at the back, where recent errors have proved costly, while Liverpool could do with Mo Salah refinding the form that made him such a threat last season.
16 Tottenham players collectively travelled 61,883 air miles on international duty over the past fortnight while 13 Liverpool players travelled 33,977 miles. This is some distance and hopefully they won’t be too fatigued come Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool have been handed a boost with the return of defender Joe Gomez after nearly four months out with a broken leg, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be back in full training at Melwood next week. Naby Keita is available while Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold are close to recovering from minor problems meaning the Reds could be at full strength for the title run-in.
Reds’ boss Jürgen Klopp is certainly looking forward to getting stuck back into the domestic schedule. He told the official Liverpool FC website: “Absolutely [it’s good to be back]. Really, we were waiting pretty much for it.
“It is nice to have a little bit of a rest in between, but on the other hand you want to keep it going in a situation like that – we won three games in one week and could have played pretty much the next day.
“Now we are back, the boys are coming step by step back as well, so from Thursday on I think we will be complete.
“With all players together, of course, the Dutch ones, the Brazilians, together in complete training. But preparation has started today already.
“We don’t have all the players who are away, but we have all the other players as well. Bringing players back, step by step. OK, Shaq and Trent are still doing a bit of rehab, but the others are here and in good shape. Two sessions today and then one session a day.
“All good and we’re really looking to this period now.”
As for Tottenham, Eric Dier and Harry Winks are struggling to be fit for the Premier League showdown. The duo will be assessed ahead of the game with Victor Wanyama on standby to start if required.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 16 games against the ‘big six’ with their last home defeat coming against Manchester United back in January 2016. Tottenham have the second-worst record in ‘big six’ meetings and have actually lost the most games against those teams during this campaign.
Tottenham need Harry Kane and his team-mates to be on top form if they are to end their run of four successive games without a Premier League win while Liverpool must hold their nerve and hope that Mo Salah finds some of the magic that the in-form Sadio Mane has displayed recently.
Bookmakers have Liverpool down at 1.55 to win (odds taken from My Betting Sites) which makes them heavy favourites.
Liverpool vs Tottenham will be shown live on Sky Sports from 4.15pm on Sunday. The game kicks off at 4.30pm.