Tottenham Hotspur-Liverpool Preview
Tottenham Hotspur have a chance to move within two points of Leicester City as they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham (17-10-4) are five points behind the league leaders going into the latest round of matches, but a win against Liverpool (12-8-9) would put pressure on the Foxes ahead of their game against Southampton on Sunday.
But three points are far from guaranteed for Pochettino's side, since Anfield is a place where Tottenham have won just once in their last 21 league visits.
A defeat would be a major blow to Tottenham's title hopes, with the common consensus being it's now a two-horse race for the Premier League crown, but Pochettino believes there is still plenty of time for the chasing pack to pull back into contention.
"Seven games is a lot of points," the former Argentina international said. "You never know in football. We need to be focused in every game. It's not just a race between Leicester City and us. We need to fight to the end of the season with the possibility to win big things. One is a possibility to win the title, the other to be in the top four.
"We need to try to win every game, and wait for Leicester to drop points. We're not focused on seven games; we're focused on Saturday, our game. And then we wait to see what happens."
Tottenham's English contingent should be particularly high on confidence going into Saturday's game, with Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Harry Kane all impressing for the Three Lions in the recent international fixtures.
Alli and Kane appear certain to start for the national side in the summer's European Championship, but Liverpool and England midfielder James Milner believes it is Pochettino who should take much of the credit for Spurs' influence on the England team.
"Adam Lallana had him before (at Southampton) and speaks very highly of him," Milner said. "I think he is the one big guy who can have the most influence and he is getting the best out of them (Alli and Kane)."The manager seems brilliant there and he is going to be one of the biggest influences on Alli. You have seen how many players he has brought through."
It was a 0-0 draw when these two teams faced off at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, marking the Liverpool managerial debut of Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds are unbeaten in their last six against Tottenham, winning five of those, and have kept clean sheets in four of the last five meetings.
Erik Lamela is an injury doubt for Spurs after picking up a knock in training with Argentina and Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N'Jie remain out. However, centreback Toby Alderweireld is available after recovering from the illness that ruled him out of Belgium's 2-1 defeat to Portugal on Tuesday.
Liverpool will hold late fitness tests for Divock Origi, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Alberto Moreno and Lucas Leiva. Leiva was part of the Reds contingent that went to Tenerife for training during the international break, and he's hoping to be on the pitch soon.
"It's going really well, I'm progressing very well," he told Liverpool's official website. "Hopefully, it won't be too long now until I'm back to full training, and hopefully I'll play a big part at the end of the season."
The Reds are ninth on 44 points but still only seven out of the final Champions League spot with nine matches remaining. They also start their Europa League quarterfinal against Klopp's former team, Borussia Dortmund, next Thursday at Signal Iduna Park.