Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
In any top-flight league around the world, the title-winning sides always have one defining characteristic, aside from talent, and that is consistency - in their level of play and their results.
Over the past few seasons, Liverpool have been the opposite of consistent. They have the high-priced talent, but have not been able to collect positive results often enough to merit being considered legitimate Premier League title contenders.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds will continue their search for consistency on Saturday as they travel to White Hart Lane for a lunch-time clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp's high-pressing style of play hasn't quite taken full effect at Liverpool, and the Reds were content to keep possession against Burnley last week - recording an astounding 81 percent. However, they were burned on a pair of perfectly executed counter-attacks which resulted in goals by Andre Grey and Sam Vokes.
The defence has been a consistent problem for the Reds, and it showed again last Saturday as Klopp replaced left-back Alberto Moreno with an out-of-position James Milner. Liverpool have conceded five goals in their opening two fixtures, which is the highest total they've allowed in that span since 2012-13.
But they bounced back nicely in midweek with a 5-0 thumping of Burton Alboin in the newly-named EFL Cup, thanks to a pair of goals from Daniel Sturridge, and one each from Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino.
"When I saw the (Burnley) game again, there were a few situations where we missed a little sharpness," Klopp said. "But the main problem was that with one more pass we were 15 times completely free in the box. In the game, we didn't see it, so we needed to use this. That's what we did today and it was better.
"We were there, where we had to be. We were on the line; we had possession (around) the box and bodies in the box. The first two goals were like this - one was a transition, the other one after a second ball. So, it was all good."
The club also received some defencive reinforcements as centre-back Joel Matip, who arrived this summer from Schalke, made his debut in the win over Burton.
"I feel very good after the time with my injury. It's getting better and better," Matip told the club's official website. "It was not the best time (while I was injured). For a player it's always hard when you're injured and cannot go at 100 per cent. It's good to be back. I will need some time, but I will get better."
Tottenham are unbeaten in their first two matches, and claimed three points with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last week thanks to a lone strike from Victor Wanyama. Spurs will be aiming to start a season unbeaten in three for the first time since 2009-10.
"I don't remember if I ran or not," the Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said of his reaction to Wanyama's wining strike. "It's emotion. We were very close to scoring in the first half, the second half the same and when you score in the 84th minute it's impossible to keep calm.
Despite welcoming Liverpool to the Lane, if there's one team that has given Spurs fits over the past few seasons, it is the boys from the red half of Merseyside. Spurs are winless in their last seven meetings with Liverpool, and have been outscored 8-0 over the last three in north London.
The sides drew both matchups last season, scoreless at White Hart Lane in October, and a 1-1 stalemate in April with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Harry Kane.