Liver­pool seek Wem­b­ley re­demp­tion

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE -

LIVER­POOL will not have happy mem­o­ries of their last visit to Wem­b­ley and will head south with a point to prove against Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur to­mor­row.

Eleven months ago Jur­gen Klopp’s side were swept aside 4-1 by a ram­pant Tot­ten­ham lead­ing to a bout of navel-gaz­ing that, as it tran­spired, helped trans­form Liver­pool’s sea­son.

The de­fen­sive lapses that un­der­mined them that day were soon erad­i­cated, the goals be­gan to flow and with the ad­di­tion of cen­tral de­fender Vir­gil van Dijk from Southamp­ton in Jan­uary, Liver­pool be­came a force to be reck­oned with.

The dam­age had al­ready been done though and, just like ev­ery other con­tender, they never got any­where near a Manch­ester City side that strolled to the Pre­mier League ti­tle.

They did reach the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal and have con­tin­ued the mo­men­tum into the new cam­paign, top­ping the ta­ble with four wins from four, scor­ing nine goals and con­ced­ing one.

Tot­ten­ham be­gan with three wins but slipped up in their last game be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break, los­ing 2-1 at Wat­ford who are sur­prise joint-lead­ers.

Early in the sea­son it may be, but the lunchtime clash will of­fer a pointer as to which club can push on and make a cred­i­ble chal­lenge to a City side who host Ful­ham.

Tot­ten­ham’s start­ing line-up will be sim­i­lar to the one that started last year’s fix­ture af­ter the Lon­don club bucked the trend by spend­ing noth­ing in the trans­fer win­dow.

Liver­pool, on the other hand, splashed out in the re­gion of £160 mil­lion on the likes of Naby Keita, ver­sa­tile Brazil­ian Fabinho, Brazil goal­keeper Alisson and Swiss play­maker Xher­dan Shaqiri from rel­e­gated Stoke City.

The Merseysiders have lost only one of their last 11 league meet­ings against Tot­ten­ham, but were also frus­trated by them in a 2-2 draw at An­field last sea­son when Harry Kane scored a last-gasp penalty equaliser.

There is an edge be­tween the clubs and Klopp knows three points to­mor­row would send out a mes­sage of in­tent. De­feat for Tot­ten­ham in a fix­ture that was sup­posed to be the chris­ten­ing of their new sta­dium will lead to fur­ther scru­tiny of the de­ci­sion to trust the same play­ers that have achieved three suc­ces­sive top-three fin­ishes, but no sil­ver­ware.

Wat­ford’s best-ever start to a topflight sea­son will be put to the test as they take on a Manch­ester United side with­out striker Mar­cus Rash­ford, who was sent off in their morale-boost­ing win against Burn­ley.

Chelsea, who have qui­etly gone about their busi­ness un­der new man­ager Mau­r­izio Sarri, also have 100 per­cent record af­ter four games and will rel­ish a home clash against Cardiff City.

While Liver­pool’s out­lay on new play­ers has, so far, proved ben­e­fi­cial, the same can­not be said of bot­tom of the log West Ham United.

The Lon­don club bol­stered their squad with nearly £100m worth of new sign­ings for in­com­ing man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini, but are point­less af­ter four games.

Things do not get any eas­ier ei­ther with West Ham away to Everton on Sun­day. – Reuters

VIR­GIL VAN DIJK has added de­fen­sive so­lid­ity to Liver­pool since he joined the club. | Back­pagePix

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