Noel Whelan predicts that Tottenham Hotspur will pick Lucas Moura over Fernando Llorente against Manchester City in the Champions League this evening after he scored a hat-trick against Huddersfield Town at the weekend.
With Harry Kane sidelined and unlikely to play again this season, the Brazilian started against the Terriers and bagged three goals in Spurs’ dominant 4-0 win.
Tottenham take a 1-0 lead to the Etihad this evening in the second leg of their quarter-final against Manchester City.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino still has options available to him up front, including Llorente or Heung-Min Son, who scored the winner in the first leg in North London.
Moura came on to replace Kane when he suffered his ankle injury against City, excelled against Huddersfield and can be expected to keep his Tottenham place this evening.
However, despite his hat-trick, Whelan believes that it was Llorente who was the key player for Spurs against Huddersfield, and he may therefore consider himself unlucky to miss out – if Pochettino does leave him on the bench.
“Moura will be playing against Man City, there’s no doubt about that,” the former striker told Football Insider.
“He is a massive talent with blistering speeds, lots of flair and great feet, all the attributes you want in a forward.”
Pochettino was able to rest some of his key players against Huddersfield and they will return to the side this evening, meaning that Llorente is likely to miss out.
“Son will be in as well, and Alli will play if he’s fit as he’s a big-game player,” Whelan added.
“I’m not expecting Llorente to start. He’s a useful back-up with his height and power but his lack of mobility is an issue, as he can’t get in behind centre-backs and stretch them.”
The Spaniard has scored seven goals in 27 appearances for Spurs this season in all competitions but if he wants to add to that tally tonight, it looks as if he will have to do it by making an impact from the bench.