If a struggling Tottenham Hotspur side is going to be the first team to inflict a defeat on runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool FC in a league match this season, they will need to do it without their superstar striker Harry Kane. In a lackluster 1-0 loss to mid-table Southampton on New Year's Day, Spurs suffered in effect a double loss when Kane limped off the field with a hamstring injury. Now the Tottenham talisman — who has recorded 17 goals in 25 games across all competitions in 2019/2020 — faces surgery to repair a rupture in that muscle, according to an ESPN.com report, and will be out of action at least until April.
"You know that we cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is in the team. We cannot do it the same way as we do with Harry," Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho told the BBC on Friday.
The above comments led to speculation the normally aggressive Spurs side would revert to the defensive "park the bus" style made famous by Mourinho, in hopes of stifling the dominant Liverpool attack.
The league-leading Reds can set a European record for the highest point total after 21 matches in any league with 61 if they take all three points on their trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The current record of 59 is held by four teams -- Paris St-Germain of France, Italy's Juventus, the Premier League's Manchester City, and Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga.
In the video below, ESPN FC's panelists mull over how Spurs may attempt to contain the Liverpool assault without Kane on board.Liverpool has not lost to Tottenham in five meetings, including last year's UEFA Champions League Final. In 14 Premier League matches against the Reds, Spurs have won only once, and that was in 2017. In addition, the London club has won only two of their last 12 Kane-less games.
As a result, Liverpool enters the Saturday clash as heavy favorites, at 1.67 decimal odds — meaning that a wager of $1 would return only 67 cents profit if the side, as expected, wins the match, according to odds published by Goal.com.
Spurs have been slapped with long-shot odds of 4.33 to end Liverpool's unbeaten run, while the odds of a draw have been set at 4.20.
Tottenham is severely banged up. Not only is Kane ruled out, but the team continues to go without goalie Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Ben Davies, Tanguy Ndombele, and Moussa Sissoko.
A win for manager Jurgen Klopp's side would make the Reds the first team in any of Europe's elite five leagues — England, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain — to win 20 of their first 21 matches.
The Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool FC match kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. That start time will be 12:30 p.m. EST, 9:30 a.m. PST in the United States, where NBC Sports will televise the game live.