Dejan Kulusevski believes Tottenham will achieve "better results than the first six months of the season" following the World Cup break.

Spurs will play their first game in well over a month when they travel to Brentford on Monday.

Antonio Conte's side sit fourth in the Premier League and are into the Champions League round of 16, with Milan their opponents.

Winger Kulusevski feels Spurs will return an even better side following the hiatus.

"I expect better results than the first six months of the season," Kulusevski told Stats Perform. "I think we can do better and we've been working, so now it's just time to show what we've been doing.

"I think we have a lot of quality players that still can make more. We have very good players and you saw that in the World Cup. Almost every player did very well.

"So I think that we would just have to stay healthy and then play like we can."

Kulusevski has six goal involvements from nine appearances this season, having been sidelined due to injury.

While a number of Kulusevki's team-mates have spent the last month or so battling it out in Qatar, Sweden's failure to qualify for the tournament means the former Juventus man has remained with Spurs.

Harry Kane was one of those at the World Cup, missing a crucial late penalty for England as they crashed out against France in the quarter-finals.

Kulusevski is looking forward to linking back up with the prolific striker Kane as Spurs look for their first silverware since winning the EFL Cup in 2008.

"He's [Kane] had a nice break, so it was very good to see him and I can't wait to play with him," Kulusevski said.

Kulusevski says former Chelsea boss Conte, known for being a hard taskmaster, has ensured those players not at the World Cup have been rigorously put through their paces.

"He's good. He doesn't care about anything," Kulusevski added. "It doesn't matter if it's dark or if it's raining, you [have] just got to do the work and that's how it's supposed to be.

"I think that we worked a lot on pressing and I think it's important that we get better.

"I think that the next thing is that when we win the ball, we have to choose the right pass so we can score."

Richarlison will undergo an MRI scan to determine the severity of the hamstring injury he sustained at the World Cup, Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has revealed.

Richarlison scored three times in Brazil's run to the last eight in Qatar – including a brace in their group-stage opener against Serbia – after recovering from a calf injury ahead of the World Cup.

However, the Spurs attacker was forced off with a hamstring issue in Brazil's quarter-final clash with Croatia, with the Selecao going on to lose a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.

Spurs resume their Premier League campaign against Brentford on Monday, and while Ben Davies and Rodrigo Bentancur have returned from the World Cup in good condition, Conte faces an anxious wait on Richarlison's fitness.

"Ben Davies is okay and started to work with us last week. He has recovered," Conte told the club's website on Tuesday.

"Rodrigo has started to work. I think that he's going to be good for the game against Aston Villa [on January 1].

"For Richy, tomorrow he's going to have an MRI to know very well the importance of the injury. After tomorrow, we will see very well the time he needs to recover."

Spurs have spent much of this season battling injuries to key attackers, but Conte's side still entered the World Cup break fourth in the Premier League table, three points behind second-placed Manchester City.

Eric Dier is "grateful" to be back in the England squad for the World Cup after fearing he may never play for the Three Lions again following his Euro 2020 omission.

Tottenham defender Dier was a notable absentee from Gareth Southgate's side for the coronavirus-delayed European Championship in 2021, where England lost in the final to Italy on penalties.

The likes of Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady were preferred at the back by Southgate, though Dier has returned to the fold for Qatar.

England face Iran in Monday's Group B opener and Dier acknowledged he thought the chance to represent his country at a major tournament may never come again.

"I'd be lying if I said that didn't cross my mind [that I might not be in England contention again]," the 28-year-old said. 

"When I missed out on the Euro 2020 squad that was one of the worst moments of my career.

"I'm grateful to be here now. I'm very proud of myself how I managed to fight my way back in."

Dier has been ever-present for Tottenham in the Premier League this season, pinpointing his "special" coach Antonio Conte as the reason for his upturn in form.

"Last season after Antonio Conte arrived that was some of the best football I've played – and it has carried into this season," he added.

"I'm enjoying every minute of working with him. He's a special manager."

The 32 nations competing at the 2022 World Cup face an unprecedented situation, with the world's elite leagues pausing for a mid-season break to allow their stars to compete for glory in the Middle East.

"It's a unique situation for us. In some ways it's quite nice. Maybe not for the coaches and managers - it's not ideal [for them]," Dier continued. 

"From a player's point of view, the quick turnaround is nice. We're here and just getting straight into it. I'm quite impatient. There are other aspects that aren't so great with injuries when they wouldn't usually have missed a tournament. I'm very excited to start."

Host nation Qatar has also come under widespread criticism amid concerns over their human rights record in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

England manager Southgate, captain Harry Kane among a host of other senior figures competing at the World Cup have vowed to speak out, though Dier suggested players have been left in a difficult situation.

"It's extremely difficult for us as players. We know these topics are going to be addressed - it's a difficult situation," the centre-back said.

"When the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010, I was 16 at the time. It's difficult for me to talk on it. As players, we have no say on where we play.

"Those decisions are made by people way above us. We're the ones who end up sitting here having to answer these questions.

"I carry the values I've been given by my family and those who educated me. We've been here a very short time. For me, it's important to live this experience. At that point, I'll have a better idea of what to say on it.

"A lot of things that are disappointing have happened. As a team we carry values wherever we go – but we respect everywhere we go."

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch said he felt "like someone has ripped my heart out" after watching his side implode in Saturday's 4-3 loss at Tottenham.

The visitors took the lead three times in north London and were ahead with nine minutes of normal time remaining, only for Rodrigo Bentancur to score a late double.

Leeds have shipped 26 goals in 14 Premier League games this season at a rate of 1.86 per 90 minutes – only Nottingham Forest (2) and Bournemouth (2.13) have fared worse.

Marsch, who had seen the pressure on him ease following back-to-back league wins prior to the Spurs loss, admits it has been a familiar theme for his side this campaign.

"I'm gutted, I feel like someone has ripped my heart out," he told BBC Sport. "I thought we had control of the match but then we let it slip.

"There's obviously positives in there because in our good moments we look like we have quality, but in our bad, we still look vulnerable and naive.

"We get leads and then we give it away immediately because we don't stick to our principles. If we can then we can be a good team.

"Mentally, the guys have invested so much, there's been ups and downs. We need to gather ourselves, have a break and then come back and keep pushing.

"A little bit of everything needs strengthening, we need to learn to manage the game as a group at all moments."

Crysencio Summerville and Rodrigo both scored for a fourth straight game for Leeds, with the latter netting twice following Harry Kane and Ben Davies equalisers.

But Argentina midfielder Bentancur scored in the 81st and 83rd minutes – his first brace in Europe's top five leagues on his 164th such outing – as Spurs returned to winning ways.

Tottenham have trailed in 14 of their 22 games in all competitions this term, including the past eight in a row, but Antonio Conte was delighted with his side's fighting spirit.

"I think this game made many people very happy," he said at his post-match news conference. "If you're in the stadium you've seen a 4-3 score, with attractive football. 

"In a lot of games we were losing and then we came back. I think we showed great character, desire and great will not to give up, to believe in the win.

"I try every day to transfer this concept. We need to fight and never give up. Never give up is our mantra. This is the positive side.

"The negative side is that we conceded three goals, which is never good. A team that wants to be competitive, to concede three goals is never positive."

Saturday's thrilling victory was Tottenham's 13th game since the beginning of October and their last until Boxing Day, with domestic top-flight football now pausing for the World Cup.

"If you want to reach a good result, you want to show stability," Conte added. "The last period was really tough for everybody, all the clubs, to play 13 games in 43 days is tough.

"It was impossible to work on the pitch on the tactical aspect. For sure, when you don't work on that you are going to lose something defensively."

Spurs have now scored 31 goals in 15 games in the Premier League this term – they have only bettered that tally at this stage of a season on one occasion, with 35 in 2009-10.

England international Kane has been responsible for 12 of those, making this his joint-best start to a campaign at this stage since the 2017-18 season.

"Harry has played a really important role in this period," Conte said. "If we finished this period in the top four and qualified for the top four, I think we have to praise Harry a lot.

"I think Harry honestly deserves great praise because he is always an important player, but in this period there was a lot of weight on his shoulders and he played in a great way. 

"He's arriving at the World Cup with lots of enthusiasm, in a great physical condition and mentally stronger. He's ready. I can see in his eyes he's ready to be the protagonist." 

Antonio Conte wants to earn the right to sign a new contract with Tottenham, but has hinted the club must match his ambitions to keep him for the long term.

Conte's current deal with Spurs expires at the end of the season, and although the club have an option for a one-year extension, the Italian has been linked with an exit on several occasions.

A return to Juventus has been touted as a possibility for Conte at various stages this campaign, but the Tottenham boss wants to show he deserves an extended stay in north London – so long as Spurs can help him achieve his own aims.

"My contract expires on June 30. Until that moment, the club has to make the best evaluation," Conte said at a pre-match news conference ahead of Tottenham's meeting with Leeds United on Saturday.

"I think that everything needs to be deserved. For this reason, it's important to see the rest of the season, what happens, if we are happy with the improvement we are doing.

"On my side, professionally, I have to feel that I deserve to sign a new contract with this club. I have to feel this, but for sure I will talk with the club and we will find the best solution.

"When you start a path with a club, your dream is to stay here many years, to try to build something important. 

"I think it's very important, the relationship that you create with your players, the relationship you create with the club, the environment around you, and also don't forget the ambition.

"If you're used to fighting to win, it is also very important to match this situation and then, if you are lucky and find all of these situations, it's simpler to stay for a long-term project.

"When this happens, you are a lucky person, a lucky man. Every manager dreams of this situation. Then the reality, unfortunately, is not always this."

Tottenham have lost three of their past four Premier League games, which is as many as they had lost in their previous 24 (W17 D4), with Conte's side appearing stretched amid an injury crisis.

Attacking stars Son Heung-min, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski have all been absent in recent weeks, and Conte believes Tottenham may need to add numbers when the January transfer window opens.

"For sure, after the first part of the season it will be right to have a meeting with the club, to discuss the positive and negative things, where we can improve," Conte said.

"Then we will see what we can do. It always depends on the possibilities, and the ambition from the club.

"But for sure, we'll speak, also to have a good evaluation of this part of the season. I have seen a lot of positive things, but with injuries and having to play every three days, I think we struggled a lot.

"In the future, we have to try to improve, to be better to face this type of situation."

Tottenham have won seven of their past nine Premier League games against Leeds (D1 L1), having lost eight of their previous nine against them in the top flight (D1).

Antonio Conte sympathised with his Tottenham players after they were eliminated from the EFL Cup by Nottingham Forest, citing tiredness in the run-up to the World Cup.

Despite playing 12 games since the beginning of October, Conte decided to make just four changes to the team that lost to Liverpool on Sunday, including starts for Eric Dier and Harry Kane, both ever presents this season.

The Italian blamed a lack of alternative options due to injuries as his team fell to a 2-0 loss at the City Ground thanks to goals from Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard on Wednesday.

"The performance, I have to be honest, I think maybe tonight the energy was really poor for us" Spurs head coach Conte said.

"Don't forget that it was the 12th game in a really short period. The games that we played in the past, every game was really, really difficult and we lost a lot of mental energy and physical energy.

"I only say thanks to my players because there are players who are really tired. I have to manage the situation with [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg and [Rodrigo] Bentancur because they were tired.

"The same for Harry Kane. Until this morning we waited to see if he could start or not. He was the only [fit] striker so again, I can only say thanks to my players."

One positive for Spurs was that they did not go in behind at half-time, as they had done in their previous five games, but they also did not come out in the second half with much energy.

Lodi and Lingard's goals arrived in the first 12 minutes following the break, and even though Forest were reduced to 10 men when Orel Mangala was shown a second yellow card with 15 minutes remaining, Spurs could not find a response, having just two shots on target to the hosts' eight.

Debutant goalkeeper Fraser Forster made six saves to keep the score down, though Conte could at least call on the returning Richarlison from the bench, just a day after he was named in Brazil's World Cup squad.

"I have a group of players who are first men, and then good players," he added. "Another could be selfish to think to himself 'in a week I have to play the World Cup.'

"Instead, Harry Kane showed to be a really good man. Not only him though, the same for Bentancur, Perisic, and Dier is another player who has played a lot of games.

"We faced a situation that is really bad with the injuries. We arrived at the end in real difficulty. Now we have to try to rest and find energy."

Nottingham Forest produced an impressive performance to knock Tottenham out of the EFL Cup with a 2-0 win on Wednesday, even after finishing the game with 10 men.

Second-half strikes from Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard gave the Premier League's bottom side victory, though nerves were heightened when Orel Mangala was sent off with 15 minutes remaining.

Spurs have made a habit of dramatic comebacks of late, and Antonio Conte named a strong side at the City Ground, including Harry Kane and only making four changes from the team defeated by Liverpool on Sunday.

But they could not rescue a result this time and have now lost consecutive matches ahead of meeting Leeds United in their final fixture before the World Cup.

A quiet first half saw Spurs debutant Fraser Forster called into action to deny Lingard on the rebound after a deflected clearance had struck the post, while at the other end Wayne Hennessey parried away a fierce effort from Matt Doherty.

Lingard stung the palms of Forster again with a shot from the edge of the box early in the second half, and just moments later the former Manchester United man found Lodi on the left, with the Brazil international cutting inside onto his right foot and bending an effort into the far corner.

It was 2-0 in the 57th minute when Forest struck on the counter down the right, with former Spurs man Serge Aurier putting in a cross for Sam Surridge to head back across goal, allowing Lingard to nod in his first goal for the club.

Kane made way on the hour for the returning Richarlison, but it made little difference as Forest claimed only their second victory in their last 12 games despite Mangala receiving a second yellow card for a foul on the Brazil World Cup star, who had a goal ruled out late on for offside.

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte is "confident" Son Heung-min will be able to feature for South Korea at the World Cup in Qatar.

The forward suffered a fractured eye socket during Spurs' 2-1 victory against Marseille in the Champions League in midweek, sparking concerns about his availability for the upcoming tournament.

It was then confirmed that Son would undergo surgery on his injury and he missed Sunday's defeat to Liverpool, with Conte confirming ahead of the match he would not play for Spurs again before the season breaks for the World Cup.

However, Conte had an encouraging update for Son's availability for the tournament in Qatar as he believes he will represent his nation.

"With Sonny, I sent him a message after the surgery," he said after the loss to Liverpool.

"Sonny was really, really disappointed with this situation but I hope for him to recover very well and to play in the World Cup because I was a player and I know the importance of the World Cup.

"I'm confident that he can come back quickly and play in the World Cup. He's not in hospital now, he's home."

The World Cup gets underway on November 20, but Son has a further four days recovery before South Korea begin their campaign in Group H against Uruguay.

Tottenham's defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday was "unfair", their coach Antonio Conte claimed.

A first-half brace from Mohamed Salah put Jurgen Klopp's side in control, with Spurs' attacking play limited in the opening 45 minutes, although Ivan Perisic did hit the frame of the goal.

The hosts possessed a greater threat in the second period, and Perisic was again denied by the woodwork before Harry Kane found the net in a sixth consecutive home league game – a Tottenham first in the Premier League era.

However, Spurs could not find an equaliser, and the 2-1 loss leaves them without a win in 10 league meetings with Liverpool.

That sequence matches Tottenham's worst in this fixture, but Conte felt the scoreline was not a fair reflection of this encounter.

"It is difficult to explain the defeat tonight," he told Sky Sports. "We deserved much more, but also after the first half, in the dressing room, I was happy with the desire and what we did.

"We put a lot of pressure on Liverpool and were 2-0 down, but we didn't know why. In the second half, we played really well.

"Their goalkeeper made good saves, and we hit the post and the crossbar. I think the result is unfair.

"It is difficult to explain this type of game. For sure, the performance was good. We are managing a situation with many, many injuries, and we need to find new solutions.

"This type of performance against a team like Liverpool gives me satisfaction as it shows the hard work works."

Spurs' loss leaves them in fourth, just three points clear of Manchester United, who have a game in hand in fifth.

The latest Liverpool revival starts here. Those mighty Reds have pulled level on points with Fulham.

Still, you have to start somewhere, and Tottenham are usually ripe for the picking when Liverpool are in town, with Eric Dier this time taking it upon himself to roll out the red carpet and wave Mohamed Salah into the spotlight.

It's nine goals in eight games now for Salah, none of them penalties, and if Liverpool collectively are still far short of where Jurgen Klopp would want them, then at least the manager need not worry about his star forward.

A 2-1 win at Tottenham came as little surprise in many regards, since it means the north London side remain winless in their last 10 Premier League games against Liverpool, drawing three of those and losing seven.

Salah was on the scoresheet the last time Liverpool lost to Tottenham in the league, getting the consolation in a 4-1 humbling at Wembley – Spurs' then temporary home – in October 2017.

That was in the early stages of his first season with Liverpool, and Salah has barely stopped scoring since, though a shaky run of games early this season raised red flags about his form.

Fresh from signing a long-term deal in the close season, and recently turning 30, Liverpool are counting on Salah to remain lethal in front of goal.

Their success under Klopp, that Tottenham can only envy, has come thanks to a host of factors, but Salah's goals have been front and centre.

He was not sure in midweek that he had been awarded Liverpool's opening goal against Napoli, with Darwin Nunez's header having been close to crossing the line before it was nudged out to Salah.

But Salah was in the right place and was given that one, and there was no doubting his claims to Liverpool's two goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where the visitors finally picked up a first away league win of the season.

The first was another from the Nunez-Salah collection, their partnership blossoming now, with the Uruguayan finding the Egyptian with a short, smart pass in the penalty area and the finish to the bottom-right corner was exemplary.

Desperate defending from Dier presented Salah with the chance to double Liverpool's lead, with the England international looking to nod Alisson's long kick back to Hugo Lloris but getting it all wrong.

Salah's footwork, running at pace onto the loose ball, was magnificent, and the chipped finish over the France goalkeeper was immaculate.

But what of Dier? Can he be trusted to avoid such blunders by Gareth Southgate at the World Cup? That is a third error leading to a shot committed by Dier in all competitions this season. Only one player from Europe's top leagues has had more: Liverpool's Joe Gomez (4).

Two of those mistakes from Dier have led to goals, and only one Premier League player has made as many errors already in 2022-23 that have proved quite so costly. The trouble for Spurs is that player is Lloris, also with two goal-costing errors.

This was the first time Tottenham had hosted Liverpool while above them in the table since that October 2017 win, and you have to wonder how long Spurs will stay ahead of Sunday's visitors.

They remain fourth for now, seven points adrift of a Liverpool side who have a game in hand on them, and they got what proved to be a classy consolation when Harry Kane rifled home a smart finish from substitute Dejan Kulusevski's pass in the 70th minute.

Kane spoke after the game of there being "tension" in the stands, and admitted Tottenham had been "punished" by Liverpool before building any momentum. The hosts hit the goal frame twice through Ivan Perisic, but Salah also had a glorious second-half chance, squandering the opportunity to seal a hat-trick when he fired straight at Lloris from a handy central position.

He has seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances against Spurs now, but it probably should have been eight.

Antonio Conte's Tottenham team selection had looked conservative, with injuries biting but attacking ambition seemingly in short supply. Kulusevski proved a threat on his return from injury, ripe to be used regularly in the coming weeks if there was not the inconvenience of a World Cup on the near horizon.

Kane's fine goal would have cheered Southgate, while Dier's clumsy error does him no favours ahead of the Qatar 2022 squad selection.

Kane became the first player to score in six consecutive home games for Spurs in the Premier League, but he was fighting a lone battle at times. Like Salah, Kane's class remains unquestionable.

Yet a Tottenham side who have lost three of their last four in the league are in need of a revival. Liverpool's wins over Napoli and now Spurs suggest Klopp's team might be in the early throes of one, but then you remember they lost to Leeds United at Anfield barely a week ago.

After the World Cup, these two sides must resolve their personality crises. More fits, starts and false dawns will mean the mid-table likes of Fulham might not be so easily shaken off.

Son Heung-min has no chance of making his Tottenham return before the World Cup after suffering a fracture around his left eye, head coach Antonio Conte has declared.

The South Korea forward suffered the injury in Spurs' Champions League win over Marseille on Tuesday, leaving him requiring surgery and throwing his hopes of appearing in Qatar into doubt.

Tottenham have endured something of an injury crisis of late, with Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Cristian Romero all sitting out recent matches, leaving Conte short of options with three games remaining before the World Cup.

Spurs host Liverpool on Sunday before an EFL Cup trip in midweek to face Nottingham Forest, then welcoming Leeds in the final game before the tournament in Qatar, and Conte accepts Son will not be available for those matches.

"Today [Friday], Sonny is having his surgery. It's a pity, it's a pity for him. I hope for him to recover for the World Cup," Conte told Sky Sports.

"For sure, to play the last three games with us will be impossible. This is not a lucky period for us, with Kulusevski, Richarlison and Romero out, now Sonny.

"Lucas Moura is up and down with a problem in his tendon. It's not easy, but we are trying to face the situation in the best possible way."

The scheduling of a mid-season World Cup has attracted renewed criticism after several big-name players suffered injuries in recent weeks, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Reece James and Kyle Walker among those either ruled out or doubtful for the tournament.

The situation has led to suggestions players may play with caution to avoid a similar fate, but Conte, who missed Italy's Euro 1996 campaign through injury, says that would be selfish.

Asked whether players might take it easy, Conte said: "No, honestly. I was a player, and I missed the European Championship in England because I had a serious injury in the final of the Champions League, Juventus against Ajax in 1996.

"Absolutely not. I can only speak about my players, the player wants to play in every single game, to try to win.

"I don't know or like players that think to save themselves to play a competition like this, because it means you have a selfish player."

Liverpool are an example to follow for Tottenham coach Antonio Conte, who has no issues with Jurgen Klopp's disparaging comments on Spurs' style of play.

Spurs host Liverpool on Sunday, with the sides separated by 10 points.

While Conte's team are third, five points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal, Liverpool head into the clash on the back of successive defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, leaving them ninth.

Last season, both league meetings between Liverpool and Spurs finished all square, with a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December, while the Anfield fixture in May ended 1-1.

After the latter match, in which Spurs had only eight shots to their hosts' 22 but finished with a similar expected goals (xG) value to Liverpool (1.3 to 1.4), Klopp was frustrated by Conte's defensive approach, saying: "I don't like this kind of football... I cannot coach it. I think they are world-class and they should do more for the game – world-class players block all the balls."

Conte shrugged off Klopp's comments, insisting there is no bad blood between himself and the Liverpool manager, though the Italian was quick to note it was a result that ultimately played into the Reds falling short of the title.

He said in a press conference: "Yeah, but if you remember he lost the Premier League for this result.

"I understood his frustration. They lost the title for these two points. But you know, instead we reached the Champions League with that draw.

"It's OK, every coach has to speak for his team – and for every coach it's important to understand the best strategy to reach a good result.

"Honestly, I have seen again the last game we played against Liverpool and, if there was a team that deserved to win, it was Tottenham, not Liverpool.

"But I understand after a game when you felt you lost the Premier League to say something wrong against another team, but he has said sorry because he understood.

"No problem for me. When you are angry, it's very difficult sometimes to control your emotion."

Spurs splashed the cash in order to bolster Conte's squad heading into his first full season in north London - business which seems to be paying off, with Tottenham having also progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League.

And Conte sees Liverpool's model as an ideal one to follow.

"I think that Liverpool have to be proud because in the last five years they were the big, big rivals for Manchester City," Conte said.

"Without Liverpool, I think it could be like Italy with Juventus.

"For this reason, they have to be proud to reach this level and I think they improved a lot in these years. Sure, they spent money, but Klopp has changed Liverpool and the club gave him the possibility to invest.

"We are talking about an important club in the world with the possibility to spend a lot of money, but it's important to spend the money in the right way.

"I think it was really difficult to become the rival to City and you need the important players, you need the players to be really strong if you want to win. Otherwise you have to be honest and say you have other ambitions."

Antonio Conte accused football's organisers of demonstrating a lack of care for players after Son Heung-min joined Tottenham's mounting injury list ahead of the World Cup.

Tottenham have the chance to move 13 points ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League table when they host the Reds on Sunday, but have been beset by fitness concerns in recent weeks.

With Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski already sidelined, Spurs suffered a huge blow on Tuesday when Son sustained a fracture around his left eye in their Champions League win at Marseille, throwing his chances of featuring in Qatar into doubt.

Defender Cristian Romero, meanwhile, has missed Tottenham's last two games with a calf problem, and will not be fit to return against Liverpool.

Speaking at Friday's pre-match news conference, Conte said the game's organisers were paying lip service to concerns over player welfare.

"It's better to start with a smile. We need to face this situation, we need to try to finish these three games in the best possible way," Conte said.

"We have these injuries; Richarlison is not available for the game, it's the same for Romero.

"About Romero, I can tell you if he has the possibility to play with one leg, he will play with one leg. I tell the fans that we have players really committed to the club. 

"Maybe Romero has an injury because he wanted to take a risk, but for sure, many teams are having big injuries, because we are playing every three days.

"We are seeing this situation is impossible for the future. Many times, I hear about the welfare of the players, but [talking] is only a polite way of showing they care. 

"They're not really worried about the welfare of the players if the schedule is this, if the most important thing is that the show must go on. 

"In the future, I don't want to hear or speak about the welfare of the players, because this is not true."

Conte offered more positive updates on the conditions of Rodrigo Bentancur and Kulusevski – the latter having not featured since September after sustaining a hamstring injury – but Lucas Moura's participation against Liverpool appears uncertain.

"Bentancur is much better and was part of a training session," Conte said. "It was the same for Kulusevski, he had half a training session with us.

"The problem is Lucas Moura is having different phases with his pain. Today it was really bad, and they told me he was really worried about this. I asked him to try to be available."

Sunday's match will represent the first time Tottenham have hosted Liverpool while above them in the Premier League table since October 2017, when they posted a 4-1 win over the Reds.

That, however, remains Spurs' most recent league victory against Liverpool, who are unbeaten in the teams' nine subsequent meetings in the competition (W6 D3).

Hugo Lloris and Clement Lenglet commended Tottenham's desire after a comeback victory over Marseille sealed a place in the Champions League last 16.

Spurs headed into Tuesday's game at Stade Velodrome knowing a point would be enough to put them through, but Chancel Mbemba's goal in first-half injury time saw them staring down the barrel of an early exit from UEFA's elite club competition.

Yet a much-improved second-half display resulted in Antonio Conte's side getting the job done in style, through Lenglet's header and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's late finish.

It meant Spurs advanced as group winners for the third time in their Champions League history, and captain Lloris believes the team deserve plenty of credit for the comeback.

"We expected that type of game," Lloris told BT Sport. "We know the Velodrome is a very difficult place to deal with and I think we showed great personality.

"Clement scored a very important goal in France in front of the French people. He helped the team to get back on track. The second goal [from] Pierre is so important to confirm first spot in the group."

Lenglet's first Champions League goal since scoring for Barcelona against Napoli in August 2020 helped Spurs on their way, and the defender believes the poor first half was a consequence of being unsure whether to play on the front or back foot.

"We didn't play well during the first half, maybe because we didn't know if we needed to attack or defend," Lenglet commented.

"But after the first half, we speak in the locker room, we tell what we have to tell. We start the second half with much more personality, much more aggression to go to score and we play a very good second half."

Conte was absent from the touchline against Marseille after being banned for his reaction to Harry Kane's disallowed effort in Spurs' draw with Sporting CP last week. Had that goal counted, Tottenham would have had progression assured heading into the final matchday.

Marseille, meanwhile, appeared caught between two stalls after taking the lead. A draw would have been enough to see them through, due to their head-to-head record with Sporting, but as it is the Ligue 1 giants finished last in Group D.

Lloris believes that played into Spurs' hands, adding: "It was a tough night, a great battle.

"I think it was a more psychological battle because we could feel there was a team that was playing without fear to lose, it was Marseille. In the second half, we played a team that had the fear to lose because they were 1-0 up.

"It's a great result without our coach. Probably, it was even more difficult for him in the stand!"

Goals from Clement Lenglet and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saw Tottenham come from behind to advance to the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-1 victory at Marseille on Tuesday.

Spurs knew a point in France would be enough to send them through, but Chancel Mbemba's powerful strike put them a goal down at half-time.

However, Lenglet nodded home from Ivan Perisic's set-piece shortly after the break before Hojbjerg smashed home in injury time to seal Spurs' place in the next round.

The victory means Spurs finish as Group D winners as they reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2019-20.


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