Saturday 17th October – 12:45 – White Hart Lane
Jurgen Klopp will take charge of his first ever game as Liverpool manager in this weekend’s Saturday lunchtime game against Tottenham. Following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, the former Borussia Dortmund boss was swiftly appointed and will be looking to get off to the best possible in the Premier League. Before the international break, the Reds drew 1-1 to Everton in the Merseyside derby which led to the dismissal of Rodgers, meaning Klopp has the task of improving on their current standing of tenth place – three points off the top four. Their hosts Tottenham are just ahead of them in eighth after drawing their last game 2-2 at Swansea City, a brace of free-kicks from Christian Eriksen earning a point in South Wales. Both The Reds and Spurs have Europa League games this Thursday, but which fixture will take priority in the minds of Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino?
- Spurs expect to have left-back Danny Rose (thumb/wrist) back, but Pochettino will be without midfielders Ryan Mason (knee) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle/foot).
- Meanwhile, striker Heung-Min Son is still suffering with a foot problem and midfielder Eric Dier is suspended for the visit of the Reds.
- It means that Moussa Dembele is likely to start alongside Dele Alli in defensive midfield, with Tom Carroll being the only other option in that position.
- Fans will be hopeful that key playmaker Philippe Coutinho will have recovered in time from the groin injury that forced him to pull out of Brazil’s recent World Cup qualifiers with Chile and Venezuela.
- However, the visitors will not have Christian Benteke (hamstring), Dejan Lovren (ankle/foot) or Roberto Firmino (back) available, although the trio are all close to a return to training.
- Jurgen Klopp will also be missing captain Jordan Henderson, as well as Joe Gomez, Danny Ings and Jon Flanagan, who are all suffering with long-term knee injuries.
The Key Battle: Dele Alli vs Philippe Coutinho
I don’t many people expected Dele Alli to have as a much of an impact straight away at Tottenham this season following his move from MK Dons.
The 19 year old is thriving in the Premier League after being given the opportunity due injuries to players such as Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb. His performances even earned him an England call-up, and Alli made his debut for the Three Lions against Estonia last week just a month after featuring for the Under 21s for the first time.
He comes up against one of the best attacking midfielders in the league, Philippe Coutinho, but the Brazilian is yet to hit the heights of last season, when he earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Since his opening day long ranger at Stoke City, his form has been slightly inconsistent, but he remains Liverpool’s biggest creative threat.
Coutinho is someone who is sure to thrive under Klopp’s management, and being deployed as a No. 10 in the aforementioned 4-2-3-1 is perfect in getting the very best out of him.
Tottenham wins = 44 / Liverpool wins = 68 / Draws = 36
*According to http://www.lfconline.com
Last Meeting: Liverpool 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur (10th February 2015)
Mario Balotelli’s first Premier League goal for Liverpool gave them a crucial victory in the fight for a Premier League top-four place in a thrilling game at Anfield. Liverpool led twice only to be pegged back by Spurs before Balotelli, on as a substitute for Daniel Sturridge, turned in Adam Lallana’s cross with seven minutes left. Lazar Markovic gave Liverpool an early lead but man-of-the-moment Harry Kane was on the mark again to swiftly equalise for Spurs with his 23rd goal of an outstanding season. Steven Gerrard’s penalty just after half-time restored Liverpool’s lead but Mousa Dembele levelled again before the decisive late intervention from the Italy striker. [BBC]
Mauricio Pochettino: “He [Klopp] is a great manager… he has a clear idea of how to play. I think he’s very good for the Premier League. He impressed us with his job at Dortmund. We wish him all the best after Saturday!”
Jurgen Klopp: “Let’s run and fight and shoot and defend together and attack together – like football looks like in your best dream. It’s braveness we need in football, the braveness to make faults.”
The Referee – Craig Pawson
- Last Premier League game: Leicester City 2-5 Arsenal (26th September 2015) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Tottenham Hotspur game: Sunderland 0-1 Tottenham (13th September 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Liverpool game: Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth (17th August 2015) – 5 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
Victory would see Liverpool record six consecutive league wins against Tottenham for the first time in their history.
Where can I watch it?
As with all the lunchtime kick-offs, BT Sport 1 are showing this match live, with coverage beginning at 12pm and kick-off 45 minutes later. Alternatively, you can watch the highlights on BBC One’s Match of the Day on Saturday evening at 10:30pm.
My Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Liverpool
Tottenham may be at home and in good form, but I think that Jurgen Klopp will have an impact straight away with the Liverpool side and the visitors will win a tight game in North London 2-1. Two goals from Daniel Sturridge will put the Reds ahead before Nacer Chadli pulls one back for Spurs but it won’t be enough…