Dubai: If there was ever one man who would relish the challenge of ending Liverpool’s year-long unbeaten run in the Premier League it has to be new Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.
When the two sides meet in London on Saturday evening, it will be the first time the Portuguese coach has come up against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds since he was sacked by Manchester United following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool just over a year ago.
Jovial Liverpool fans were singing from the Kop for Mourinho to stay at Old Trafford following the match in December 2018, such was the ease with which they swept aside their mediocre opponents.
If anything Liverpool have got even stronger and hold a massive 13-point lead over second-placed Leicester City, and a gargantuan 28-point advantage over Spurs, who languish in sixth place and turned to Mourinho in November — following the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino — to get them back in to the top-four Champions League spots in the standings.
Mourinho insists revenge is not on his mind — he is now with a different club of course, but the ‘Special One’ would secretly love to do something special and inflict a rare defeat on the champions-in-waiting.
If they are to achieve this, Spurs will have to do it the hard way as captain and goal machine Harry Kane is out injured, and Mourinho has only twice defeated a Klopp team in 10 times of asking.
Tottenham’s defence is another issue. They have kept only two clean sheets in the Premier League this season, the joint fewest alongside bottom-placed Norwich City — not something you want when facing the free-scoring Liverpool, who have won their last 11 matches scoring 28 goals.
Klopp has a welcome dilemma as his youthful second-string side impressed in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Everton last week and he may give a start to new signing, Japanese star striker Takumi Minamino and rest one of his front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Second-placed Leicester City will be at looking to — at least temporarily — cut the lead on Liverpool when they host Southampton earlier in the day on Saturday.
The Foxes thrashed the Saints 9-0, the biggest ever top flight away win in English football history, in the reverse fixture in October but Southampton have improved considerably since that humiliation, conceding only 13 goals in 11 games.
Third-placed champions Manchester City, looking for a fifth win in a row in all competitions, travel to relegation-threatened Aston Villa on Sunday.
Chelsea, fourth, are at home to Burnley while Manchester United, fifth, host bottom side Norwich City.
Sheffield United v West Ham United, midnight
Crystal Palace v Arsenal, 4.30pm
Chelsea v Burnley, 7pm
Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion, 7pm
Leicester City v Southampton, 7pm
Manchester United v Norwich City, 7pm
Wolves v Newcastle United, 7pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, 9.30pm
Bournemouth v Watford, 6pm
Aston Villa v Manchester City, 8.30pm