Spurs game offers Klopp first chance to erase Liverpool top-six hoodoo
Can the Reds go and win at Wembley?
The Premier League roars back into action this weekend, and bursts from the shackles of the international break with a cracker between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
The Reds are entering their third full season under Jurgen Klopp, and have begun the season in style with four wins from four.
A serious and sustained Premier League challenge for the first time in five years is the aim, and so far they’re on target.
But a trip to Spurs represents Klopp and his side’s first major hurdle of the campaign. They’re 7/5 favourites to win at Wembley but the game has the potential to derail or accelerate Liverpool’s momentum.
Klopp’s top-six travel woes
Granted, Liverpool lost more points to Manchester City in their home games last season than they did on the road, but the Anfield outfit must improve their form in the big away games.
On their five visits to the rest of the established big-six last term, the Merseysiders collected a single point from a possible 15.
Their only point came in that fascinating but error-strewn 3-3 clash with Arsenal. City on the other hand, won four of their five games on the road.
If Liverpool are to push Pep Guardiola’s side all the way this season, they cannot afford to drop so many points in the big matches.
Liverpool conceded 15 goals in those five games, and a failure to learn from last season’s issues could prove to be Klopp’s undoing as he seeks to end the Reds’ 28-year title wait.
Win at Spurs and Liverpool can take their confidence levels up another notch. Lose and they could be in trouble with a trip to Chelsea still to come this month.
Hope is on the horizon
But there is reason to believe that Klopp and Liverpool are ready to make that step up.
The Reds have conceded just one goal so far this season. And even that only came from a rare howler by Alisson.
In reality, they’ve not conceded from true open play yet. And that’s not by chance. Klopp may just have solved Liverpool’s defensive issues at last.
The aforementioned Alisson has been brought in to provide quality behind the sticks. Man City’s acquisition of Ederson has shown what an impact the right stopper can make.
He’s looked the part so far (that Leicester moment aside) and he’s been helped by an ever-impressive partnership ahead of him in Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
The latter has been a revelation this term, since Klopp brought him in from right-back to centre-half. His performances have kept Dejan Lovren out of the team.
He’s formed a fine understanding with Van Dijk, and the pair share a composure and understanding of the game the likes of which Liverpool haven’t seen since Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz.
One by one Liverpool are putting the pieces in place. Now they must overcome last season’s failings, starting this Saturday against Tottenham.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing