Liverpool vs. Tottenham: Premier League Matchday 36 Preview

With just a trio of matches remaining in the Klopp era, let's take a look at the biggest one left, against top-four contenders Tottenham
Liverpool FC v Burnley FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Burnley FC - Premier League / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

If Arsenal are able to earn a point from either of their final two games of the season, or if Manchester City can secure six from four matches, Liverpool's dwindling Premier League title hopes will be officially, mathematically extinguished.

Now, the only thing really left to play for is pride, and some positive feelings heading into the offseason, and more importantly, to close out the Jürgen Klopp era. Let's take a look at what Liverpool can do to secure a home win against Tottenham, and deal a serious blow to the North London side's fading Champions League hopes.

Top of the Pitch

Lineups without Mo Salah are officially not working for Liverpool. Far too much has been made of the winger's dust-up with Klopp on the sideline, but the frustration showed by both parties is indicative of how the final days of their legendary partnership are playing out. Surely, Salah is not in his best form, but unless he is more injured than anyone involved is letting on, the Egyptian King simply must return to the lineup to close out his manager's tenure at Anfield, both for the sake of getting some positive results and because it's simply the right way for Klopp's Liverpool days to end.

As far as who joins him up top, Cody Gakpo needs to get some starts on the left wing. He returned to the lineup against West Ham, but as a striker, and while he did well in the role, he's a much stronger contributor at his natural position. If Klopp wants to do incoming manager Arne Slot a favour, he should play Salah up top and test-run a new-look Liverpool attack but don't hold your breath for that one. It'll most likely be Díaz, Núñez, and Salah from left to right unless Klopp chooses to fully concede the season and play the kids.

Tottenham is a touch above average both in terms of xG conceded and actual opponent goalscoring. Goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario has had a really nice first season with the club, and it'll be interesting to see if whoever plays up front from Liverpool can have a rare strong finishing day and get some goals past him.

The Midfield

After months of significantly outperforming his price tag, Wataru Endo is falling to the level that was expected of him when he was brought in to be a star player. There's no shame in that- he's done a lovely job adjusting to a new team and league- but it does probably highlight a need to further improve at the midfield spots this offseason.

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai should definitely be part of the club's future, but both have tall tasks ahead of them this summer with the Copa America and EURO coming up, respectively, so it wouldn't be shocking if they're given a lighter workload to wrap up the season. Ryan Gravenberch has been on the upswing lately; he'll have some EURO responsibilities as well, but he's more likely to be willing to solidify his position on the side.

Spurs are third in the Premier League in terms of average possession percentage, although the midfielders have struggled in terms of pulling the strings to create dangerous situations for defenses. It'll be an interesting test for Liverpool's midfield, as owning possession as they so often have even in recent weeks will be much more of a challenge than usual.

The Back End

With key players in tenuous health situations, namely Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, it's tempting to say that with the league title effectively out of reach, Liverpool should bubble-wrap their stars for next year. However, both of those club legends have looked very sharp since coming back and, realistically, should only be pulled from the pitch if Klopp decides to play a full youth lineup to protect his players ahead of a huge summer, whether or not they have pre-existing injuries.

Life without Harry Kane has given the Tottenham attack a very new look, but it's still a dangerous unit. Son Heung-min has chipped in with 16 goals, only two from penalties, and nine assists in yet another highly prolific Premier League season, while Richarlison has cracked double-digit league goals after scoring just one a season ago.