Tottenham Manager Jose Mourinho has become frustrated with the injury that has ruled his striker Harry Kane out for three months but the Portuguese can count on Son Heung-min to step onto the plate when they host rampaging Liverpool on Sunday. Son missed Spurs’ last three matches due to card offence and will be making his return on Sunday with a challenge of shouldering the goal-scoring burden in the absence of the talismanic Kane who will not make a return until April.
Liverpool have been incredible, maintaining an unbeaten streak that has reached 38 games but if there is any team that is capable of derailing that spell, then it is Mourinho-led Spurs. The Special One has faced Liverpool more than any other clubs in his glorious career; he has played against the Reds a whopping 28 times and have lost just seven times. 17 of those games were in the English Premier League and he was only defeated three times.
This is a record the Portuguese would be willing to protect and can count on Son to deliver for him at home. Although the coach doesn’t see Son as a like-for-like replacement for Kane, the Korea international has proved to be one of the most important players for Spurs over the years and they sorely missed him when he was out for three matches.
In Son’s absence Spurs struggled mightily, amassing just four points from 12 against three of the league’s bottom sides. Tottenham barely got across the line against Brighton, salvaged an underwhelming draw against bottom feeders Norwich and were shutout at Southampton. Spurs now have the dubious, unenviable record of leaving St. Mary’s without scoring, the first team to do so in 11 months.
While it’s impossible to know whether Son would have scored against the Saints, we certainly know that nobody can fill the void left by the South Korean’s absence. He makes those around him immeasurably better even when he doesn’t score. He adds a dynamism with and without the ball that Tottenham cannot replace.
The threat he offers going forward is indisputable. But it’s his work rate off the ball that is often unheralded. Harrying and harassing, Son pushes the opposition into mistakes. He also provides Spurs with a focal point for their lightning quick counter. Without Son, the Lilywhites don’t have the same spark or speed on the break. They don’t attack nearly as formidably, nor do they defend as well as a collective. The Korean understands how difficult it could be for Spurs to be without Kane but insisted he alone cannot fill the void that will left by their vice-captain’s absence.
“We have other players who can play as a striker,” he said. “It is the gaffer ’s choice. Every player should be ready and every player should be ready to fight and compete. “I am trying to work as hard as possible all the time, that’s what I am trying to do. “Harry is one of the most important players in the team and I don’t want to see someone injured, especially your team-mate. “Harry got injured and other players have to step up. It is important for other guys to get a chance and other guys to play the games.”