Okay, so maybe now we can press the panic button. It’s one thing embarking on a seven-game run without a win – unusual for Liverpool, but let’s go with it, but it’s quite another losing in the manner which the Reds are at the moment.
To be fair, the 2-3 loss against Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday came, ultimately, via a moment of brilliance from Bruno Fernandes, but individual errors are also creeping into Liverpool’s game and that is a sure sign of a lack of confidence.
Rhys Williams, while still a young man learning his craft, has to get tighter to his man or he will be punished – as he was at Old Trafford not once but twice by Marcus Rashford, who netted once and created another for Mason Greenwood.
This wasn’t a game of overwhelming negativity, with Mo Salah looking sharp in front of goal to net a brace and encouraging performances from Bobby Firmino and James Milner, the latter being the kind of character we need to drive us out of this funk.
Afterwards, Jurgen Klopp was putting a brave face on things…. whether he truly believed the words he was saying or not. “I saw a lot of steps in the right direction and that’s all good,” he said. “It’s not what we wanted, so it’s frustrating,” said Klopp. “We weren’t on our absolute top [level], but we made a lot of steps in the right direction.
“You don’t have to worry about us, as a group we are really together.”
There’s no rest for the wicked, as the old saying goes, and so Klopp and his men will have to try and find a way out of this slumber with a trip to Tottenham’s shiny new stadium on Thursday evening.
Liverpool Team News
By way of necessity as much as anything else, Klopp has been forced to rotate his squad in recent weeks to cope with the barrage of games.
But now is the time for such a rotation to end, with three points and a markedly improved performance the order of the day in the capital.
By that token, the team pretty much picks itself. Alisson will be protected by Trent, Andy Robertson, Fabinho and Joel Matip, who was taken out of the squad against United as a precautionary measure as he continues his ever-ongoing battle for fitness. James Pearce, the Liverpool correspondent for The Athletic, tweeted on Sunday: “No Joel Matip in the squad today. #LFC managing him carefully following his recent return to fitness. Playing three times in a week (Spurs away coming up on Thursday) would have been too big an ask.”
Let’s get Jordan Henderson back in midfield alongside Gini Wijnaldum, and let’s give them some ‘legs’ alongside them in the energetic Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
You know the front three by now, and let’s hope a rest for Sadio Mane – aided by an improved performance from Salah and Firmino last time out – will provide the necessary spark that the Reds so badly need.
They might be marching on in the FA Cup, but Tottenham’s progress in the Premier League has stalled almost simultaneously to Liverpool’s.
Defeats to the Reds and Leicester derailed their title push, while dropped points against Wolves and Fulham suggest that Jose Mourinho’s men are not quite at the races at the moment.
A couple of morale-boosting victories over Leeds and Sheffield United have helped, and Mourinho does have an excellent record against big six opposition. But will the 1-2 at Anfield back in December still be fresh in the minds of everyone involved?
Tottenham vs Liverpool Betting Tips
This is a bit of a nightmare game to try and predict.
You sense that a home win, away win or the draw are all eminently possible here, and the odds suggest as much with Liverpool favourites at around the 23/20 mark.
You could also imagine both scenarios as far as goals are concerned – there will be a galaxy of attacking stars on display in the capital, and yet Mourinho may just be his normal bus parking self in big games while Klopp will be emphasising the importance of defensive solidity to his team. Go figure.
One bit of betting advice in such situations is to go against the grain – to bet against the wisdom of the crowd, which isn’t a particularly good idea normally but in games like this – where nobody knows what’s going to happen – trying to maximising your return is a good option.
By that token, backing the draw at 12/5 will keep your wager alive for a while, and with the market expecting goals let’s instead back the Under 2.5 line at 11/10.