Liverpool

Liverpool's title dream in reach if they clear Spurs hurdle

 • by Ryan Baldi
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When Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, they will likely welcome the north London side to Anfield knowing they must win if they are to regain top spot in the Premier League.

If they do so, it will be arguably the biggest remaining hurdle cleared as the Reds fight for a first top-flight title in 29 years.

Rivals and reigning champions Manchester City took on Fulham in Saturday’s early kick-off and strolled to a comfortable victory over the stricken London side.

The arrival of Tottenham at on Merseyside this weekend, then, is beginning to take on the complexion of a make-or-break fixture for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds.

Spurs have been a long way from their best of late, their title challenge having faded to the point where Mauricio Pochettino’s men now face a battle to remain inside the top four, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea breathing down their neck.

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Tottenham haven’t won a league game since their 3-1 victory over Leicester City on February 10, a run of four matches in which they have collected just one point.

But they might be buoyed, in some small measure, by recent events in Manchester and Madrid. Pochettino had been linked with an exit from White Hart Lane this summer, with the Argentine manager reportedly shortlisted by Real Madrid and Manchester United as a potential appointment.

Both Madrid and United, however, have recently moved to place a club legend at the helm, with Zinedine Zidane returning to the Bernabéu less than a year after stepping down, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær awarded a three-year contract at Old Trafford after impressing in a caretaker capacity, thus alleviating the cloud of speculation that might just have been clouding Pochettino’s vision.

Although Liverpool themselves haven’t been firing on all cylinders for some time, they have still lost only once in the Premier League all season – away to Manchester City in January – and are picking up results with title-worthy professionalism.

That’s the approach Klopp must take against Spurs: the result is paramount, achieving it with style would merely be a bonus.

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Liverpool could, of course, beat Tottenham, and indeed win all of their remaining fixtures, yet still finish second, with City’s game in hand meaning they hold the cards at this juncture.

But, while both sides still have to overcome Chelsea at home in the run-in, City have an additional top-six showdown: a Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

United have collected more Premier League points than any other side since Solskjær was installed as José Mourinho’s replacement in December, so three points in such a heated fixture is far from a formality for City.

Contrastingly, Liverpool’s remaining away fixtures are all eminently winnable, with trips to bottom-half strugglers Southampton, Cardiff City and Newcastle United.

A victory over Tottenham on Sunday would see Liverpool take the last major leap towards title-winning immortality, rather than record-breaking runners-up.

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