PREVIEW By Coral Barry
Mauricio Pochettino has two potentially season-defining calls to make ahead of Tottenham’s critical showdown with Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.
Tottenham are five points behind league leaders Leicester and cannot afford to lose any more ground on the high flying Foxes when they travel to Anfield in the early evening kick-off.
The 28-year-old has spent two months watching Tottenham’s title push from the sidelines but had his sights set on the 2 April clash for his reunion date with favourite centre-back partner, Toby Alderweireld.
The two Belgians had blossomed into England’s most solid defensive duo this season, but their partnership was split up in January when Vertonghen suffered knee ligament damage.
Kevin Wimmer has stepped up in Vertonghen’s absence and has done little wrong alongside the outstanding Alderweireld, but Pochettino will be eager to rekindle the all-Belgians partnership with Tottenham chasing silverware.
However after such a lengthy absence, the question is whether Vertonghen is fit enough to play 90 minutes against a speedy Liverpool attack or whether one more week of recovery will ensure his involvement for the remainder of the season.
Further up the pitch, Pochettino has another headache to contend with as he contemplates whether to pick Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela or Heung-Min Son on the flank.
Chadli would seem the obvious choice as the only out and out winger amongst the three, but Pochettino may feel the in-form Lamela has to feature in such a massive game.
Lamela has spent a majority of Tottenham’s season out on the wing, but has been guilty in the past of failing to track back and help his defenders out and a recurrence of that attitude could potentially leave Spurs exposed to the pace of Liverpool’s wingers and full-backs.
Son is also pushing for a recall to the starting eleven after impressing for Tottenham over the two legs against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
Tottenham head to Anfield with the ambition of winning their final seven games and snatching the title from Leicester’s grasp.
In other Tottenham news, Steven Gerrard has been outlining a Spurs star’s best qualities.