Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s men head to White Hart Lane to take on rival top-four challengers Tottenham.
Tottenham vs. Liverpool
Saturday, 27th August 2016, 12:30pm (BST)
White Hart Lane
Referee: Robert Madley
Tuesday saw the Reds bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment at Burnley, as they cruised to a 5-0 win at Burton in the League Cup second round.
Liverpool are notoriously inconsistent, and it is a problem that must be eradicated if they are to make a genuine impact in the league this season.
The trip to Spurs very much represents a must-not-lose game, with two defeats in the first three league games representing a setback ahead of the international break.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are a talented outfit who are very much going places, and they have earned four points from their first two matches, away to Everton and at home to Crystal Palace.
There will be intriguing match-ups all over the pitch, and for the neutral, it is the stand-out fixture of the Premier League weekend.
Liverpool have not lost at White Hart Lane since November 2012, and have kept clean-sheets in their last three visits.
Last season was a 0-0 draw, in Klopp’s first game as manager, and prior to that the Reds romped to 3-0 and 5-0 victories.
Last meeting at White Hart Lane: Tottenham 0-0 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp draws first game as Reds manager
We spoke to Spurs fan Sam Hawkey about his hopes for the season, and the Liverpool players that scare him:
How are you expecting Spurs to do this season? Another top-four finish?
Coming out of last season I was worried we’d lose players, in particular Christian Eriksen. Instead we kept all our key players from last year and with the additions of Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen I think “Poch” has done a good job.
My main worry is the English and Welsh contingent coming out of the Euros as you usually get a lull coming out of a major tournament. Harry Kane needs to start scoring quickly to wash away a dismal performance in France and to a certain extent the same applies to Dele Alli.
Add to this the added competition – Liverpool look to be clicking under Jurgen Klopp, I don’t fancy an away day at Old Trafford again and Chelsea look more resilient, organised and have Hazard looking more like himself. Not to mention City and Arsenal who are always up there.
Overall, I think 3rd or 4th would be progress (back to back Champions League qualification) but the time is now to show we can be consistently amongst the big boys and be a constant force.
Which Liverpool players do you fear going into the game?
Philippe Coutinho. How Liverpool have kept hold of him after last season I will never know but he has it all and everything good Liverpool do comes through him. Adding a few goals to his name last season means he’s becoming a complete player.
The other is Daniel Sturridge. I don’t actually like him as a player and I don’t think he fits Klopp’s philosophy as he doesn’t press the ball and start defense in the opponents half. That said, he’s skilful and pacy so can produce something out of nothing.
What is your prediction for Saturday?
2-1 to Spurs. Liverpool have goals in them for sure but don’t look too solid at the back. Spurs had the second best defensive (13 clean sheets) and attacking (69 goals) record last year and I would be looking for that to continue.
Just as Liverpool’s squad appeared to be looking largely fit, Klopp has been dealt a potential triple injury blow on Tuesday.
Emre Can hobbled off with an ankle problem at Burton and Divock Origi suffered cramp, and both are doubtful for Saturday’s game. Philippe Coutinho is also a doubt with a hamstring problem.
Can and Coutinho, in particular, have become so influential in recent times, and their respective qualities will be greatly missed against a combative Spurs midfield.
Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva are still on the sidelines, but Sadio Mane is back after missing the Burnley game last weekend.
Klopp has some key decisions to make in terms of his starting line-up, with Joel Matip now fit enough to replace Ragnar Klavan at centre-back.
James Milner is again expected to start at left-back ahead of Alberto Moreno, while there are question marks over the form of captain Jordan Henderson.
Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Origi are all vying to lead the line, but it looks as though it will be between Sturridge and Firmino, with Origi’s aforementioned injury likely to keep him out.
if Coutinho’s out, the front three pretty much picks itself; Firmino, Sturridge, Mane.
Liverpool – last 5 results (all comps)
Won 5-0 vs. Burton
Lost 2-0 vs. Burnley
Won 4-3 vs. Arsenal
Lost 4-0 vs. Mainz
Won 4-0 vs. Barcelona
Tottenham – last 5 results (all comps)
Won 1-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Drew 1-1 vs. Everton
Won 6-1 vs. Inter Milan
Lost 1-0 vs. Atletico Madrid
Lost 2-1 vs. Juventus
White Hart Lane
Away Fans Pubs: Hamilton Hall at Liverpool Street or the Euston Flyer (in Euston) which has been a hot spot for Liverpool fans in recent years.
Klopp spoke about Sturridge’s position in the team, after the striker expressed his displeasure at playing in a right-sided role:
“I don’t want to play Daniel as a wide player, of course he can start there, but in the decisive moments he needs to be involved in the finishing situations.
“Both goals [Sturridge scored against Burton] he scored in the box.
“But you need to find a formation to start, both games we didn’t need an offensive winger, these positions should have been filled by full-backs.
“Then you have these players who are really skilled in finishing situations in and around the box. It’s not a fixed position, ‘stay outside the box and wait’, especially in Daniel’s position.
“We still have to work on a lot of things. I don’t know exactly what he said, but when we have talks there’s no issue about it,” he added.
“Ask a question, get an answer, make an opinion about it. We don’t have this position, it’s not about ‘you play there, then wait until something happens’, it’s flexible football.
“You need enough players around the box to finish. When Daniel has played as a No. 9, if he stays there it makes no sense. Daniel is a very smart player in hiding himself in positions.
“In a wing position, when he’s not involved anymore in defending, you need a smart striker who moves the centre-half where they’re not comfortable.
“It’s only a starting position for the next attacking move. It’s normal.”
One to Watch: Erik Lamela
Like many foreign players, Erik Lamela took a while to adjust to the pace and power of the Premier League, having joined Spurs from Roma for £30million in 2013.
He improved by the week last season, though, and he looks likely to go up another gear in 2016/17, scoring on the opening day at Everton.
Blessed with a wand of a left foot full of creativity and unpredictability, Lamela will be a real threat cutting in from the right on Saturday.
UK TV Info
Tottenham vs. Liverpool is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 from 11:30am (BST) on Saturday in the UK, which is available to live stream with a NOW TV day pass.
This Is Anfield readers can get 10% off a NOW TV Sports day pass here.
Kick-off is at 12:30pm.