Tricky Spurs test for Liverpool

Tottenham’s James Maddison (left) and Son Heung-min will be aiming to upset Liverpool when they visit London today. — Reuters

LIVERPOOL and Tottenham have both had good starts in the new campaign, and both will be bent on continuing that form at the expense of the other when they clash in London today.

Visitors Liverpool in today’s later kick-off are second in the standings behind champions Manchester City, trailing by two points.

The home team are fourth by virtue of goal difference but remain unbeaten in the league. They’ve drawn two games, which has left them four points off the top.

The London derby at Arsenal last weekend was a game that Ange Postecoglou and his charges will feel they should have won, having twice led. On both occasions, the Gunners found a way back to salvage a deserved draw.

Against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, Spurs might want to remember that even if they do lead against the Anfield side today, they could well end up losing.

Liverpool have fallen behind in no fewer than five matches across all competitions this season and then somehow fought back to win.

The latest episode of this was the 3-1 triumph over Championship outfit Lecester City in the Carabao League Cup in midweek.

Of course, Klopp, who has rightly commended their spirited fightbacks, will also know that this modus operandi is definitely not the way to do things, more so if they harbour serious ambitions of toppling City. That bubble will surely burst, and it is more likely to be a case of sooner rather than later, should they continue the trend.

But what really excites fans and purists alike is that Liverpool have been scoring quite freely.

A peek at their stats shows that they have scored three goals in each of their last seven matches, barring one — the 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the end of last month, when again they came from behind to secure victory.

The front three of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah are as entertaining a combination as any attack in Europe.

And with Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo serving as impact strikers, Klopp’s marauding forwards could yet prove their greatest asset as they look to put their dismal campaign of last season well and truly behind them and turn the page in a bid to add another league title to the one they last won in 2020.

It’s a given that the Reds need to sharpen up at the back, where they have goalkeeper Alisson Becker to thank. He has been outstanding by some measure.

Liverpool’s midfield is really finding form.

It looked in disarray when Jordan Henderson and Fabiano departed for Saudi Arabia on the eve of the start of the season, and with James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita having exited earlier.

Now, Alexis Mac Allister and in particular Dominik Szoboszlai have been exceptional, to put it mildly. More of the same will be called for by Klopp when they make the journey to the English capital today.

Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Ben Doak as well as new signings Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo, who are being gradually involved in the first team, have made notable contributions.

This all adds up to a formidable-looking squad, which some say has the capacity to stretch Manchester City in the tussle for the crown.

The jury is still out on that take.

Spurs will be geared to prove that they too should be included in the narrative for the title.

Under the stewardship of Postecoglou, Tottenham certainly look a lot more organised than they have in the last 24 months.

Even without the scoring prowess of Harry Kane, who joined German champions Bayern Munich in the off-season, Spur look more than capable of putting the Reds to the sword.

Indeed, success-starved Tottenham will almost surely play to avoid defeat, rather than attempt to upset the Reds.

The return from injury, though, of James Maddison, and a good start to the new season by South Korean striker Heung-Min Son is welcome news for Tottenham, and Liverpool might yet find this a tougher fixture than many folks think it will be.

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