x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tottenham’s Pochettino playing down Liverpool importance: ‘We are in the beginning of this project’

'It is a tough game, a good game to enjoy' says Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs' test on Sunday against Liverpool, a side that humiliated his predecessors at White Hart Lane.

Mauricio Pochettino has won his first four matches at the helm of Tottenham Hotspur. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images / August 28, 2014
Mauricio Pochettino has won his first four matches at the helm of Tottenham Hotspur. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images / August 28, 2014

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is well aware of the threat posed by Liverpool, but does not want his players to approach Sunday’s encounter differently to any of their other matches this season.

Spurs start the weekend top of the English Premier League, having followed up a 1-0 win at West Ham with an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Harry Redknapp’s QPR.

That 100 per cent start to life under the former Southampton manager has extended to the Europa League, where a 2-1 win at AEL Limassol was followed up on Thursday by a 3-0 triumph in the second leg of their play-off tie.

Tottenham go looking for a fifth successive win when Liverpool arrive in north London on Sunday – a match Pochettino wants his players to approach in the same manner as recent games.

“We are looking forward to Sunday,” he said. “I think it is a great game, a tough game. We are looking forward to it. We will try to win the three points.

“For me, all games are a big a test. It is true that Liverpool were second last season and they have invested a lot of money on buying different players.

“Yes, it is a big test but we need to put in place a mentality to get three points. We need this mentality for Sunday like we had in the last games.”

Sunday’s match offers Spurs a chance to gain revenge after Liverpool secured one of the results of last season by winning 5-0 on their last visit to White Hart Lane.

That match resulted in Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking, although successor Tim Sherwood did not fare much better as his side went down 4-0 at Anfield.

A similar humbling would seriously derail Pochettino’s positive start, and is not a prospect he is even contemplating.

“We are in the beginning of this project,” he told Spurs TV. “Only two months I have been at Tottenham.

“Liverpool have played the last two seasons in the same way, but without any doubt we try to put our philosophy to try and win the three points. That for us is important.

“It is a tough game, a good game to enjoy but in the end I think both teams will try to play in the same way, in the same philosophy. I think it is good for our supporters and football people.”

Sunday’s match with Liverpool will see Pochettino come up against several familiar faces.

Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren were all key components of the Argentinian’s Saints side, who last season enjoyed their best ever Premier League campaign.

The trio have since swapped St Mary’s for Anfield, leading some on social media to jokingly rename the club ‘Liverhampton’.

Pochettino laughed when told of that rename and is looking forward to seeing his former charges at White Hart Lane.

“Does it benefit us? No, because they are unbelievable players,” he said.

“Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren ... Liverpool have signed these tough type of players.

“It is not easy in the emotional side because of Dejan, Adam and Rickie, but on the pitch when the referee blows his whistle we are enemies.”

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