Everton manager Ronald Koeman has hailed Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane as two of the best strikers in Europe as the Premier League's joint top scorers prepare to go head-to-head at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Lukaku and Kane are level with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in the race for the league's golden boot, having each scored 17 goals in the top-flight so far this season. The two strikers are both in-form with Lukaku scoring seven goals in as many league games since January 1, while Kane has scored nine goals in eight league games in 2017.
Both Lukaku and Kane will be hoping to steal a march on their rival in the race for the golden boot when they meet on Sunday.
Koeman backs Lukaku to outshine Kane
Koeman described both Lukaku and Kane as "top strikers and top finishers" and said that they are "very similar in terms of finishing and movement within the box." The Blues boss added that he doesn't see "any real difference" between the pair in those aspects of the game.
The Dutchman thinks that Lukaku has the edge on Kane in terms of physicality. Koeman said the Belgian is "probably a little bit faster and physically he's a little bit stronger," whereas "Kane is clever in his movements."
Koeman added that he believes both players are not only in the "top five best strikers in the Premier League," but maybe also in the "top 10 best strikers in Europe." However, the former Barcelona defender admitted they both "need support and creativity from other players behind them."
The Everton boss said he is intrigued by the battle between Lukaku and Kane adding that "it will be interesting to see who comes out on top" on Sunday.
What do the stats say? Lukaku or Kane?
It can be easy to forget how young both players still are. Despite both being still only 23, they have already scored 143 Premier League goals between them (77 - Lukaku, 66 - Kane) and they have both been unstoppable in 2017.
The fact this is Lukaku's sixth season in the Premier League makes it seem like he is older than 23, but he is still only at the beginning of his career. Last October he scored his 100th career league goal in his 230th appearance. When cup competitions are added in, his tally stands at 126 goals in 289 outings, with a further 22 netted in his 56 caps for Belgium. It is a mightily impressive record for a player who will turn 24 in the final week of the current campaign in May.
Lukaku has been unstoppable for the Blues, scoring seven goals in as many league games since the turn of the year. His took his league tally to 17 for the season with his second-half goal in last weekend's 2-0 win over Sunderland, which also was his 60th Premier League goal for Everton, equalling Duncan Ferguson's club record. And, with Everton hopeful the striker will sign a new long-term deal at Goodison Park, Lukaku will no doubt add plenty of more goals to his Everton tally.
Like Lukaku, Kane has been equally prolific for Tottenham, scoring nine goals in eight league games since January 1, including two hat-tricks against West Brom and Stoke. The 23-year-old also scored a hat-trick in their FA Cup win over Fulham last month and, among the top five leagues in Europe, only Lionel Messi (13) goes into this weekend's games with more goals in all competitions than Kane (12).
While the pair are level in terms of Premier League goals and assists this season, Kane wins the numbers game, as he has a better minutes-per-goal ratio and a higher percentage of total shots scored. Nobody in the Premier League has scored more goals than the England striker since he became a regular started for Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino three years ago.