Gary Lineker recently wrote a touching letter for The Guardian, expressing the sheer emotion and excitement he is experiencing as his boyhood club Leicester City are on the cusp of playing out a fairytale story not even imaginable in the wildest dreams of a young, hopeful Fox. It was a heartfelt account of a supporter going through whirlwind of emotions as his team are tantalizingly close to the most heroic of victories, but he made one telling point.
“It could all fall apart in the home stretch. This most unreal of dreams could turn into a miserable reality.”
The destiny of English football’s most coveted crown is not decided yet and if they weren’t able to clinch the title, it would be a devastating disappointment for those fantasy living supporters. While it may feel as if the Premier League trophy is already being prepped for Leicester City’s name to be engraved, there are still seven games to go and 21 points to play for. For another one of Linekar’s former sides, Tottenham, this weekend represents the best chance they have to crash the party and put some genuine pressure on the league leaders. They must head the sentiments of Linekar and aim to put that fear into the mind of the fans, players and manager of the country’s current darling team. Tottenham’s visit to Anfield early Saturday evening is the last time they will kick off before Leicester in any of the remaining games, with The Foxes not playing until the Sunday at home to Southampton. From then on, Leicester have the relative luxury of playing before their title rivals until the climactic last two games of the season, when traditionally all the teams kick off at the same time. This will give them a clearer indication of what work is needed to paint their perfect end of season scenario whereas Tottenham are too reliant on favours to look ahead to far.
Despite Liverpool’s erratic form under Klopp, today’s game represents a significant hurdle for Pochettino’s men. In an attempt to give the title race a grandstand finish, they must put in a performance akin to their last visit up north when they played with such confidence and authority in their 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium. Even though their fate is out of their own hands with Leicester’s healthy advantage at the top, they must match the unerring belief shown by Ranieri’s side. The Italian’s greatest achievement lies in his ability to have created an impenetrable cocoon for which his players seem unaffected by the hysteria that surrounds them as they edge closer to immortality, as Lineker puts it. The task that faces Tottenham is to create a sense of anxiety and panic that the Leicester City players then begin to question their own story just as they thought they could taste the champagne.
The magnitude of self doubt that would surely occur if they were to obtain a negative result at this stage would change the ‘impossibly triumphant’ narrative. The speed at which momentum can shift in football is unrivalled in sport and Tottenham need to be well poised to take advantage of any mishap at the top. As if fate is fitted to favour the underdog, the forthcoming weekend is their only opportunity of this ilk from now until the end of the campaign. This raises the importance of the necessity to leave Anfield with the three points and leave Leicester with only a two point lead come their own fixture on Sunday afternoon. As we enter the final sprint in the Premier League title race, the leading horse still has work to do before declaring victory. It may take the Spurs players to perform with the mentality of champions to topple the confidence of the supposed champions elect. If Tottenham Hotspur are unable to do their part in changing the fortunes of the Premier League trophy, it’s only the unprecedented success they are on the brink of achieving that Leicester City have to fear.