This weekend we’re set to see not only the third meeting between Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp, but Tottenham’s first fixture of the season against a team that figures to be competing with them in the race for the top four. For their part, Liverpool will be facing their second Champions League rival in three weeks and even making their second trip to North London in that time after beating Arsenal 4-3 opening weekend.
Pay special attention to the midfield battle tomorrow. If Liverpool retains the same XI from last weekend, we’ll see the Reds in a 4-3-3 in which the midfield trio is a box-to-box midfielder and two attacking midfielders. And they’re likely to be up against a team playing a 4-2-3-1 with two defensive midfielders as Spurs figure to keep the Dier-Wanyama tandem for another week with Mousa Dembele still suspended.
If Liverpool is able to force a frantic, on-the-edge pace to the game, their attacking numbers could overwhelm Spurs as they will have Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum making runs from deep as some combination of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Phillipe Coutinho, and Daniel Sturridge buzz around the attacking third. It’s a lot to track, as Arsenal learned the hard way on opening weekend.
That said, Klopp’s men won’t be facing Arsenal’s fourth and fifth choice center halves and a mostly poor central midfield. They’ll be facing the best center half pair in the Premier League plus two capable defensive midfielders shielding the back line. If the Liverpool attack breaks against the Spurs defense, as it well might, it’s not hard to imagine Spurs having a lot of joy launching quick, counter-attacks this weekend cutting through the heart of Liverpool’s mostly porous midfield.
The other possibility, of course, is that Klopp would adopt a more conservative midfield setup and bench Lallana or Wijnaldum. But if he would play a Henderson-Lallana-Wijnaldum midfield at the Emirates I don’t see any reason to think he’d be scared to do the same at White Hart Lane.
One other story to watch: Alberto Moreno is awful. If Erik Lamela is played on the right (please play him on the right, Poche), it could get ugly for Liverpool.
NOTE: Emre Can and Divock Origi are both doubtful for Liverpool this weekend.
On to the links:
Sometimes people do strange things:
Danny Drinkwater signs five-year extension to stay with Leicester City.
Don’t miss the mothership’s coverage of yesterday’s Champions League draw.