Tottenham have two players at risk of receiving an automatic one-game ban against Liverpool, with a suspension for either player giving Antonio Conte a real headache. Harry Kane and Rodrigo Bentancur, two of Spurs’ best players this season, have received four Premier League yellow cards this season.
Against Liverpool, Spurs are looking to build even more momentum after valuable comeback wins against Bournemouth and Marseille. Bentancur scored a stoppage-time winner in the first before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s late goal in France secured the Londoners’ place in the Champions League round of 16 draw as winners of cluster.
Kane, surprisingly, did not find the net in any of the games, but he is by far the top scorer for Spurs this season. He has 11 goals and three assists, which is almost twice as many direct goal contributions as the second player with the most this season, which is Hojbjerg with eight (four goals, four assists).
However, Conte is hoping not to receive a booking against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. That’s because they host a resurgent Leeds United in their next league match, also their last match before the World Cup break, on November 12.
Kane or Bentancur would receive a one-game suspension and be forced to miss that game with another yellow card. Leeds came from 3-1 down to beat Bournemouth on Saturday and became the first team to beat Liverpool at Anfield in front of fans in five years the previous weekend. So they will be a real test for the north London team, which is weakened by injuries.
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Spurs are without Son Heung-min until after the World Cup, while Richarlison and Cristian Romero are also unavailable for strikes. Although Dejan Kulusevski may return against Liverpool, being without talismanic striker Kane against Leeds would be a huge blow.
Bentancur’s absence would also be sorely felt given his form this season. The Premier League yellow card count is not cleared until December 31. So even if Kane and Bentancur avoid yellow cards against Liverpool, they have to be careful against Leeds.
That’s because they will miss the Boxing Day trip to Brentford if any of them are booked against the Whites. Thus, the Tottenham duo are walking a tightrope in the last two games of the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Yves Bissouma has three yellow cards, so if he plays Liverpool he will need to avoid receiving a yellow card. If he does so, the Malian will avoid the threat of a one-match ban before scheduled elimination.
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Speaking about Bentancur’s performances for Spurs, Conte said on Friday: “Rodrigo only has one problem in my opinion. He has a real chance to be very, very top, top, but you know to become a top player you need will and to decide this.
“Lately I think Rodrigo has been playing in an outstanding way, and he is a player who is giving us a lot on the field, off the field, and we are talking about a player who is showing the possibility of being one. one of the best midfielders, one of the best midfielders in the world.
“But you know how to be a good player and then the top that is the difficulty. When you are average, becoming good is not so difficult. The difference is being good to the top. I think he has it all and he has great potential to be a top, top midfielder. For this reason I press it. I push him every day, during training sessions because he has this quality to convert.”
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