Victor Wanyama

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How will Spurs, Liverpool line up for Champions League final?

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There are major selection decisions for both Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, as key players for Tottenham and Liverpool have returned to fitness ahead of this game.

Pochettino and Klopp will have a restless night…

The showpiece event in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday sees two familiar Premier League foes collide as Liverpool beat Spurs 2-1 on both occasions in the PL this season.

Given those tactical battles, the second game closer than the first, it will be intriguing to see what formation and personnel both managers go with.

Here’s a look at the latest team news and projected lineups for the mammoth clash in the Spanish capital.


TOTTENHAM

—– Lloris —–

—- Trippier —- Alderweireld —- Vertonghen —- Rose —-

—– Winks —- Sissoko —–

—- Eriksen —- Alli —- Son —-

—– Kane —–


LIVERPOOL

—– Alisson —–

—- Alexander-Arnold —- Gomez —- Van Dijk —- Robertson —-

—– Henderson —- Fabinho —- Wijnaldum —–

—- Salah —- Firmino —- Mane —-


Analysis of team news, starting lineups

There is one name which has dominated the team news ahead of this game: Harry Kane. Will he start? Is he fit enough to only be on the bench? Do Tottenham risk the balance of their team if their leading goalscorer cannot drop deep and drag defenders into awkward pockets if he isn’t fully fit? Pochettino will have had sleepless nights figuring out if his star striker, who has been out since early April, should. Come straight back into the team for the biggest game in Spurs’ history. Tottenham’s manager knows it is a decision which will make or break not only the final but perhaps his entire career as a boss. This is massive.

The rest of Spurs’ lineup hardly picks itself as injuries have mounted up over the final months of the season. But Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will be at right back and at both center back spots respectively. The latter has recovered from injury, while Danny Rose has stepped in well for the injured Ben Davies at left back. Rose’s pace going forward may well force both Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold to be more defensive.

In midfield Moussa Sissoko will start alongside one of Eric Dier, Harry Winks or Victor Wanyama, and that is a huge call. Wanyama is a true destroyer and has shielded Spurs’ defense well against Liverpool in the past, while Dier is handy to have coming off the bench with his poise on the ball and flexibility to play as a center back, at full back or in midfield. Winks has the skill on the ball to dictate the tempo of the game, but he has been out with a recent injury. Up top Eriksen, Alli and Son will support either Moura and Kane, and at this point it would seem harsh for Moura to lose his spot in the starting lineup after his heroic second half hat trick at Ajax in the semifinal to get Spurs to Madrid. Pochettino’s decision to go with Kane or Moura up top from the start will render all of his other decisions as minor.

Liverpool’s potential starting lineup decisions are very easy for Klopp.

He really has only one dilemma: who starts alongside Virgil Van Dijk at center back?

Joe Gomez has shaken off the rust since returning from injury, but Joel Matip has been steady enough for most of the season and will likely get the nod, while Dejan Lovren has been the odd man out. Gomez would be my pick, but it would be harsh on Matip to leave him out. With Naby Keita out injured, it is between Fabinho and Milner for a spot alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum in midfield. With Roberto Firmino’s return to fitness, that means the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri will have to be content with making a contribution off the bench if needed.

Nine-man Spurs lose late on at Bournemouth (video)

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  • Son, Foyth sent off for Spurs
  • Ake scores 91st minute winner 
  • Tottenham’s top 4 hopes up in air
  • Six-straight away defeats for Spurs

Bournemouth beat nine-man Tottenham 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Spurs almost held on for a heroic point on the South Coast of England.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both sent off in a five-minute spell either side of half time as Spurs totally lost their heads, but almost held on for a crucial point in the top four battle. But Nathan Ake headed home from a corner in the 91st minute to finally break through for Bournemouth, as they secured a first-ever league win against Tottenham.

With the win the Cherries moved up to 12th in the table on 45 points, while Spurs are now only four points ahead of Arsenal in fifth with one game to go, as the Gunners have a game in hand on them too. Spurs’ final game of the season sees them host Everton and if they win that, they will finish in the top four.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game started evenly but almost saw Spurs go ahead in stunning fashion. Lucas Moura spotted Bournemouth debutant goalkeeper, 19-year-old Mark Travers, off his line and the Brazilian’s shot from inside his own half flew just wide.

Tottenham pushed hard for the opener and Travers pushed away Dele Alli‘s powerful shot well, as Bournemouth rarely threatened on the break. Travers then made a superb stop to deny Moura who was clean through on goal after a great ball from Moussa Sissoko, but the young Irish goalkeeper pushed the shot over as he enjoyed a fantastic first 45 minutes as a Premier League goalkeeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Moura was denied again before the break as he latched onto a long ball over the top but Travers stuck out a leg to make the stop. Eric Dier was lucky to not be sent off for two yellow cards, Son fired over after a typically incisive run and Travers saved Alli’s header with Josh King and Callum Wilson going down at the other end in the box as penalty kicks could have been given. Then a huge moment in the game arrived.

After Jefferson Lerma appeared to step on Son’s foot after he fouled Fraser, the South Korean forward reacted and pushed Lerma over and received a straight red card from Craig Pawson to reduce Spurs to 10 men for the second half. Soon it got even worse…

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Juan Foyth and Victor Wanyama both came on at half time for Spurs as Pochettino tweaked his lineup, but Foyth was shown a straight red card just two minutes after coming on. The Argentine lunged into a tackle with his boot high and caught Jack Simpson, and Pawson decided that was enough for a straight red card.

Spurs switched to a 4-3-1 formation after the second sending off, as they stayed compact and battled to try and keep hold of the ball whenever they could.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth’s Wilson glanced a header wide, Nathaniel Clyne came close and Lloris had to make saves from distance as the home side failed to carve out too many clear-cut opportunities, with Fraser’s late corner causing mayhem but somehow Spurs cleared.

However, from the following corner Ake headed home to break Tottenham’s hearts in the 91st minute, as Bournemouth secured a first win against Spurs in all competitions since 1957.

But there was time for one more moment of drama in the 96th minute, as a corner saw Alli go down and it looked like Wilson pushed him to the ground, but no penalty kick was given.

Sissoko unlikely to be ready for Ajax in Champions League 1st leg

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Moussa Sissoko‘s best campaign in a Spurs shirt had helped the North London outfit to make a run to the UEFA Champions League semifinals, but it will have to take its next step in progression without the midfielder.

Mauricio Pochettino revealed Monday that Sissoko would be unavailable for the first leg of the semifinal against Ajax.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings ]

Tottenham hosts Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday and West Ham United on Saturday before beginning the tie with Ajax, as Spurs aim for a Top Four place. From The Daily Mail:

“Moussa Sissoko is not going to be fit, maybe for the next two weeks, we hope he can recover before but I am not so optimistic,” Pochettino said. “Harry Winks we don’t know because it is a problem that is one day very good, next day not very good, it is about assessing each day. We hope he will be available for Tuesday but we are not sure.”

Sissoko’s absence puts more pressure on Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama. Dier was rusty in Saturday’s loss to Man City, while Wanyama has impressed but has not gone 90 minutes in back-to-back league matches this season.

Player ratings from Man City 1-0 Spurs

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The goal were scarce, but Man City and Tottenham Hotspur went on with their ability to entertain in a bounce back win for City at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Match recap | ]

A flop from either would’ve been understandable given the 7-goal thriller at midweek, but both provided fine accounts of themselves as Phil Foden was the match-winner.


Manchester City

Ederson:  9 – *Man of the Match* here was plenty of luck in his thwarting of Lucas Moura‘s late deflected strike, but the Brazilian will enjoy a clean sheet following Wednesday’s second leg.

Kyle Walker: 6 – Would VAR have him conceding a second half penalty for handball?

John Stones: 6 – Not terrific, though his partial block that led to Ederson’s last big save was bigger than we realize.

Aymeric Laporte: 7 – A notable error between Laporte and Stones late takes this down a point, but he was huge along with Ederson in the early stages.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7 – Is City in the UEFA Champions League semifinal with a healthy Zinchenko in place of Mendy, Delph, et. al.

Kevin De Bruyne (Off 38′): N/A – His injury will be alarming for City, given recurring knee troubles this season.

Ilkay Gundogan: 6 – An unspectacular display as time ticks down on his career at City.

Phil Foden: 8 – The fifth-minute header could hardly have been a more important first Premier League goal.

Bernardo Silva: 8 – A delightful dribble and cross to the back post set up the opener, as the Portuguese playmaker continues a fine season.

Sergio Aguero (Off 66′): 7 – Perhaps a bit quieter than usual, but his headed assist was what City needed early at the Etihad.

Raheem Sterling: 7 – Absolutely in the discussion for Premier League Player of the Season, and has been switched on from moment one.

Subs
Fernandinho (On 38′): 7 – Easy to applaud anyone who comes on for an hour off the bench and doesn’t miss a beat. Broke up some serious Spurs threats.
Leroy Sane (On 66′): 7 – Short spell, but effective. Should’ve collected an assist for his set-up of Sterling

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Tottenham

Paulo Gazzaniga:  7 – Solid enough and made a great point-blank save in the second half from Sterling.

Juan Foyth: 7 – A little lost at right back early on, but worked hard and made some important tackles against Sterling and improved as the game went on.

Davinson Sanchez: 6 – See above. Solid on his return to the starting lineup. Maybe could have done better on the goal as Aguero peeled off him.

Toby Alderweireld: 7 – As dependable as ever. Good block from Aguero in the second half, which had a hint of handball, but the Belgian knew nothing about it.

Jan Vertonghen: 7 – Dominant display and tried his best to get Spurs moving forward when he could.

Ben Davies: 6 – Struggled to cope with Bernardo Silva, but then again most defenders have this season.

Eric Dier: 5 – Has been out with injury for a while, and looked rusty on his return to central midfield.

Christian Eriksen: 7 – Some lovely balls forward for Son, and he was denied by Ederson in the first half when he should have probably scored.

Dele Alli: 6 – A few majestic flicks in the first half, and appealed for a penalty kick on Kyle Walker. Looked a little jaded, which is understandable.

Lucas Moura: 7 – Hurried and chased all game long, and nearly got in to score in the second half but Ederson denied him.

Heung-Min Son: 6 – Another sharp display, but will be disappointed he didn’t score after having three big chances in the first half. Led Spurs’ charge on the counter attack.

Subs
Danny Rose: 6 – Did okay and brought his usual energy to the left back position.
Victor Wanyama: 5 – Booked. Did his best to provide a better shield than Dier in front of the Spurs defense.
Fernando Llorente: 5 – Hardly touched the ball in his brief cameo on the pitch. No hip/arm touches today…

Moura leads Tottenham past Huddersfield (video)

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  • Spurs third in the table
  • Kane, Alli, Winks out injured
  • Moura scores hat trick
  • Huddersfield remain bottom of table

Tottenham Hotspur eased past already-relegated Huddersfield Town on Saturday, as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men made it three wins from three games at their new stadium with Lucas Moura the hero.

The 4-0 victory was sealed in the first half as Victor Wanyama and Lucas Moura scored in quick succession, as a much-changed Spurs line-up (Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks were all missing through injury, while Heung-Min Son came on as a late sub) outclassed the Terriers with Moura adding two goals late on to score his first-ever hat trick for Tottenham.

Moura stepped up big time in Kane’s absence, as Spurs now face back-to-back games at Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League.

With the win Spurs move in to third on 67 points, while Huddersfield stay bottom of the table on 14 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs dominated the early stages of the game as Fernando Llorente caused problems in the air, and Victor Wanyama flashed a shot wide of the post.

Huddersfield improved as the first half wore on, but Spurs always looked more dangerous and deservedly took the lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

A ball was played into Llorente and it found Wanyama unmarked, as the Kenyan midfielder waltzed into the box, around Ben Hamer and tapped home to make it 1-0.

That goal opened the floodgates, as Moura was then played in by the brilliant Moussa Sissoko and he smashed home across goal to double Spurs’ lead. Jon Stankovic missed a glorious chance from a set piece before the break to make it 2-1, but apart from that chance Tottenham were in complete control as Llorente again went close on two occasions.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Llorente hit the crossbar early in the second half as he controlled Juan Foyth‘s ball and volleyed goalwards but hit the bar. Moura then danced free but hit his shot straight at Hamer as Huddersfield failed to stop wave after wave of Tottenham attack.

Karlan Grant had a chance on the break but Sissoko did well to get back and block and Steve Mounie nodded wide, while Llorente had another effort deflected over as he continued to cause problems.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hugo Lloris denied Juninho Bacuna‘s free kick late on as Spurs went through the motions a little, but Eriksen’s deflected shot hit the post as they broke on the counter late on.

Moura grabbed his second and Spurs’ third late on, as he finished off a lovely ball from Eriksen emphatically, and he then smashed home a third in stoppage time from Son’s pass to make it 4-0.

In the end, it was a case of job well done for Spurs ahead of their massive Champions League quarterfinal second leg clash at Man City on Wednesday.