Antonio Conte says he is relishing the opportunity to go "face to face" with Liverpool on Saturday as Tottenham continue their pursuit of a Champions League place.
The Spurs manager was full of praise for Jürgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing team and the “200 per cent enthusiasm” that means they could still win every competition they entered. But he believes a game where the opponents come with an attacking approach will suit his developing side.
“It is very difficult to play against Liverpool – they are in really good form,” Conte said. “I watched [the Champions League semi-final against] Villarreal and the composure, the calm was incredible. The team is strong, it is one of the best in the world. At the same time it will be a good game for us.
“Whenever you play these top teams it is important there is the great desire to find a way to stop them. Against Manchester City it happened twice and against Liverpool we drew at home. For sure I think it’s better when you play face to face with these teams than when we find a team who are very very deep with not so much of the ball.”
Spurs have dropped points against Brighton and Brentford in recent weeks, failing to register a shot on target against sides who played in compact formations. Last weekend, however, Tottenham returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Leicester. “Against Leicester we played face to face: you attack, we attack,” Conte said. “For us it’s better given the characteristic of our players.”
Conte refused to be drawn on how he would approach the challenge of breaking Liverpool’s suffocating press. “I don’t want to give an advantage to a team that doesn’t need one,” he said.
But of his opponents’ push for unprecedented silverware, Conte was highly complimentary.
“Klopp is doing a fantastic job. It’s not easy, especially for an English team, to arrive at the end of the season and be competing for all competitions. Liverpool players run a lot and the fact they have not many injuries [means] the enthusiasm is not 100 per cent, it is 200 per cent.
“You don’t feel the fatigue when you arrive at this point. We want to go there to play our game and we know very well that we are in the race for a Champions League place and we have to try to get a point in every game.” – Guardian