Tottenham Hotspur host Liverpool in Saturday’s early kick-off and it will be a match generating plenty of interest as Jurgen Klopp takes charge of the Reds for the first time.
On the field, both teams have been dealt a number of injury blows this season and for Spurs, in particular, they are looking very light in midfield.
Last season’s regulars Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason are struggling for fitness, while Eric Dier is suspended, leaving youngster Dele Alli as the only natural holding midfielder available.
The former MK Dons ace has been brilliant in his debut season with Spurs, but on Saturday he will likely face a seasoned veteran in James Milner, and a player who has shone in his favoured central role.
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As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the tough task facing Alli can be illustrated by the fact that Milner has outperformed him in five key midfield areas in the opening months of the campaign.
Milner joined the Reds on a free transfer over the summer, with his main motivation being that he will found in his favoured central midfield role – a spot he has assumed with the Reds.
His performances so far this season have been impressive, averaging 6.13 defensive duel winners, 6.38 ball recoveries and two tackles per Premier League encounter.
Aside from his defensive capabilities, Milner still possesses an attacking edge and averages 2.25 key passes per match – among the best throughout Liverpool’s entire squad.
Alli will be up against it on Saturday, though don’t rule the youngster out in winning his midfield battle as his recent England involvement will have boosted his confidence tenfold.