The term ‘six-pointer’ is one that is usually the preserve of the bottom end of the table, but with Liverpool and Tottenham squaring off with each other this afternoon then it is one that is just as valid as the race for the Champions League places intensifies.
With Chelsea falling to a shock defeat to Bournemouth in midweek this is not quite the do or die fixture that it could have been, even defeat for either side will not define the rest of that club’s season but by the same token there is no doubting that it a must win fixture for either Jurgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool lie third in the Premier League table coming into this game and the Merseyside outift are two points clear of their opponents this afternoon, the stakes are high as with that margin of difference in terms of standing a win for Tottenham would see them leapfrog the Reds and give them a real shot in the arm before the North London derby next weekend.
Tuesday night saw Liverpool make light work of Huddersfield as the bromance between David Wagner and Jurgen Klopp was put on another hiatus for ninety minutes, it was a much needed win for the away side as the bounced back from successive defeats in both league and cup.
After defeats to both Swansea and West Brom in recent times the pressure was certainly on Liverpool to deliver earlier in the week and it is fair to say that the passed that particular game with flying colours, after Emre Can’s impressive strike they never looked back as they went up through the gears to earn all three points.
That win increased the pressure on Tottenham to deliver against Manchester United 24 hours later, something they certainly did do and as quickly as the opening 10 seconds of the encounter. The aggressive start from Spurs was rewarded as Christian Eriksen netted from close range.
It was the first time that Tottenham had really got themselves out of the blocks that quick since playing host to Liverpool back in October. That was a game that saw the visitors absolutely shell shocked by a lightning fast performance by Spurs.
Admittedly it was not as fast as Christian Eriksen’s goal on Wednesday but it did show that if the North London outfit can grab the game by the scruff of the neck early on then they pose a completely different proposition to their opponents.
Criticism has been levied at times that they have not done this enough during this campaign and that is why they have stuttered to home draws with West Ham, West Brom, Swansea, Burnley. Eight points that they have dropped against lesser teams.
Eight points that had they picked up they would currently be sitting second in the Premier League table, but at the end of the day football is not won on ifs and buts it is about the here and now, and the here is now is also Tottenham’s failure to win away from home in big matches such as this.
They have traveled to Old Trafford, the Emirates and the Etihad this season and failed to pick up a single point, another pertinent reason as to why they currently find themselves fifth in the table and not the best of the rest in the English top flight.
But at the end of the day all bad streaks have to come to an end at some point, could today be that day? Well if you look at the stats there is very little to split the two clubs. Liverpool score more this season on average while Tottenham concede less.
Not only that but Liverpool have a slightly better shot conversion rate, meaning Tottenham are creating more but are not quite as ruthless when it matters. There is so little to split these two teams that I think it could end up in a score draw, a result that would not be the worst outcome for Tottenham.