English Premiership

'In football anything can happen'

2016-04-01 13:00
Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham are not the only side capable of overhauling Leicester in the Premier League title race.

Pochettino's side face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday five points behind the leaders with seven games remaining.

And the north London club's progress this season was underlined by the impact made by four Tottenham players in England's impressive 3-2 victory in Germany last weekend.

Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Danny Rose all impressed, and their performances saw praise directed Pochettino's way for the manner in which he has developed the young players in his squad.

Pochettino, though, is keen to deflect attention away from Tottenham's position as the main challengers to Claudio Ranieri's side and attempted to divert the pressure elsewhere in his assessment of the league table.

"For me, at the moment we compete with different teams - not only Leicester, but Arsenal, Manchester City, United, West Ham and Southampton have the possibility (to win the title). It's mathematically possible," Pochettino said.

"Seven games is a lot of points. You never know in football. We need to be focused in every game. It's not just a race between Leicester City and us."

"I am realistic. In football anything can happen. We believe we can win the title, but other teams have the possibility to fight with us. I'm realistic. I'm not polite.

"We're in a position, a very good position, and we cannot compare with another team. We have seven games.

"We need to fight to the end of the season with the possibility to win big things. One is a possibility to win the title, the other to be in the top four."

TANGIBLE REWARD

Pochettino's England contingent returned home without any injury problems and Belgium's Toby Alderweireld has recovered from a stomach bug.

A run of seven matches in 22 days is set to test the resources of Liverpool's squad to the limit as they attempt to finish a turbulent season with tangible reward.

Defeat at Southampton just before the international break left Jurgen Klopp's team seven points adrift of the Premier League’s top four with seven matches to play.

Qualification for the Champions League by that route appears an increasingly unlikely prospect and although Liverpool could make it by winning the Europa League, Borussia Dortmund will be daunting opponents in the quarterfinals, as Klopp will know from his seven years managing them.

Liverpool's boss has attempted to keep his players fresh for the challenges ahead -- the squad members who have not been on international duty were taken on a warm-weather training break to Tenerife last week.

Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva suggested that it has helped the players.

"It was brilliant," he said. "Something like that has never happened before. It's great credit to the manager for having the idea to take all the players who were not on international duty and the staff as well.

"It was a good chance to take our families, to be closer to each other and know each other better.

"It was a great idea to go out, get a little bit of sun and come back for these last six weeks of the season, which will be very intense."

Klopp's side had been building a degree of momentum in the weeks running up to the international break, winning three successive league matches and knocking Manchester United out of the Europa League.

That was checked as Liverpool let slip a two-goal lead in losing 3-2 at Southampton, although the team's attacking talent was showcased with goals for Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.

The quality of defending at St Mary's Stadium will have given encouragement to Harry Kane and company, but Liverpool do have the comfort of history on their side in this fixture - Tottenham have won on just eight of their 80 league and cup visits to Anfield.

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Fixtures
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
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