TOTTENHAM VS LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, September 15th |
Premier League | Wembley Stadium
11:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM BST / 7:30 AM EST
There’s a Liverpool match on Saturday, in case you’d forgotten that we didn’t have to wait yet another lifetime before the Reds would play again. The international break is over and I don’t know what it accomplished. I’m sure there was team building and other positive things. But that’s all behind us now. Ahead is the road to London where Liverpool will face up with their most difficult opponent this season in Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs fell to Watford just before the break but otherwise had managed to take maximum points from their opening three fixtures. It will be a tough test between two talented managers set on winning the Premier League. But Liverpool have been gaining in confidence from match to match and Wembley could be the place where the players make a big statement against fellow top-four challengers.
Mauricio Pochettino will be without a couple of key players in his starting XI this weekend. Spurs have confirmed that Dele Alli will miss the match due to a hamstring injury he picked up while away with the England team. And Hugo Lloris will be unavailable for several weeks because of a thigh injury he sustained in Tottenham’s 3-0 win over Manchester United.
Dele and Lloris are significant loses for Spurs but Pochettino still has plenty of players to cause Jürgen Klopp problems. Harry Kane has a solid scoring record against Liverpool, getting five goals in the last seven meetings between the two clubs and assisting two.
And Son Heung-min could make an influence on the match if Pochettino deems the South Korean fit after just returning from winning the Asian Games with his countrymen.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keïta, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Klopp’s matchday team sheet is likely to resemble the last four. Alisson will be the goalkeeper. The defense could get shaken up a little by adding in Nathaniel Clyne for Trent Alexander-Arnold but will otherwise remain unchanged. Joe Gomez will continue his excellent start to his center back career next to Virgil Van Dijk.
The front three remains the same unless for some unknown reason Klopp decides to throw Xherdan Shaqiri into the fire to see what he really smells like.
It’s in the midfield where the manager has more questions to answer. Naby Keita began the Leicester City match on the bench after starting the previous three. The Guinean midfielder is expected to return to the XI at Wembley but who partners him will have to be carefully considered by Klopp.
Gini Wijnaldum is high on the list. The Dutchman has taken his game up a level in the last year and, along with his tenacity in the middle of the park, is becoming a threat in Liverpool’s attack. James Milner is nearly always influential in Klopp’s teams and he is well rested after an extended break.
But the manager could be aiming to get Jordan Henderson into good form after missing out on the pre-season and may be looking to give his captain the minutes. There’s also the great Fabinho mystery to ponder. Is he ready? Is Spurs at Wembley the right time? Somebody ask Gary Neville what to do.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “They are a great team. They have played together for four, four-and-a-half years. It’s still a very young squad. It is a really interesting project what they are doing there. They can cause anybody problems but so can we.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “For me, Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe, not only in England. They have very good players and a great manager. It will be a very tough opponent. It is going to demand a lot of energy from us, and to have a very good performance if we want to be close to winning.”
Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth official: Kevin Friend
Kickoff is set for 11:30 AM GMT/7:30 PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.