The Premier League returns with a bang for Liverpool this weekend, as an imposing Tottenham outfit stand before them at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.
Tottenham vs. Liverpool
Saturday, September 15, 2018 – 12.30pm (BST)
Referee: Michael Oliver
The first international break of the season is over and we can all finally enjoy the return of domestic action.
The Reds sit top of the table after picking up maximum points in their opening four matches, with the win over Leicester City particularly hard-earned.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men have not been at their best yet this season, so to be in this current position can only bode well for the future.
They are due a performance, however, and if they don’t up their game on Saturday an excellent Spurs team with nine points to their name will be waiting to pounce.
Mauricio Pochettino continues to do an impressive job with the north Londoners and they have shown in recent years the problems they can cause Liverpool.
A Saturday lunchtime game after the international break can often be a low-key affair, but it is hard not to see there being drama at Wembley.
These are two top sides who play football in an expansive manner, and victory for either will feel pivotal, despite it only being early in the campaign.
The Reds’ attack needs to go up a gear, the midfield needs to show improved dominance and a more convincing 90 minutes is required.
If they manage to nail those three aspects of their game, five wins out of five will be more than possible.
This fixture last season: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool
Adam Lallana picked up a groin injury on international duty—yet another fitness setback for the 30-year-old—and neither he nor Dejan Lovren will be available on Saturday.
Simon Mignolet is back after a finger problem kept him out of Belgium’s clashes with Scotland and Iceland, however, but Caoimhin Kelleher is now also out.
Alisson should again have Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in front of him, with the goalkeeper hoping to avoid a repeat of his error at Leicester.
Fabinho is still waiting for his debut, but that may have to wait another few days at least, with Paris Saint-Germain coming to Anfield on Tuesday.
Klopp must pick three midfielders from Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Naby Keita, with the latter expected to return to the team after not starting against Leicester.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fit, but an in-form Xherdan Shaqiri has an outside chance of forcing his way into contention.
Tottenham are without key duo Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli, while Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Juan Foyth are out too.
Son Heung-min could feature after returning from his Asian Games heroics with South Korea.
Last 5 Away to Tottenham (All Competitions)
Lost 4-1 – October, 2017 (Kane x2, Son, Alli; Salah)
Drew 1-1 – August, 2016 (Rose; Milner pen)
Drew 0-0 – October, 2015
Won 3-0 – August, 2014 (Sterling, Gerrard pen, Moreno)
Won 5-0 – December, 2013 (Suarez x2, Henderson, Flanagan, Sterling)
Away fans’ pubs: “Fans often drink in central London, at pubs dotted along the many underground stations en route to Wembley Park and Wembley Central stations, and Baker Street is a good example of this,” Spurs fan George Lacey told This is Anfield.
“Many fans also enjoy the many pubs near to London’s mainline railway stations, before making their way to Wembley nearer to kickoff time.”
Did You Know?
Liverpool have lost on their last four competitive trips to Wembley—they thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in a pre-season friendly in 2016—with their last win at the national stadium coming in the 2012 League Cup final against Cardiff City.
They were thumped 4-1 by Spurs last season, Man City prevailed in the 2016 League Cup final, Aston Villa won 2-1 in the 2015 FA Cup semi-final, while Chelsea got the better of the Reds in the final in 2012.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp explained the issues facing every manager after the international break:
“It’s a big challenge, but for all of us it’s the same. It’s not like Belgium play exactly like Tottenham.
“Life as a Premier League manager is never perfect, it’s not that I have all of them together, then we train and can compare a game.
“From now on we have one day to train, one day to rest, one day to play. It’s the same for all of us, we have all the same things.
“For the boys it’s always a big challenge that they really have to remind themselves what we actually do.
“We had quite a good session yesterday, couldn’t do too much because some of them came off the plane.
“Then today another one, and we need to be ready.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The match kicks off the returning Premier League action, with Sky Sports Main Event’s coverage starting at 11.30am (BST). Kickoff is at 12.30pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, bringing you plenty of content before the game and minute-by-minute updates throughout.