Jurgen Klopp‘s men have a 100 percent record so far and sit top of the table, where they hope to stay all season long. On paper this should be a comfortable home win for the Reds but Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle have already won on the road at Tottenham Hotspur this season and will sit back, soak up pressure and look to hit Liverpool on the counter.
In team news Liverpool are still without goalkeeper Alisson, while Naby Keita has returned to training but won’t be ready to play this weekend.
Klopp on Alisson’s calf injury: “Funnily enough, we had lunch together [just now]; he looks good and he is improving, but we cannot put any pressure on it. It was a really serious injury in the calf. It is now much better, of course, and that’s good for us and good for him, but we don’t know exactly [how long it will be]. The target was always after the next international break [that] he could be ready, but we don’t know. So, as I said, there is no pressure and hopefully everything will be fine for the rest of the season, that’s the plan.”
Steve Bruce on facing Liverpool: “They have been together for a couple of years. The core are really really honest and a genuine group of players. When you’ve got that, you’re capable of doing anything. Let’s go and have a crack and enjoy the occasion and see if we can pull off a shock.”
Liverpool may chop and change a few players due to their UEFA Champions League game at Napoli on Tuesday, but Klopp will be focused that his side continue their great start to the season. This should be an easy home win. I’m going for 3-0, and more importantly I think Mohamed Salah will pass to Sadio Mane…
Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.
Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.
Man of the Match: Joelinton
Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.
Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.
Half of the Premier League’s teams — yes, 10 of them — have 1-1-1 records after three match days, though not all are created equal.
For example, baffling VAR decisions. Manchester United can feel righteously aggrieved to not have at least six points. Spurs got huge VAR help to draw Man City but could’ve snared a point from Newcastle (yeah, that happened) should a penalty decision have went their way.
Sheffield United and Bournemouth drew each other and beat poor sides at home.
And what in the world do you make of Wolves, who have three draws but have been clobbered by early season qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
Green: New season-high ranking Red: New season-low
20. Watford — The Pozzo family doesn’t mind changing bosses and, fair or not (it isn’t), Javi Gracia may find himself unemployed without a win at Newcastle next week. Fortunately, they are playing Newcastle. Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-3 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United
19. Newcastle United — Beat Tottenham and only move up one spot? Unfortunately, while the Magpies were gritty against Spurs and the win should not be discounted entirely, they hemorrhaged possession aside from the 15-pass sequence that led to Joelinton‘s first goal for the Toon. A fine moment for embattled Steve Bruce, but still so much work to do. Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford
18. Crystal Palace — Credit that wonderful play at the end of the match for a remarkable and historic win over Manchester United, but Palace is still getting little out of WilfriedZaha and probably should’ve lost by 3 or 4 goals before David De Gea fumbled away a point for the hosts. And we can’t jump them above a Sheffield United side which dominated them in Week 2. Last week: 18 Season high: 18
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa
17. Bournemouth — Probably better than their 17th place status, but the Cherries have a draw against Sheffield United and a win over Aston Villa in which they were controlled after a wobbly opening. Too good to stay this low, but justifiably 17th. Last week: 14
Season high: 14 Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City
16. Sheffield United — The scrappy Blades are following the Sean Dyche at Burnley model, and weren’t able to get a point at home despite a brave effort against Leicester. Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea
15. Norwich City — Daniel Farke‘s men are going to bring us entertainment, and we’ll get another clue of their place in the league when they visit dangerous but another dangerous attack in West Ham. Last week: 12
Season high: 12
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-3 v. Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United
14. Brighton and Hove Albion — We gave the Seagulls a mulligan for the West Ham draw, but cannot look past this week’s loss to Southampton. Saints are a good side, but a 2-0 loss at home and a reckless red card do not make friends amongst the power rankers. Last week: 6
Season high: 5 Season low: 14 Last match: Lost 0-2 v. Southampton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City
13. Southampton — A Danny Ings flick away from giving us 11 teams with a 1-1-1-1 record, Saints earned this week’s win and will relish it coming via a nice showing from Moussa Djenepo. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 19 Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United
12. West Ham United — Sebastien Haller looked every bit the versatile star center forward, able to set-up, hold-up, and finish. We already knew Felipe Anderson was the truth. Now can Manuel Pellegrini find consistency in this bunch? Last week: 17 Season high: 12 Season low: 18 Last match: Won 3-1 at Watford Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City
11. Everton — The performance at Villa is the kind that has been taking Everton out of the Top Six discussion during the Marco Silva era (and well before it, really). Huge test Sunday before an international break which could find Silva feeling plenty hot under the collar. Last week: 8
Season high: 8 Season low: 11 Last match: Lost 0-2 at Aston Villa Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves
10. Aston Villa — The Villans are looking more like a side which never left the Premier League than a newly-promoted one. Dean Smith deserves PL Manager of the Month honors if he’s able to get a result at Palace and skate into the break at a mid table pace. Last week: 15
Season high: 8 Season low: 15 Last match: Won 2-0 v. Everton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace
9. Chelsea — Just not buying it yet, are we? Mason Mount looks a legit force, Tammy Abraham is showing flashes, and Christian Pulisic is doing well enough, but who is the star that will consistently make the difference, let alone against the big boys? Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 12 Last match: Won 3-2 at Norwich City Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United
8. Wolves — Three draws from three matches, and just barely got a point off of Burnley, but the performances have come while waylaid with Europa League duties including an unfriendly match against Torino on Thursday (Who they absolutely handled). Nuno’s got it simmering. Last week: 7
Season high: 7 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton
7. Spurs — Dominant again against Newcastle despite an injury to key man Tanguy Ndombele, and simply unfortunate to not get a point, but there are so many questions for Mauricio Pochettino. If you’re going to risk Christian Eriksen, why not start him? If you don’t have an answer at right back, why not play a back three instead of keeping Jan flipping Vertonghen on the bench? Last week: 2
Season high: 2 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 0-1 v. Newcastle United Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal
6. Man Utd — We watched the Palace loss, and still can’t quite believe our eyes. The Red Devils are so much better than 1-1-1, but that and a friendly pour at the pub will give you a headache and a 1-1-1 record. Now start Juan Mata over Jesse Lingard and thank me later. Last week: 5
Season high: 2 Season low: 6 Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Crystal Palace Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton
5. Burnley — They aren’t doing this again, are they? The Clarets struggled last season with Europa League schedule congestion, but finished in the Top Seven the last time they only had to focus on the league. A silly Erik Pieters challenge away from third place in our rankings. Last week: 9 Season high: 5 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool
4. Arsenal — Don’t give them too much credit for producing three terrific chances against Liverpool — that’s what’s keeping Liverpool out of 1st this week. The questions about the defense remain real, but Nicolas Pepe is going to be a delight once he finds his finishing boots. Last week: 4
Season high: 4 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 1-3 at Liverpool Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham
3. Leicester City — There’s a bit of “by default” to this ranking, but the Foxes have drawn Wolves and picked up a point away to Chelsea. The win at Sheffield United wasn’t a ballot-box stuffer by any means, but Brendan Rodgers‘ men did what Manchester United sand Spurs could not this weekend in beating a probable relegation scrapper.
Last week: 10 Season high: 3 Season low: 10 Last match: Won 2-1 at Sheffield United Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth
2. Liverpool — The Reds are 3-0, champions of Europe, and a pleasure for the eyes. Their defense remains a problem, and Jurgen Klopp‘s crew has given up more big chances from open play than anyone would deem functional for a title squad. Last week: 3
Season high: 2 Season low: 3 Last match: Won 3-1 v. Arsenal Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley
Manchester City — The only way to score on City is through set pieces, and the only way to stop them is locking them out of the stadium. Last week: 1
Season high: 1 Season low: 1 Last match: Won 3-1 at Bournemouth Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton
Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.
We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.
Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.
Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.
Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.
But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.
Newcastle entered the game at 0-2, while Spurs fall to 1-1-1 on the season. The Magpies host Watford next week, while Spurs are off to Arsenal.
Record signing comes good — Newcastle United smashed its transfer record to sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim, and the Brazilian was decent but without end product in the first two matches of the season. He wasn’t clinical on Sunday — he could’ve scored two or three — but the Brazilian gave Newcastle the early goal it needed for hope of points in North London.
Pochettino outfoxes himself — Look, you either start Christian Eriksen or you don’t dress him. He’s one of the best playmakers in the world, and if you’re protecting him from injury to maximize whatever bid will come from La Liga or Serie A, then fine. But if you’re not, then you put that wizard on the pitch and get yourself the three points.
VAR continues its madness — It’s almost as if Video Assistant Referee’s goal is to prove the technology shouldn’t have been implemented. Harry Kane might’ve embellished by moving onto the path of Jamaal Lascelles‘ launch toward him, but VAR not finding a penalty out of the matter was absolutely shocking.
Man of the Match: Sean Longstaff. The Newcastle youngster looked a lot like the prospect being courted by Manchester United than he did in Week One (He did not start Wk2).
The chances were all over the place in the first half, most of them for Tottenham, but Newcastle converted one of what were probably the two best between both teams.
Sean Longstaff had earned a corner for Newcastle through a hard strike well-saved by Hugo Lloris, and Newcastle’s next best effort ended up in the goal.
A 15-pass sequence saw Joelinton register his first Premier League goal when Christian Atsu picked him out between Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez and the Brazilian record signing slotted past Lloris.
The Magpies were barely in the Spurs’ third after that, the remainder of the first session looking a lot like Spurs’ match versus Aston Villa on Opening Day.