Weblog: The football punter

Alli could land first punch at Wembley

Sky Sports Premier League, 4pm Sunday

Dele Alli has had to watch Tottenham's impressive start to the Champions League from the sidelines but the 21-year-old could have a big role to play when Spurs take on Liverpool at Wembley.

Despite Tottenham's impressive performance in a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid on Tuesday, a return to the side for Alli is a near certainty.

Alli showed himself to be a big-match player last season – scoring three goals against Chelsea, two against Manchester City and one against Arsenal – and he will be one of the main threats to Liverpool.

Most of the recent attention has been on Harry Kane and with good reason.

Since the start of September Tottenham's talisman has scored 11 goals in eight games and he added to his growing reputation with a decent performance at the Bernebeu.

One of the most impressive aspects of Spurs' performance in Madrid was that they did it without four first-team regulars – Ben Davies, Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele and Alli.

They should be stronger against the Reds with Alli free from suspension and Davies recovered from illness but it is hard to have full confidence in them at Wembley, where they have won just one of four Premier League games this season.

That victory arrived last weekend when Christian Eriksen's second-half goal gave them three points against Bournemouth.

But there were some nervy moments and it is going to take time for Spurs to feel truly at home at the national stadium.

Tottenham's poor recent record at Wembley has been well documented but Liverpool have also had some tough experiences at the stadium in recent years.

The Reds lost 2-1 to Chelsea in the 2012 FA Cup final, 2-1 to Aston Villa in a 2015 FA Cup semi-final and drew 1-1 with Manchester City in the 2016 League Cup final – losing 3-1 on penalties.

Jurgen Klopp insists he is only thinking about the opposition, not the venue, and his team prepared in the perfect way by thumping Maribor 7-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The victory took Liverpool to the top of Champions League Group E but there is work to be done in the Premier League with the Merseysiders well-adrift of leaders Manchester City.

On the plus side, Liverpool have got some big games out of the way.

The clash with Spurs is their fourth this season against the oft-quoted 'big six' and they have lost only one of their last 14 league matches against those clubs.

Against Manchester United last Saturday, Liverpool did the vast majority of the attacking and dominated the statistics – amassing a 62 per cent share of possession and winning the shot count 19 to six.

The flow of the match against Spurs is likely to be more even although expectations of a high-scoring match could be misplaced.

Since Klopp's appointment in October 2015 the teams have played four league matches and none of them hase featured more than two goals.

It might take a moment of magic to settle a tight contest and Alli looks a strong candidate to supply it. He scored 18 league goals last season and remains a huge threat with his clever runs and finishing ability.

Alli will be fresher than his team-mates after missing out on the match in Madrid and looks overpriced to start the scoring at Wembley.

D Alli first goalscorer

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