Arguably the most anticipated of this weekend’s games, Tottenham vs. Liverpool is the first time fans get to see Jurgen Klopp in the dugout. The unfortunate news that Joe Gomez and Danny Ings are out for the season is a big blow for the Reds, while there are also question marks over the fitness of several Spurs players including Ryan Mason and Heung-Min Son. Will Liverpool receive the traditional first game boost after a new manager—or will the fine form of Tottenham be enough to win a fixture they have lost so heavily in recent years?
One player who stands to benefit from Klopp’s appointment is defender Sakho. Often overlooked by Brendan Rodgers in favour of expensive mistake Dejan Lovren, the French international is arguably the best central defender Liverpool have. He made just 17 appearances last season and has only appeared 3 times in the league so far this time around. There is the sense around Anfield that this player has the potential to be really excellent, and his selection will say a lot about his manager.
After mixed performances so far this season (punctuated by injury), Eriksen is back with a bang—two superb free-kicks earned Spurs a well-deserved point at Swansea in their last match. The first bent around the wall with Fabianski unsighted, but the second curled into the top corner and left the Swans’ keeper with no chance. Liverpool may want to impress their new manager with attacking prowess, but if their defenders don’t keep Eriksen on a tight leash he is sure to punish them for it. Last season much was made of the partnership between the Dane and Kane, and if they can get clicking again expect to see more goals from Tottenham.
Danny Ings Daniel Sturridge
The ex-Burnley striker has shown in his recent performances that he should have played every game for Rodgers this season. When he’s been on the field Ings has been tenacious, inventive and direct—something the Reds have been crying out for. And now he’s injured, possibly out for the rest of the season—a crying shame for a burgeoning talent. Sturridge now has more responsibility than ever, and with Benteke and Firmino likely to miss the trip to North London the Englishman will have to bring his A game.
Honourable mention for this match goes to the scintillating Dele Alli, who is going from strength to strength—and now a full England international to boot. Alongside Eric Dier in the heart of midfield, the ex-MK Dons youngster looks completely at ease. It’s as if he is unaware of the pressure or tension, and plays with a refreshing freedom and verve (happy to nutmeg players at any level!). Tottenham and England are very lucky to have this boy.