The festive fixture frenzy will get off to a mouth-watering start when Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur travel to current champions Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho was drafted in by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to win the club silverware, and the Portuguese gaffer has made a great start to the league campaign in his first full season in charge in North London.
The former Chelsea boss will no doubt have his eyes set on a fourth Premier League title to add to the three he won at Stamford Bridge– particularly after the critics said he was finished following a disappointing stint at Manchester United.
Throw in the dangling carrot of the chance to put an end to Liverpool’s formidable 65-game unbeaten run at Anfield, Mourinho will no doubt be licking his lips – even more so considering it was Liverpool who put a halt to Chelsea’s sensational 84-match unbeaten stretch at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2008, which is a Premier League record to this day and one the Special One played a huge part in.
Jurgen Klopp meanwhile knows exactly what it takes to go the distance domestically, too, with his Liverpool side scooping their first crown for 30 years last season.
Add to that the neck-and-neck title race between the Reds and Manchester City the campaign before – in which Liverpool were pipped to the title even after amassing 97 points – then you now doubt have a manager who is hardened in the Premier League chase.
Three points in this game may be as beneficial psychologically to either side as it is to the physical constitution of the table – a win for Spurs and they’ll feel they have the advantage – victory for Liverpool is proof that they are a winning machine despite being decimated by injuries.
The latest on Klopp’s sick list is Diogo Jota, who will be out for 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. The forward has been excellent since his arrival from Wolves in the summer and his absence will be a miss considering the fine start to his Anfield career.
First choice defenders Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk remain long-term absentees with knee injuries, and with Joel Matip coming off against Fulham with back spasms, Liverpool were forced to play a centre back pairing of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
If Matip doesn’t recover in time for the Spurs game, Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips are likely to be involved.
Naby Keita has picked up another muscle strain to add to the misery, whilst Thiago Alcantara, Alex Olxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner all remain absent with theirs.
Tottenham’s squad is far fresher, with Erik Lamela the only major doubt for Mourinho.
Gareth Bale sat out of the weekend’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace with illness but is in contention to return at Anfield.
Striker Harry Kane is fully fit and is expected to break a Premier League record over the Christmas period. The England captain has been directly involved in 19 goals in just 12 games this season and is on course to be the fastest player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a campaign since Cesc Fabregas achieved the feat after 17 matches.
2000 supporters are expected to be in attendance with the Merseyside region under Tier 2 of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions – however, the return of fans to Tottenham’s ground was shortlived following news that the Greater London area will move in to Tier 3, therein prohibiting fans’ attendance.
With both Spurs and Liverpool drawing 1-1 against Crystal Palace and Fulham at the weekend, two sides you’d have expected them to beat, this battle for top spot becomes all the more interesting and is being billed as one of the games of the Premier League season so far.
Liverpool v Tottenham is an 8pm kick off on Wednesday 16th December.