Amid much anticipation and intrigue, Jurgen Klopp begins his Liverpool reign on Saturday at White Hart Lane, where in-form Tottenham will provide testing opposition as the Premier League resumes following the international break.
The hosts saw their three-game winning streak in the league come to an end at Swansea City last time out, but they still produced a strong performance, having the better of proceedings for long periods and only having two fine Christian Eriksen free-kicks to show for it. The Dane came to the fore again after an injury-hit start to the season, and if he can maintain that kind of form Spurs are more likely to prosper and make more of a sustained challenge for a top four spot.
A comical own goal from Harry Kane was a slice of bad luck for a side which has looked more resilient in defence in recent weeks, with the all-Belgian combination of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen beginning to have the desired effect. Here, they will face something of an unknown quantity, as it is unclear how Klopp will set his team up, but the victory over leaders Manchester City ensures that they will not be overawed coming into this fascinating clash.
Despite coming under significant pressure during the final few months of his Liverpool tenure, the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers still came as a bit of a surprise given its timing – just hours after a Merseyside derby draw at Everton. While they avoided defeat on the day, it was an overwhelmingly scrappy affair which did not get the best out of the Reds, something that the Northern Irishman had failed to do for some time.
Klopp is highly respected and his appointment was swift, but he will make considerable changes at Anfield to a squad which, frankly, is neither good enough nor consistent enough to fight for major honours. The recruitment policy has to be better, although there is quality to be found at the club. The German’s first starting XI will be a subject of interest, as it remains to be seen which formation he will adopt, and whether he will field a second striker to play alongside Daniel Sturridge.
Danny Rose is back for Tottenham following a hand injury, but Son Heung-min, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason are still on the sidelines. Elsewhere, Eric Dier is suspended after picking up five yellow cards.
In-form Danny Ings is set to miss the rest of the season for Liverpool along with defender Joe Gomez after they both sustained serious knee injuries during the week. Captain Jordan Henderson, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino are also out of the reckoning.
Last Meeting: Liverpool saved their better displays of last season for matches against Tottenham, winning 3-0 in North London in August 2014. Mario Balotelli made his debut and failed to convert any of his numerous chances, but luckily for him Raheem Sterling scored at the far post, before a second half penalty from Steven Gerrard and an excellent solo goal from Alberto Moreno gave his team a one-sided victory.
Played for both – Christian Ziege: Liverpool brought the Germany international to Anfield in 2000, but only stayed for a season as he was hampered by a knee injury, finishing with a single goal in 16 league games. He moved on to Tottenham and showed his many qualities there over three years, finding the net seven times in 47 Premier League appearances.
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