Ange Postecoglou’s revolution at Tottenham Hotspur has been the feel-good story of the Premier League season so far.
The 58-year-old is the first Greek and first Australian to manage in the division, arriving off the back of successful spells with Yokohama F. Marinos and Celtic – the kind of managerial CV a lot of English fans would turn their nose up at.
Despite having to pretty much reinvent the conservative wheel developed by Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte, Postecoglou has turned Spurs into one of the country’s most entertaining teams.
Liverpool head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday looking to extend a run of 19 games without defeat that has gone under the radar a little bit.
Here’s how Jurgen Klopp’s Reds can topple Spurs.
Wow, what a novel idea. Can’t believe no one else has thought of that.
But as the great (great) Frank Lampard-ian proverb goes, no but seriously – Liverpool need to score when they are afforded the opportunity to.
Tottenham have had a little bit of luck in their two hardest fixtures so far. Manchester United failed to take any of their chances in a frantic first half before losing 2-0 to Spurs, while Arsenal should have gone two goals up in last week’s north London derby and opened the door to Postecoglou’s men to twice mount a comeback.
What should help Liverpool is their depth of freakish forwards. Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and the reinvigorated Darwin Nunez are all capable of scoring goals out of nothing. The space expected to be left open by Tottenham’s high line will only serve to aid the
Liverpool have conceded the first goal in five of their opening eight matches this season. Not ideal, but hey, that unbeaten streak is living on.
However, a team as potent as Postecoglou’s Tottenham might not be so forgiving. If Liverpool are forced into their self-destructive high-line shenanigans, Spurs will punish them. Whoever scores first might just run away with it.
Over the summer, Tottenham sent round a questionnaire to club members and season ticket holders regarding ways to improve the atmosphere at their billion-pound ground.
They’re a little fortunate to have stumbled into a unifying figure like Postecoglou who has quickly assembled a team of likeable heroes, but the little things have worked too.
The introduction of a pre-match trumpet to play ‘Oh When The Spurs’ and the reintegration of a drum in the single-tier stand were frowned upon when announced, but they have worked a treat. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been an intimidating cauldron of noise for the opening two games this season.
A fortnight ago, Sheffield United’s time-wasting antics only served to rile up a crowd that was growing impatient but still had full belief in their new team. That was a dangerous mix for the Blades and it culminated in the latest comeback in Premier League history.
Liverpool are used to playing with such atmospheres at Anfield and riding that wave to victory. They need to take the sting out of the game and disrupt Spurs’ momentum without feeding their siege mentality.
You can’t really say that Liverpool are a ‘bogey team’ for Tottenham because it implies they should be inferior, but there’s no doubting that Spurs have some pretty significant mental scars from their recent meetings with the Reds.
The 2019 Champions League final. Last season’s 4-3 loss. Steven Bergwijn’s miss at Anfield. Moussa Sissoko’s miss at Anfield. Son Heung-min’s miss at Anfield. Giovani Lo Celso’s miss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Dele’s miss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The delayed opening of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This current crop of Spurs players may not carry the wounds of their predecessors, but the fans still do. They know the history of this fixture. That could yet find a way to manifest itself and play back into Liverpool’s hands.
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