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Liverpool, Spurs and the momentous battle of the ‘biggest bottle jobs’

Both Liverpool and Spurs have earned the unwanted title of 'bottlers', but who comes out on top on Sunday?

It’s a game neither can really afford to lose.

Both Liverpool and Spurs have fought tooth and nail to rid themselves of the ‘bottle’ label this season.

But the clash at Anfield, whilst wholly unjustified, will inevitably lead to one side being crowned ‘Bottle-job of the Season.’


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This does not slip now

EPA
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This does not slip now

The term has crept into the footballing lexicon more and more in recent years and is a stain on fan debate.

It’s an horrendously over used and lazily relayed social media idiom with the simply motive of ‘triggering’ opposition supporters.

Let’s actually put both clubs’ achievements into perspective.

Yes Liverpool were almost incomprehensibly seven points clear a couple of months ago and could indeed find themselves a point behind Man City having played one game more.

Yes Spurs were considered genuine title challengers not once, but twice this season only now to find themselves in a four-way Royal Rumble for a Champions League spot.

Within touching distance

PA:Press Association
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Within touching distance

But neither should really have occupied those positions in the first place.

Just the thought of anyone but Man City winning the title is astonishing given their sheer dominance last season.

Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t just stroll to their coronation in 2018/19, they waltzed to it, and were odds on with all bookmakers to defend their crown.

Pep Guardiola said at the start of the season that the Champions League was not the priority this season

Alamy Live News
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Walk in the park

No side should be racking up 100 points in supposedly the ‘most competitive league in the world’, but they did it seemingly without even breaking sweat.

Ironically we’ve not had a proper, lasting title race since Liverpool were last a genuine contender, that infamous slip and ‘biggest bottle of all’ back in 2014.

Slippy G

Getty Images - Getty
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Slippy G

As for Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have consistently punched above their weight for years now.

They were again accused of ‘bottling’ the title the season Leicester won it, yet never actually went top once that campaign. How can you ‘bottle’ something you never had?

This is just a gentle reminder that, for one reason or another, Spurs haven’t made a single new signing since January 2018 and two transfer windows.

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In that time 60% of Premier League clubs have not only brought in new players at will, they’ve also completed club-record signings.

Just to temporarily rub shoulders with City’s Harlem Globetrotters and Liverpool’s great pretenders is way, way beyond their expectations.

Sunday is huge for both.

Kane has a good scoring record at Anfield

Reuters
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Kane has a good scoring record at Anfield

Defeat for either will leave their hopes for the season in tatters, with Liverpool’s probably more terminal.

Call them ‘bottlers’, call them what you like, but let’s treat their respective seasons with some perspective rather than shooting from the hip.

Both have battled way beyond above stations this campaign and made the Premier League journey a much more compelling place for it.

Without them, City may have enjoyed an even more blemish-free walk in the park.


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