- Liverpool: 1st place, 12/12 points
- Tottenham: 5th place, 9/12 points
- Spurs won at home (4-1), drew away (2-2) last season
Last season’s third- and fourth-place finishers square off at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, in the biggest clash (thus far) of the still-young Premier League season.
Tottenham Hotspur will be without two of their most important, influential players — Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli — due to injuries when Mauricio Pochettino‘s side hosts Liverpool (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Tottenham will, however, receive a massive boost in the form of Son Heung-min, who returns after missing the last three games due to international duty. Spurs managed quite well during Son’s absence, as Lucas Moura won PL Player of the Month for August, yet a sour taste in the mouth remains after suffering defeat for the first time this season just before the international break, away to Watford two weeks ago.
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Liverpool, on the other hand, are yet to drop a point this season. Having conceded just one goal in four games, the side typically known for its attacking tendencies suddenly appears to have rounded itself into even healthier title-contending shape. That goal came last time out, against Leicester City, when Alisson‘s desire to play the ball out of the back quickly turned into a nightmare, yet it hugely undermines how good he has been through four games and how much stability he has brought to a long-troubled position already. Fortunately for the Reds, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have picked up right where they left off, racking up seven goals and three assists between them already.
What they’re saying
Pochettino, on Lloris staying on as captain after his DUI: “Of course, [he was] lucky there were no [tragic] consequence — that is important. … He is very conscious about what happened and you cannot remove it. But he has the capacity to move on and be focused on playing football. … He apologized to everyone — the staff, the club, the fans, us. He said, ‘Any decision that you take, gaffer, or the club take, I think is fair.’ … Will he stay as captain? Of course. He is the first to regret about everything. He is punishing himself. We are not God and we cannot judge people. He said, ‘Gaffer, I made a mistake. Now I need to pay like a man.'”
Klopp, on the need to rotate ahead of a busy period: “Of course we have to [rotate]. We go to the next game and then see. You always try to have your best team, but it’s clear with the number of games we have, we have to rotate. It feels like we’ve got 500 games [coming up]. When you have a lot of players you can make decisions, good decisions. It’s a luxury problem to have.”
Liverpool grab an early goal, forcing Spurs to chase the game more than they’d like to do, presenting Liverpool ample opportunity for a second and third. The Reds stay perfect.