The journalists who were lucky enough to attend Antonio Conte’s Tottenham pre-Liverpool press conference were provided with a team news update ahead of the clash at Merseyside.
Liverpool come into the fixture on a high after a thrilling encounter against Villareal on Tuesday night, securing their place in the final of the Champions League to face Real Madrid.
Tottenham head into the weekend two points outside the top four after Sunday’s impressive victory over Leicester. The Lilywhites have not won at Anfield in over a decade, nor have they finished ahead of Liverpool since the 2017/18 season.
If that wasn’t enough, we may add Tottenham’s obnoxious love affair with player injuries to the list of issues Conte will have to surmount to best Liverpool.
Conte has highlighted the situation regarding Sergio Reguilon’s fitness. It is being said that Reguilon could now miss the rest of the season, as he is still yet to return to training.
“Sergio Reguilon is not available. He hasn’t had a training session with us. Honestly, I don’t know, it’s only two weeks until the end of the season and I’m not sure if he’ll be back.”Antonio Conte
Tottenham’s season after the defender’s groin injury leaves him with just 15 players ahead of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool
Reguilon’s injury, along with the absences of Oliver Skipp, Matt Doherty and Japhet Tanganga, means Spurs would only have 15 senior players fit and available amidst their meeting with Liverpool.
Dejan Kulusevski’s arrival has been a key component in Tottenham’s recent successes, registering three goals and eight assists since his January arrival from Juventus. Dejan has adapted seamlessly into the Premier League and may need to do so at a micro-level versus Liverpool if Tottenham are to come out on top.
The Swede is currently on loan, with the club having the option to buy irrespective of Tottenham’s table finish come season’s end. If it’s that Spurs do automatically qualify, the purchase will be made compulsory.
“I think he’s on loan but it’s like a deal ended,’ the Italian said. ‘He’s a Tottenham player, 100 percent in every aspect. Not officially but he’s 100 percent a Tottenham player.”Antonio Conte
Conte has openly stated that his Tottenham players must be brave when they have the ball on Saturday against Liverpool if they are to seal a win at Anfield.
Anything less than a win, even if they beat Arsenal next Thursday would see them ‘relying’ on Arsenal to slip up against Newcastle or Everton if they manage to take all three points at home to Leeds on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s team has only dropped points once in the league since the 2nd of January. Liverpool’s fearless disposition has been the scourge of the League this season. Their risk aversion dial seems non-existent, energetic with and without the ball.
The players have had an excellent week of training and Conte’s message has been crystal clear ahead of the showdown.
“We are trying to have a good idea. I hope not the same idea as Liverpool. We know that in this moment it is very difficult to play against Liverpool because they are in really good form and I watched the game against Villarreal and it was incredible the composure and calm, they faced a difficult situation.”
“After the first half they were 2-0 down and the atmosphere was very difficult for Liverpool. I saw great composure and calm from them, now they know they are strong, they are one of the best teams in the world with Manchester City, they are very good. At the same time, it will be a good game for us.
“We prepared the game very well and I think we need to be very good without the ball to be good defensively, but if we want to win we have to be very good with the ball. I said this to my players, we need to play a good game and be brave when we have the ball, don’t be scared for all the pressure and to find the solution.Antonio Conte