By Tony Hughes
Tottenham test their Premier League credentials with a home match against Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday, and manager Mauricio Pochettino should revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation to counter the opposition midfield.
Dele Alli was dropped to the bench last week, as we predicted, in order for Pochettino to experiment with both Harry Kane and new striker Vincent Janssen up top.
They beat Crystal Palace and kept a clean sheet, so why change things around? In truth, Spurs struggled to break down Alan Pardew’s men, and it took a late Victor Wanyama goal – his first for Spurs – to claim the three points.
Janssen had a great chance when he was put through by sub Alli, but shot wide and really needs a goal to give him confidence.
The big battle today comes in the centre of the park and it’s set to be the battle of the 4-2-3-1s. Liverpool are still sweating on Philippe Coutinho but he’s unlikely to be risked.
With Daniel Sturridge expected to lead the attack against Spurs, Robert Firmino will take the left flank and Sadio Mane the right, leaving Adam Lallana in the centre. Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson will slot in behind.
It means that Pochettino should revert to his own 4-2-3-1 formation, with Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen in their more natural positions. It was said that Alli was dropped as he was ill last week, and now he’s recovered he’ll take the central position, with Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier shielding the defence.
Harry Kane will get the nod ahead of Vincent Janssen, despite neither of the attackers registering in the Premier League yet.
Pochettino will be keen for Kane to get off the mark quicker than last season, when it took him seven games to score, before he went on to win the golden boot with 25 goals. Janssen will have to wait for his chance to take precedence over the England striker.
Tottenham’s back four will remain unchanged, with Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker looking for a second consecutive Premier League clean sheet. Michel Vorm will continue in goal with Hugo Lloris still sidelined.
It promises to be a fascinating game and Liverpool will be looking for a response after their disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Burnley last week.
Both teams have designs on the top of the Premier League and three points would be the perfect tonic for either of them.
In other Tottenham team news, Paul Merson gives his verdict on the match v Liverpool.