Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
White Hart Lane
Saturday 27th August 12.30 (GMT)
In the opening fixture of the Premier League this weekend, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds will be looking to bounce back from Saturday’s abject performance at Burnley, while Spurs will be looking to build momentum after gaining their first win of the season last week.
Tottenham have just one player missing for Saturday’s test as captain Hugo Lloris misses out through a hamstring injury. However, the Frenchmen’s absence will be felt as he has become integral to Spurs in recent seasons. Second-choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm is expected to start after he kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Liverpool’s injury problems are a little more complex. Sadio Mané’s absence was certainly felt as the Reds lacked the pace and intensity the Senegalese forward brings. His scintillating pace was integral to Liverpool’s opening day win at the Emirates – which included a stunning solo goal from the forward. Liverpool’s success in this game could rely on Mane’s fitness. His pace and mobility fits perfectly into the counter-attacking style Klopp is likely to deploy in this game.
Other noticeable absentees for the Reds include goalkeeper Loris Karius who is expected to be out until mid-September. The German was believed to be about to replace Simon Mignolet, but his injury has led to the much-maligned Belgian being Liverpool’s starting goalkeeper for the opening of the season.
Defender Mamadou Sakho is set to complete his return from injury and potentially start at White Hart Lane. The Frenchmen missed the end of Liverpool’s season after being accused of taking banned substances but was subsequently cleared. He was then sent home from Liverpool’s U.S. Tour, reportedly due to discipline problems and this week it has been reported that Sakho could surprisingly be sent out on loan.
Sheyi Ojo, Lucas Leiva and Joe Gomez are all still out however Danny Ings could be included in Jürgen Klopp’s squad.
Key Players: Tottenham
Victor Wanyama – The Kenyan midfielder scored the winner for Spurs last weekend in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. The midfielder strength makes him so difficult to play against and his ability to break up play and tackle will be integral to his side overcoming Liverpool’s counter-attacking threat. However, he still has problems with his discipline and was sent off three times last season for Southampton.
Erik Lamela – The Argentine struggled in his first season at White Hart Lane following his £30 million move from Roma. He initially struggled at Spurs and could not force himself into the team. However, in recent months Lamela has transformed his form and has become vital to Tottenham and his skill and trickery may test a Liverpool defence that was well under-par at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – The Belgian duo have formed a formidable partnership at the back for Spurs and were integral to Spurs’ defensive strength last season. The partnership was developed in Ajax and continued for Belgium, but it has flourished in London. Whoever plays up front for Liverpool on Saturday will certainly have a difficult task.
Key Players: Liverpool
Sadio Mané – The Senegalese forward was sensational on his Liverpool debut against Arsenal and his electrifying pace was vital to Liverpool’s attacking success. The Reds severely missed Mane’s pace last weekend as they fell to a 2-0 defeat in a sluggish performance at Turf Moor. It appears that the forward’s pace is going to be integral to Liverpool’s counter-attacking style this season and his injection of pace is what the Reds have lacked in recent years.
Emre Can – The return of Emre Can could be vital for Liverpool. The 22-year-old provides great protection to the back four and his absence was shown as Liverpool shipped five goals in their opening two games without him. The German is becoming a key player for Klopp’s side and have missed the guile and hard work he puts in.
Philippe Coutinho – The Brazilian is always going to be a key player for the Reds. On his day he is undoubtedly Liverpool’s best player and can produce moments of magic. However, his problems with inconsistency have been highlighted already this season. The 24-year-old put in an exquisite performance against Arsenal opening day – scoring twice – however he followed this up with a disappointing performance against Burnley. He clearly has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, but to do this he must become more consistent. Liverpool will need a big performance from their talisman on Saturday.
Last season both matches between Liverpool and Tottenham ended in stalemates. The first was Jurgen Klopp’s first game in a match that ended 0-0. In the return fixture Harry Kane helped Spurs come from a goal down to gain a draw as they went for the title. In recent seasons, Liverpool have enjoyed their trips to White Hart Lane with a 3-0 win in 2015 and 5-0 win in 2014. Tottenham on the other hand have only beaten Liverpool once in the last nine meetings of the clubs.