By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur will be without attacking midfielder Dele Alli for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at Wembley Stadium because he has yet to recover from a hamstring injury sustained playing for England against Spain last week.
Alli was on target when Spurs beat Liverpool 4-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and manager Mauricio Pochettino said his absence is disappointing.
“Disappointed, because we’re going to miss him for this game, and possibly Inter Milan in the Champions League (on Tuesday), but it is not a big issue,” Pochettino told reporters.
Tottenham will also be without goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris who has a thigh injury that could keep him out for several weeks. Michel Vorm will deputise.
Lloris was convicted of drink driving on Wednesday and banned from driving for 20 months.
With injuries, worries about the form and freshness of striker Harry Kane, delays over the new stadium and a surprise defeat by Watford before the international break, Tottenham’s preparation for a game against a Liverpool side boasting a 100 percent record so far has not been ideal.
Pochettino described the 2-1 defeat at Watford as a “massive wake-up call” and said his side would have to be at their very best to have a chance of emulating last year’s result against Juergen Klopp’s Reds.
“I think we are always confident that we can beat any team but of course the game on Saturday will be completely different (to last year), a different season,” Pochettino, whose side have nine points from four games, said.
“You need to deserve to win and you need to perform in the way that you believe you can beat your opponents.
“Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe, not only in England and have very good players, great manager and of course it will be a very tough game and will demand a lot of energy.”
While Kane has scored twice in four league games for Tottenham this season, his displays against Watford and for England against Spain have caused concern that he is suffering from the effects of the World Cup.
“When a striker does not fill the net and does not score goals, always you need to find some reason why but I think he is fit,” Pochettino said.
“Because we are talking about Harry Kane everyone expects him in every action to do something different.
“We know Harry Kane very well and have worked with him for more than four years and we know it’s not a situation that worries us. It’s under control.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)