TOTTENHAM welcome Liverpool to Wembley this Saturday. Football expert Ben Levene (@benlevene96) analyses the Saturday early kick-off.
Tottenham v Liverpool | Saturday 15th September 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
Dubbed title-contenders following their 3-0 victory at Old Trafford, Spurs were humbled less than seven-days later by Watford at Vicarage Road.
I’m wary of reading too much into either result and am instead happy to trust their performance over the last three seasons. Since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, Tottenham have achieved finishes of 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, reached consecutive FA Cup semi-finals and topped a Champions League group involving Borussia Dortmund and eventual winners Real Madrid.
Spurs went unbeaten in their final season at White Hart Lane and there were rightfully question marks posed at their move to Wembley. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men has lost just two Premier League games at their temporary home, winning 14 and drawing four.
They actually made a sluggish start, failing to win their opening three. Their Premier League home record since then reads W15-D2-L1.
Spurs host Liverpool this Saturday, who they beat 4-1 at home before drawing 2-2 away. Admittedly, I expect Liverpool to finish above Spurs come May as they rival Manchester City, but I also don’t think Spurs will be too far behind. The North London-based outfit are comfortably in the divisions three most consistent sides, as is evident in their aforementioned finishes.
Liverpool look short
Liverpool have started the season with maximum points but are definitely stronger at Anfield than they are on the road. 2-0 and 2-1 victories away at Crystal Palace and Leicester look impressive on the surface but they weren’t at their best in either.
I’m tempted by Spurs at 21/10 – the 33% implied chance seems a tad disrespectful. The absences of Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli are no doubt a blow, but Spurs were without both Ben Davies and Danny Rose, and used Kieran Trippier at left wing-back when winning this fixture 4-1 last campaign.
I certainly can’t be backing Liverpool at as short as 13/10 and so I’ll be turning at the 5/4 about Spurs from scratch on the Asian Handicap. This sees our stake void if the game ends level, with a winner paid should Pochettino’s side grab all three points.
Clash to produce cards
Referee Michael Olivier has shown red in consecutive games and brandished four bookings in the opening day clash between Arsenal and Man City.
I’m really keen on two 9/2 shots in the card market.
At the start of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, Adam Lallana led the pressing. He’s since suffered from long-term injuries and James Milner last summer made the move from left-back to central-midfield to takeover that mantle.
Only Andy Robertson has attempted more tackles for Liverpool than Milner this season and the former English international tops the interception and foul stats for the Reds so far this campaign.
I’d have him as favourite in the card market and am really keen take advantage of the 9/2 (Bet365) available.
Similarly, the 9/2 on offer about Tottenham’s enforcer Eric Dier can also be backed.
Spurs were bullied against Watford and whilst Mousa Dembele is renowned for his strength, he doesn’t play with the same aggression or put a foot in like Dier.
Having missed out against Waford, Dier will be keen to stamp his authority on the game. Liverpool will look to play on the break and that leaves the holding midfielder susceptible to making challenges.
In addition, the Midfielder who captained England on Tuesday ranks well for tackles, interceptions and fouls.
Victor Wanyama is as short as 5/4 with some firms and yet is rivalling Dier for the same position.
Tottenham v Liverpool – Tottenham +0 Asian Handicap (5/4 Bet Victor)
Tottenham v Liverpool – James Milner to be carded (9/2 Bet365)
Tottenham v Liverpool – Eric Dier to be carded (9/2 Bet365)