The far-too-early international break out of the way, club football is back!
It’s only match week five in the Premier League, but there’s some cracking fixtures this weekend, all the way through to Monday night.
And there’ll be no easing into the weekend, either. The early Saturday kickoff looms as an intriguing early-season shaper, with top-of-the-table Liverpool making the trip to Wembley to take on Spurs.
The expected domination of Manchester City aside, these are two clubs tipped by many to be right at the pointy-end of the table come next May. Neither have done much to dissuade that view, with both remaining undefeated four weeks into the season.
Liverpool couldn’t have been more impressive, with four wins from four and just one goal conceded across the first month. It’s form that has them well fancied with the bookmakers in this week’s matchup and could be one of the best soccer betting predictions for the weekend.
Perched atop the table and playing irresistible football under Jurgen Klopp, the red half of Merseyside is daring to dream of silverware – a fact not lost on past and present Liverpool stars.
Former captain Graeme Souness this week labelled this year’s squad as the best Liverpool team since 1990 – the last time the club claimed the English league title.
Current skipper Jordan Henderson echoed the sentiments.
“Some of the football over the last year is up there with the best I have been involved in, if not the best,” said Henderson.
“We have had some fantastic players, the likes of Stevie [Gerrard], [Luis] Suarez and [Philippe] Coutinho, but now as a team everybody is right at it and that comes from the manager. Since he has come in we have been going in the right direction and now it’s about taking the final step and winning silverware. That’s massive for us.”
“Spurs are a fantastic team with a great manager. We have had some tough games against them so I am sure this one won’t be any different.
Hopefully we can go there and put on a big performance and come back with the win.”
Much of the talk on the white side of North London this week has centred on key man Harry Kane, as several pundits suggest the striker looks fatigued and needs a break. The chorus was led by Sky Sports’ Gary Neville, who cites that the England and Spurs star has played 175 games since 2015 amid a grueling schedule of premiership, cup, Champions League, World Cup qualification and tournament football.
Kane for his part has netted just twice this season for club and country – though he did break his August goal hoodoo – but his boss Mauricio Pochettino has brushed off any concerns.
“I think he is fit. I do not read and do not listen to what is going on around. The most important [thing] is that we trust,” said Pochettino.
“It is only time before he starts to score goals.
The Spurs boss has other worries anyway, with confirmation goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and the talismanic Dele Alli will both miss this weekend. Lloris remains out with a troublesome thigh injury, while Alli picked up a hamstring strain while on international duties last week.