Tottenham have potentially been dealt a double blow to their title bid with Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela both doubtful for their crunch tie with Liverpool.
Spurs went into the international break with concerns that one or more of their star men could come back injured, and it appears that their worst fears have come true.
Lamela has reportedly suffered a muscle strain while on duty with Argentina and missed out on their World Cup qualifier with Bolivia, meanwhile Alderweireld is struggling with a stomach bug.
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Having scored 14 goals already this season, Lamela has been a catalyst to Spurs’ free-flowing, dynamic football, and would be sorely missed.
It is likely that South Korea’s Heung Min-Son will take his place if he loses his race to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Anfield, but Son does not offer the same pace.
Nightmare for Spurs
Alderweireld, on the other hand, could leave Spurs with a nightmare scenario if he does not recover from his stomach bug before the Liverpool game.
The 27-year-old has been a rock this season, playing every minute of their Premier League campaign, and has steadied the defence through the long-term absence of Jan Vertonghen.
His Belgian partner suffered a medial knee ligament injury in January, and while he is nearing a return, he is not expected to feature against the Reds.
That would leave Kevin Wimmer as their only fit recognised centre-back and could force Eric Dier to drop back to play alongside the Austrian.
Alderweireld withdrew from the Belgium squad to face Portugal, creating a huge dilemma for Belgium boss Marc Wilmots, who was already missing Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Christian Benteke among others.
Are Spurs strong enough?
As for Spurs, boss Mauricio Pochettino is fortunate that he has the strength-in-depth to deal with both situations, but there is always the concern that the potential absence of Lamela and Alderweireld could cause a psychological blow to the side's morale.
It has to be said that the Lilywhites’ record at Anfield is not fantastic, and while on paper, Spurs should be looking at taking all three points, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have proven they are well equipped to beat the sides above them.
In more positive news for Spurs, Mousa Dembele is likely to be fit. Liverpool, of course, have injury concerns of their own, but can go into the game with far less pressure than Pochettino's men, who have everything still to play for.
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