Jordan Henderson

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Spurs duo Kane, Winks out for England’s upcoming friendlies

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The Three Lions are already down one Tottenham star heading into their upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil, but Gareth Southgate will have to adapt without two more Spurs players.

[ MORE: Swansea’s Makelele takes job managing Belgian side Eupen ]

Harry Kane and Harry Winks have both been ruled out for the matches after picking up slight injuries during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Tottenham won’t run the risk of Kane re-injuring himself, after previously having a hamstring problem, while Winks suffered an ankle injury against Palace.

The Spurs players join Dele Alli as contributors that won’t be at Southgate’s disposal, which has prompted the England manager to call up West Bromwich Albion midfielder Jake Livermore.

Additionally, Southgate is waiting on the status of Gary Cahill and Jordan Henderson — both of whom are looking to gain fitness ahead of England’s important fixtures.

Watch Live: West Ham vs. Liverpool

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With a pair of intra-top end battles coming Sunday, Liverpool hopes a trip to West Ham can help them close ground (Watch live at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Jordan Henderson misses out for Liverpool, though Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum both passed fitness tests. Ragnar Klavan starts over Dejan Lovren with Joel Matip.

The Irons have Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez up top, and leave big money signing Marko Arnautovic on the bench.

LINEUPS

West Ham: Hart, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Reid, Fernandes, Obiang, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Ayew, Chicharito. Subs: Adrian, Rice, Masuaku, Haksabanovic, Arnautovic, Carroll, Sakho.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno, Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Milner, Grujic, Sturridge, Solanke.

Tactics Session: Liverpool’s midfield to blame for poor defending, too

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Here’s something said by anyone and everyone who’s watched an hour of the Premier League over the last 24 months: Liverpool won’t win the PL title until Jurgen Klopp sorts out that shambolic defense.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City’s historic start; Man United, Arsenal win ]

Well, duh, and thanks for really going out on a limb with that one.

On Saturday, NBC Sports’ Robbie Earle went error-by-error in picking apart one of the Reds’ many defensive breakdowns (above video) during last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. In short, Dejan Lovern, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Simon Mignolet were all guilty of critical errors as Harry Kane opened the scoring after just four minutes. There’s another group of players, though, which is worth considering as opponents continue to pick Liverpool apart on a near-weekly basis.

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Theory: it’s actually Liverpool’s midfield which is most responsible for this season’s repeated disasters at the back. The results are as poor as they’ve ever been under Klopp — they had the worst defensive record of the PL’s “big six” sides during Klopp’s first (partial) season at Anfield, followed by the second-worst of the six last season, and are sixth out of six thus far in 2017-18 — with little reason to expect significant change as the defensive characters remain the same. When called upon in 2016-17, again, it was simply more of the same.

The key difference being: they were better protected, thus forced into action less frequently, in the past. Whether by design or happenstance, the midfield and forward lines aren’t disrupting possession and winning the ball back as consistently as previous iterations of Klopp’s old gegenpress system. Most notably, it’s the early moments (first five seconds, or three passes) of opposition possession which haven’t been challenged with that familiar urgency.

[ MORE: England top Spain, win U-17 World Cup ]

Take, for instance, that loss to Tottenham — while Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Emre Can are probably the three most “defensive” midfield options in Klopp’s squad, they’re also the three least mobile and press-suited. Georginio Wijnaldum is often labeled an “attacking” midfielder, that what makes him perfectly suited for the transition from pressing to attacking. The same goes for Adam Lallana, who’s currently injured and gutting this side through his absence. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, should he ultimately end up in central midfield, is very similar in that regard. Marko Grujic, while still a relative PL unknown, profiles better as a central midfielder than the three who started at Wembley Stadium.

Without that constant on-ball pressure, Mauricio Pochettino was inspired in his tactical tweak to feature Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in a pass-heavy midfield-three, as the three on-ball technicians were able to play through the middle third of the field with very little resistance and get at the likes of Lovren, Matip and Gomez more directly. The return of starting right back Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring), who hasn’t played a minute this season, will undoubtedly add a bit more mobility and athleticism to an otherwise plodding rearguard.

It’s a trend that, should it continue, will result in more and more — and easier and easier — goals conceded by the Reds.

Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield: Reds ease to victory

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  • Liverpool secure first win in four
  • Lossl saves PK
  • Sturridge, Firmino, Wijnaldum score goals

Liverpool beat Huddersfield 3-0 at Anfield on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp got the better of his best friend David Wagner in the opposition dugout.

After Jonas Lossl saved Mohamed Salah‘s first half penalty kick it looked like it would be another afternoon of frustration for Liverpool but in the second half they ease to victory with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum.

With the win Liverpool move up to sixth place and have 16 points, while Huddersfield remain on 12 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool were dealt a blow before the game had even kicked off with Dejan Lovren injured in the warm up and Ragnar Klavan coming in to replace him.

The Reds dominated possession in the first half with Daniel Sturridge going close at the back post but then Klopp’s men were handed a glorious chance to take the lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

A free kick into the box found saw Tommy Smith penalized for pulling Roberto Firmino’s shirt as referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot with no real protests from Liverpool’s players.

However, Salah’s penalty kick was saved well by Jonas Lossl and Jordan Henderson‘s follow up hit the post and went wide. Huddersfield were happy to go in level at the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

Moments after the break Liverpool got the goal their pressure deserved as a long ball forward found its way to Sturridge and he kept his cool to slot home. 1-0 to Liverpool.

The home side settled down after the opening goal and soon doubled their lead.

Mathias Jorgensen somehow cleared for a corner just as Sturridge was about to tap home but from the resulting corner Firmino nodded home and then preceded to stumble around in a bizarre celebration. 2-0.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lossl then made a fine save as Salah turned his man and curled a shot towards the bottom corner but Huddersfield’s goalkeeper did extremely well to deny him.

Wijnaldum scored a beauty to finish things off as the Dutch midfielder danced free of Huddersfield’s defense and slammed home. 3-0. Job done.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Liverpool: Spurs superb at Wembley

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  • Spurs up 2-0 after 12 minutes
  • Salah pulls one back
  • Lovren struggles, subbed after 31
  • Kane with four brace of season

Tottenham Hotspur ran all over visiting Liverpool on Sunday, riding another star turn from Harry Kane to a 4-1 win at Wembley Stadium.

The win boosts Spurs level with second place Manchester United on points, and slips Liverpool ninth behind Burnley on goal differential. The Reds are three points back of the Top Four.

Kane scored twice, and assisted Heung-Min Son‘s goal. Dele Alli added the fourth in the second half, while Mohamed Salah continued his sparkling season with a goal for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was 1-0 early, as Kane cut into the center of the attacking third and took advantage of a Dejan Lovren error (prepare for a lot more of that term, sans first name) to hit a left-footed shot into the goal.

It was 2-0 when Lovren leapt to meet a Hugo Lloris clearance and… totally missed it. This Lovren error sprung Kane, who was patient with his dribble and snapped a pass to Son to make it 2-0.

Salah made it 2-1 when Jordan Henderson spied his back post run and his a diagonal ball. Salah put it by an unusually out-of-sorts Hugo Lloris.

Son had a good chance to restore the two-goal lead when he raced past Lovren, but Mignolet blocked his shot and collected a rebound off Lovren’s body.

Lovren left the match in the 32nd minute for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That barely stemmed the flow, as Dele was alone to collect and deposit Joel Matip’s attempted clearance of a Christian Eriksen stoppage time free kick.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Perhaps a riot act was read, because Liverpool came hot out of the second half gates. Spurs dealt with havoc in the first 120 seconds.

Kane made it 4-1 in the 56th minute, off a free kick. Mignolet collided with Matip while trying to collect an Eriksen free kick, then Roberto Firmino blocked a Jan Vertonghen shot off the line before Kane lashed in the third crack.

Follow @NicholasMendola