Kane-Alli partnership will win it for Spurs, says Richard Buxton
Kane-Alli combo should trump Sturridge-Coutinho tandem to keep title hopes alive
LIVERPOOL v TOTTENHAM
(Tomorrow, 12.30am, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
Back in the same place, at almost the same time - Tottenham are out to avoid a repeat performance.
Mauricio Pochettino's side can ill afford an encore performance if they are to ensure the English Premier League crown remains in their sights.
But Spurs are a far cry from the last time they were caught up in the euphoria of Liverpool's unlikely title tilt as they rolled into Merseyside.
The Lilywhites were restricted to a mere cameo on that March 30 afternoon in 2014 as Liverpool won 4-0 to edge clear to what had appeared to be certain domestic glory.
The visitors, meanwhile, teetered on the brink of another season of shortcomings as Tim Sherwood's absentee leadership, watching on from the comfort of the directors' box, well and truly came home to roost.
Liverpool have since abandoned their title ambition in favour of becoming the new Tottenham; defensively haphazard and hell-bent on securing a return to the Champions League in a bid to preserve their dwindling relevance among the continental elite.
The old Tottenham have evolved, too. Sherwood's tenure is but a distant memory; replaced by the current dizzying heights that were last scaled some three decades back.
They also boast the most burgeoning crop of players English football has witnessed in over two decades.
Not since Manchester United's vaunted class of 1992 have a side been blessed with such collective quality from their homegrown prospects.
It is unlikely to end there, too.
West Ham may have won England the World Cup in 1966 but, in Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, Tottenham look set to hold the key to the country's Euro 2016 hopes.
Tomorrow morning (Singapore time), they will look to again defy the odds, as they emphatically did against Germany in Berlin's Olympic Stadium last weekend.
Few had given Roy Hodgson's men a prayer in their bid to unseat the reigning world champions.
History, similarly, is not on Tottenham's side.
Five of their last six meetings with Liverpool have ended in defeats; with a combined 18 goals shipped by the London side.
Just one win at Anfield in 15 prior visits also does not augur well for their title prospects, but EPL history has never seen Spurs blessed with a dynamic duo quite like Kane and Alli.
England striker Kane has emerged from the shadows of his heavyweight contemporaries.
At the time of Spurs' 2014 watershed, he had amassed only a solitary shot on target while Daniel Sturridge was coasting with 53 top-flight goals to his name.
Roles have significantly reversed since then.
Sturridge has been plagued by injuries this season while Kane is on course to become the EPL's top scorer if he can further bolster an already impressive tally of 21 goals.
Sturridge is not Liverpool's only asset being heavily put in the shade by Tottenham's young guns.
Alli's record of six assists has yet to be surpassed by any other player. A penny for Philippe Coutinho's thoughts ahead of tomorrow morning's showdown.
The Brazilian's creativity has been the source of a billing - "The Magic" - that has rarely come to fruition this season.
Bursts of brilliance are often sporadic for Coutinho, usually when Juergen Klopp has masterminded unlikely scalps over Liverpool's illustrious peers.
As the Young Player of the Year in waiting and Paul Gascoigne's heir apparent for England, Alli - Liverpool's one that got away - has no such problems.
The hype surrounding the 19-year-old can finally be believed after a campaign of consistency that characterises Tottenham's high-intensity hallmark.
A lot has changed since the fateful day two years ago.
Kane and Alli, rather than Sturridge and Coutinho, are now the ones likely to be terrorising their opposite number's defence.
"Tottenham’s record at Anfield in recent seasons is very poor and we know that Liverpool can turn it on against the better sides, so it is a draw for me."
- Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen
- 7.45pm: Aston Villa v Chelsea
- 10pm: Bournemouth v Man City
- 10pm: Arsenal v Watford
- 10pm: Norwich City v Newcastle
- 10pm: Stoke City v Swansea City
- 10pm: Sunderland v West Brom
- 10pm: West Ham v Crystal Palace
- 12.30am: Liverpool v Tottenham
- 8.30pm: Leicester v Southampton
- 11pm: Man United v Everton
Pochettino: Seven teams in title mix
"Not only Leicester, but Arsenal, Manchester City, United, West Ham and Southampton have the possibility (to win the title). it’s mathematically possible." - Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino (above). PHOTO: REUTERS
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Leicester deserve to be in pole position in the title race, but has urged his players to focus on themselves.
Spurs take on Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow morning (Singapore time), knowing they can cut the gap behind Leicester to two points before the Foxes play Southampton tomorrow night.
Pochettino's men have been unable to the halt the Premier League leaders, who have won four of their last five matches 1-0, but the Tottenham boss insists his players cannot get frustrated.
"We need to give the credit to Leicester," the Argentinian said yesterday.
"Today, they are top because they deserve to be. From the beginning of the season, they were fantastic. We cannot take the credit from them.
"We are in a very good position, but we cannot compare with another team.
"We need to fight. We have seven games and it's important to fight until the end of the season with the possibility to achieve good things.
"One is the possibility to win the title and the other is to finish in the top four, which is important for us."
Pochettino insists Spurs are not the only side capable of pipping Leicester in the title race.
"For me, at the moment, we compete with different teams - not only Leicester, but Arsenal, Manchester City, United, West Ham and Southampton have the possibility (to win the title). It's mathematically possible," Pochettino said.
"Seven games are a lot of points. You never know in football.
"We need to be focused in every game. It's not just a race between Leicester City and us.
"I am realistic. I'm not polite. In football, anything can happen.
"We believe we can win the title, but other teams have the possibility to fight with us."
A run of seven matches in 22 days is set to test the resources of Liverpool's squad to the limit, as they attempt to finish a turbulent season with tangible reward.
Defeat by Southampton just before the international break left Juergen Klopp's team seven points adrift of the Premier League's top four, with seven matches to play.
Qualification for the Champions League by that route appears an increasingly unlikely prospect and, although Liverpool could make it by winning the Europa League, Borussia Dortmund will be daunting opponents in the quarter-finals, as Klopp will know from his seven years managing them.
The Liverpool boss has attempted to keep his players fresh for the challenges ahead - the squad members who have not been on international duty were taken on a warm-weather training break to Tenerife last week.
Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva suggested that it has helped the players.
"It was brilliant," he said. "Something like that has never happened before. It's great credit to the manager for taking all the players who were not on international duty and the staff as well.
"It was a great idea to go out, get a little bit of sun and come back for these last six weeks of the season, which will be very intense." - Wire Services.
SPURS HAVE A SCORE TO SETTLE
LIVERPOOL V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Team update: Aside from Bentaleb who is grounded with an injury, Tottenham could travel with a full bus. Liverpool will be missing Ings, Gomez and Origi. Benteke and Leiva have appointments with the doctor and both could feature at some stage.
FORM GUIDE & STANDINGS: Liverpool - D W W W L (9th); Tottenham - W L D W W (2nd).
WHEN THEY MET LAST SEASON: Tottenham 0 Liverpool 3; Liverpool 3 Tottenham 2.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 148. Liverpool - Won 69 Drew 37 Lost 42.