Liverpool and Tottenham supporters are gearing up for the meeting between their two clubs in the Premier League this weekend, as the domestic action gets back underway following a two-week break for internationals.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have made a very impressive start to the campaign in winning each of their opening four league games, thus sitting pretty at the summit of the English top-flight. And while Spurs did well in winning their first three matches, including a 3-0 success at Manchester United, they suffered a somewhat surprising defeat against Watford last time out, which surely left manager Mauricio Pochettino pondering quite a lot during the international break.
Nonetheless, there are many optimistic and excited Reds and Spurs fans up and down the country at present, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has suggested that ‘this game is bigger for Tottenham than it is for Liverpool’.
And while he did then suggest that ‘Liverpool will be judged on this too’, he has got it wrong, as it is arguably a bigger game for Klopp’s Reds in their quest to become Premier League champions this term.
Ultimately, any match between top six rivals is important for both clubs, and Merson is right to suggest that Saturday’s clash is indeed significant for Spurs following their surprise defeat to Watford last time out.
But if Liverpool are serious about challenging Manchester City for the title this season, these are the games that they simply have to win, as that is exactly what the Citizens did regularly last season.
Pep Guardiola’s men won the league at a canter in finishing 19 points clear of second place Manchester United, and a key factor in their domination was their record against the fellow top six sides given they won eight of the ten games, only coming up short against United and indeed Klopp’s Reds.
Compare that to Liverpool’s record against the fellow top six teams, and the Reds only managed two victories last term, beating City 4-3 and sweeping aside Arsenal 4-0, both of which at Anfield – in fact, they picked up just one point on the road, which came against the Gunners.
Thus, it’s pretty clear what area the Merseysiders will have to improve this season if they are to challenge for the title, as a record like they had last term simply won’t get the job done – it’s all well and good beating City, but they cannot afford to lose again at the Etihad Stadium, Old Trafford, Wembley, and Stamford Bridge like they did last time round.
Add in the fact that Spurs thumped them 4-1 at the national stadium last season, and the Reds go into this one not only with the pressure of being title challengers on their back, but also having to come back from a mauling at the same ground less than 12 months ago.
Thus, while Merson is right to suggest that it is indeed a big game for Spurs, to suggest that it is bigger from them than it is Liverpool is wrong, as if the Reds win at Wembley on Saturday, it would be a huge statement of intent.
Lose though, and questions might well be asked about the ability of this team to go on and become the best in the country this season.
Liverpool and Tottenham fans… what do you think? Let us know!