[dropcap]A[/dropcap]head of today’s highly anticipated Premier League clash between Tottenham and Liverpool at White Hart Lane, all eyes will be on new Reds manager Jürgen Klopp – and rightly so.
The larger-than-life German trainer has established himself as one of European football’s most reputable coaches after turning sleeping giants Borussia Dortmund from also-rans into two-time Bundesliga winners and Champions League final participants.
With the exciting and intense brand of football displayed at Signal Iduna Park also having hearts racing, the Kop and the rest of the Premier League fraternity will be waiting with baited breath to see if Klopp can repeat his heroics in English football.
Despite the new man at Anfield dominating the headlines ahead of today’s clash at Spurs, the recent record of Liverpool dominance in the fixture also deserves to be brought into focus.
Regardless of the fortunes of the Merseyside club over recent years, playing Tottenham has been a source of enjoyment for today’s visitors, with the Reds winning the last five meetings between the teams in convincing fashion.
Following the North London outfit’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool back in November 2012, the results have all been convincingly one-sided since, with Klopp’s new side winning five from five, scoring 18 goals in the process and conceding just four.
This run of heartache for the White Hart Lane club started with a 3-2 defeat at Anfield back in March 2013.
With André Villas-Boas’ men in the hunt for a top-four finish, many Spurs fans will remember this game as one that played its part in Tottenham missing out on their objectives in 2012-13.
After a Jan Vertonghen double, the Londoners held a 2-1 advantage on the hour mark and needed to show resilience and fortitude to defend their lead and claim a valuable three points.
However, some catastrophic defending and a lack of collective solidarity allowed the hosts back into the game, with goals from Stewart Downing and a late Steven Gerrard penalty resulting in no points for Spurs.
With Tottenham finishing fifth, just one point behind Arsenal that season and narrowly missing out on the Champions League, this result has arguably had a key bearing on the club’s destiny over recent years.
The following December Liverpool travelled to White Hart Lane and blew a transitional Tottenham away, winning 5-0 in a result that would be immediately followed by Villas-Boas’ dismissal.
The manner of the defeat, which could have been much more damaging without some goalkeeping heroics from Hugo Lloris, was an embarrassment to the home faithful and highlighted the sizeable gap in quality between the two sides.
With Brendan Rodgers’ team chasing the 2013-14 Premier League title, the next meeting between the teams at Anfield the following March had an air of inevitability about it.
With the Merseysiders in scintillating attacking form and Spurs displaying the same old frailties close to their goal, there was only ever going to be one outcome following a second-minute own goal by shambolic figure Younès Kaboul.
A comfortable 4-0 win for the hosts continued their dominance over Spurs, in a dire day for the travelling support.
Early last season Tottenham entered the fixture at White Hart Lane with much more confidence in August but were again thoroughly outplayed by Liverpool, with the visitors winning 3-0.
With Mario Balotelli making his Reds debut and Raheem Sterling in scintillating form, Spurs were swatted aside in a major dent in Mauricio Pochettino’s ambitions for his young side.
The return fixture in February this year was even more frustrating, with Tottenham still harbouring realistic ambitions of a top-four finish but again beaten by their bogey team of recent times.
Spurs but forward a brave display in this encounter in a much better performance but ended up on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat, despite having the lion’s share of the chances and the ball.
In a typical Tottenham moment, the self-destruction button was pressed, with Balotelli scoring a late winner after the away side had came back from a goal down on two occasions. It was the Italian’s only Premier League goal for the Reds.
Today, despite the rejuvenating effect a new manager has on a club and Klopp’s reputation, Spurs will enter the game as favourites given their recent form and home status.
There is a feeling that a Tottenham side that has been accused of lacking the required heart to find success is finally ready to put forward a consistent challenge, with a young squad of able players embracing Pochettino’s ideals.
If this promise is to come to fruition, winning home games against a fellow top-six side like Liverpool is necessary.
However, despite the game’s importance in the context of this season, the hosts have extra motivation to get one over the Reds to end this horrendous recent record after a despicable run of results against the Merseysiders.
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