Tottenham Hotspur are back in Premier League action later this afternoon as they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool, where they will be looking to avoid another Sunday capitulation.
Last weekend, the Lilywhites were thrashed 6-1 by Newcastle United, a result that not only cost Cristian Stellini his job as interim manager but it also meant they lost a huge footing in the race for a top-four finish.
Ryan Mason is now back in temporary charge, with Spurs’ managerial search set to resume ahead of the off-season, and he managed to steer his struggling side to a comeback point against Manchester United in midweek.
The Reds have had a rocky season themselves, as evident by the fact that they even sit behind Tottenham in the standings, but Jurgen Klopp’s men still pose a lethal threat in attack, one that is spearheaded by the mercurial Mohamed Salah.
Mason will surely be concerned by the fact that the north Londoners have shipped eight goals in the space of a week, so he must make some changes to better their chances of thwarting Liverpool.
Should Eric Dier be in the starting lineup at Liverpool?
Thursday night marked another disappointing outing for Eric Dier, who has struggled in his central defensive role for much of the campaign, despite a recall to Gareth Southgate’s England squad
Indeed, he was at fault for Marcus Rashford’s goal that put the Red Devils 2-0 up and that led to criticism from the team on BT Sport duties that evening. Rio Ferdinand suggested that it was “too easy” for the United forward, whilst Jermain Jenas claimed that Dier’s “lack of pace” has led to him “panicking” in similar situations, as relayed by talkSPORT.
If Rashford can do that to Dier, despite starting out on the left flank, then you can only imagine the damage that Salah could do when cutting in from the right today.
As per Sofascore, the £85k-per-week “absolute liability” – as he was once dubbed by Football Insider Noel Whelan – was Mason’s second-worst performer, earning a 6.3 rating. Throughout the 90 minutes he was on the pitch, he was ghosted past on two occasions, whilst he won just one of his four ground duels – a key area where the aforementioned Egyptian will look to take advantage.
Earlier in the season, Dier was also lambasted as being “terrible” by football writer Andrew Gaffney, so the 31-year-old risks witnessing another disastrous afternoon if he keeps the Englishman in his starting lineup.
Mason could make a bold and ruthless statement by finally dropping Dier from the side, a move that’s made easier by Ben Davies’ return from injury and also Clement Lenglet’s availability.
Salah will surely be excited by the prospect of facing Spurs’ inconsistent backline, having scored eight goals from his last nine league appearances and bagged a brace against Tottenham earlier in the campaign, where Dier was front and centre in the back three yet again.
The long-serving defender probably doesn’t walk into many other top-flight teams as a centre-back, so the persistence to deploy him there is certainly baffling, to say the least.
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