In-form Liver­pool set to get first real test of cam­paign

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport -

A per­fect start from their open­ing four games has raised ex­pec­ta­tions over Liver­pool’s ti­tle cre­den­tials, but Jur­gen Klopp’s men face their first se­ri­ous test of the Premier League cam­paign at Tot­ten­ham on Satur­day.

After dis­miss­ing West Ham 4-0 on the open­ing week­end of the sea­son, Liver­pool have had to show a more re­silient approach in nar­row vic­to­ries over Crys­tal Palace, Brighton and Le­ices­ter, com­pared with the freescor­ing side that romped to the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal last sea­son.

The only goal the Reds have con­ceded so far this term came from a howler by £65m (R1.2bn) goal­keeper Alis­son Becker in try­ing to drib­ble his way out of trou­ble at Le­ices­ter.

The in­stal­la­tion of Joe Gomez along­side Vir­gil van Dijk at cen­tre-back, al­lied to the con­tin­ued im­prove­ment of young full-backs Andrew Robert­son and Trent Alexan­derArnold and the ad­di­tion of Alis­son, makes the cur­rent Liver­pool de­fence far harder to breach than on their last visit to Wem­b­ley.

Harry Kane ran riot back then in Oc­to­ber last year, scor­ing twice and forc­ing Klopp to sub­sti­tute De­jan Lovren after just 30 min­utes as Spurs cruised to a 4-1 win.

Kane will be keen to get back among the goals with lin­ger­ing ques­tions over his earl­y­sea­son form and fit­ness in a World Cup hang­over since pick­ing up the Golden Boot in Rus­sia.

And there will be even more re­spon­si­bil­ity on Kane’s shoul­ders with cap­tain Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli ruled out in­jured.

De­feat at Wat­ford just be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break punc­tured Spurs’ own push to be con­sid­ered ti­tle con­tenders.

But vic­tory will take them level with Liver­pool at the top of the ta­ble for at least a few hours be­fore other front-run­ners Chelsea, Wat­ford and Manch­ester City are in ac­tion later on Satur­day.

Wat­ford are the early sur­prise pack­age of the sea­son thanks to four straight wins to stand along­side pace-set­ters Liver­pool and Chelsea.

United got back on track with a com­fort­able win at Burn­ley be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break to calm the storm around Jose Mour­inho’s fu­ture.

But should Mour­inho’s men suf­fer a third de­feat in five league games, the chances of catch­ing the likes of Liver­pool and City would al­ready look for­lorn.

At the other end of the ta­ble, West Ham re­main the only side with­out a point after four games de­spite a huge trans­fer spend of nearly £100m (R1.95bn) over the sum­mer.

Manuel Pel­le­grini is now the favourite to be the first Premier League man­ager of the sea­son to be sacked and his odds will only shorten if he fails to in­spire a re­sponse away to Ever­ton on Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.