Both sides are tipped as genuine contenders, although the weight of the money and expectation is on Jurgen Klopp's side after a summer of transfer largesse at Anfield. Across the season that prediction seems likely to play out — but these mouth-watering individual clashes demonstrate just how tightly fought the competition is between those at the top.
Tottenham vs Liverpool is live on SBS from 9.30pm on Saturday.
On the face of it, Liverpool look the stronger — the visitors top the table after an unbeaten start to the season, scoring nine in four games and, importantly, conceding just once, marking a dramatic improvement in the area that has so often been the club's downfall.
Those opening four games, however, haven't come easy — other than the opening day stroll against an embarrassing West Ham. Victories over Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester were all hard-fought and somewhat fortunate.
Reds fans would have it that ugly wins against mid-table opposition shows the team is actually moving in the right direction, given such results saw them scrape into fourth place last season, despite all the headlines surrounding Mohamed Salah.
But this season's opening games have also been marked by a post-World Cup sluggishness from key performers, with Roberto Firmino so far yet to find the spark that makes him such a key part of the Reds' attack. A midweek trip to South America for the international break wouldn't help — although Klopp's Brazilian contingent were rested by the Selecao.
Now we turn to Spurs — and we can almost mirror the above.
Harry Kane has also been suffering a certain malaise after his Golden Boot exploits in Russia but the Spurs striker was rested by England coach Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions' midweek friendly against Switzerland.
The 25-year-old has started a whopping 61 games since the start of last season. And while two goals in four games doesn't appear to show any hangover, his performances have been sluggish so far.
But Spurs have scored nine goals so far, suggesting the team is no longer quite as reliant on Kane, with Lucas Moura's double in the 3-0 win over Manchester United a particular highlight. If the Brazilian has settled in England after a quiet first six months — he was voted player of the month for August — a proper secondary striker to take the weight off Kane could be season-defining for Tottenham.
But all the razzle-dazzle over that Old Trafford victory disguised a performance that wasn't as complete as the result, a concern that coach Mauricio Pochettino voiced after the game — and unfortunately got handed back to him in a 2-1 defeat to Watford the following week.
That loss served as a warning — both of Watford's rise as this season's surprise package and that Tottenham simply cannot afford to take their foot off the gas if they want to stay in the race.
The sky blue shadow stretching from Manchester still dominates the Premier League and City are unbeaten, with 11 goals and not one conceded. And that's without Kevin de Bruyne.
After a lifeless transfer window, Tottenham don't boast the strength in depth of City or Liverpool and this fixture could raise a flag about Poch's concerns for their off-field business. Klopp spent big to fix Liverpool's weaknesses but Spurs must make do with what they've got.
They passed their first big test against United, only to fail the follow-up. Now Liverpool are under scrutiny, with a run of daunting fixtures (including Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli in the Champions league, Chelsea twice in the Carabao Cup then league, followed by a visit from champions and Manchester City) starting with this weekend's early kick-off. If they haven't blown out the cobwebs yet, the Reds could get caught napping like they did last time they visited Wembley.
Lloris cops big driving ban0:36
Premier League: Spurs captain Hugo Lloris has been hit with a 20 month driving suspension after a drink driving incident in August.
September 12th 2018
2 days ago
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Granted that 4-1 rout last October came largely as a result of Harry Kane turning over a dazed and confused Dejan Lovren — but with Lovren injured, Reds defender Joe Gomez could be the hinge on which this game swings.
The 20-year-old has been hugely impressive in his opening four games, quickly forming a strong partnership with the commanding Virgil van Dijk — neither of whom played in that last result. The pair are both tall and strong centrebacks, former fullback Gomez also possessing the pace to match many attackers. It would be a big surprise if Kane and co were able to torment the England youngster in the manner they did to Lovren.
Liverpool's much-improved defence offers a better foundation for their fluid attack, which is yet to hit top gear. Spurs defence have conceded to Newcastle, Fulham and Watford so far — although strangely, not Man United. If these smaller teams can find a way through, what will Liverpool's attacking weapons do? Particularly if the injury that kept first-choice keeper Hugo Lloris out of France's midweek friendly extends into the weekend.
And what of Salah, last season's goal machine? Unlike Kane, the Egyptian wasn't rested midweek — but he didn't need it, scoring two goals, assisting in two more and missing two penalties as Egypt beat Niger 6-0. It seems Salah's relatively slow start to the League season shouldn't be a concern to Liverpool fans.
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