Liverpool take on Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday, in the ninth game of the season. Club action begins after a brief international break. Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool’s new manager and the build up to the game is around the German manager. The euphoria of landing the talismanic Klopp might have made people forget that Spurs are in brilliant touch at the moment. They will also be facing a side that will be regrouping under the new boss.
Here are three key battles we may see on the pitch on Saturday, ones that could shape the result of the match.
Harry Kane vs Mamadou Sakho
The England striker is not in the best of forms at the moment. After being an absolute phenomenon last season with 31 goals in all competitions, Kane has struggled to get going this season. He only has one goal to his name in 13 appearances for Tottenham in this campaign, a goal that could easily have not counted. Kane however, comes into this game after a good performance against Lithuania for his country. He scored against the opposition, something that must surely give him more confidence going into this weekend.
Mamadou Sakho will be entrusted with the task of keeping the Englishman quiet. Dejan Lovren has returned to training but it is likely that Sakho gets the nod ahead of the ditzy Croatian. With Brendan Rodgers gone, the former PSG player will also feel more confident about his chances, but should look to cement his place under Klopp with a solid performance at White Hart Lane. Keeping Harry Kane quiet on the night will be pivotal for that goal.
Christian Eriksen vs Lucas Leiva
With summer recruit Son set to miss up to six games with injury, Christian Eriksen will have an even bigger role to play for the home side to emerge victorious on the day. Eriksen is likely to play the number 10 role for the Lilywhites. The 23-year-old has been a consistent performer for Spurs since his arrival from Ajax a couple of seasons ago.
Last season, he was continuously churning out last minute winners for his side and the fans would be hoping he is in similar mood this season as well. He missed about a month of action with injury, but has been instrumental for Spurs since his return. He scored two free-kicks against Swansea recently. The Dane will be Spurs’ brain on the day and Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva will be responsible for ensuring he doesn’t do much damage. It is difficult to predict who Klopp’s first 11 will be, but Lucas’ experience and the fact that he is the only proper defensive midfielder Liverpool possess, will boost his chances of featuring in the game. The Brazilian will be shielding his back four and will have to be on his toes to particularly deal with Eriksen, someone who can cause so much damage with his clever passes and impressive vision.
Toby Alderweireld vs Daniel Sturridge
Alderweireld has been an inspired buy for Spurs. The Belgian’s arrival has meant that Spurs now have an impressive Belgian centre half pairing comprising Toby and Vertonghen. The side has only conceded 7 goals so far which is a joint lowest in the league. The former Atletico defender will be entrusted with the task of keeping Daniel Sturridge at bay. Sturridge will be leading Liverpool’s attack in the absence of Danny Ings and Christian Benteke. Even if the duo was available, Sturridge would still be the club’s first choice striker. The England international can be absolutely devastating when he is in form and is a fine finisher. Alderweireld will have to make sure the former Chelsea forward can’t do much damage, and keeping him quiet will be key in Tottenham’s quest for maximum points.