With international football out of the way, the Reds international contingent will be back for league action. Having had 4 consecutive wins under their belt, Liverpool will next travel to Wembley to take on Tottenham. After losing their previous game against Watford, Spurs will seek a response against their visitors. Ahead of the big game, here are the key factors that might shape the game.
Patience With Fabinho
Back in the summer, fans were buzzing at the announcement of Fabinho’s signing. For many, he was touted as Liverpool’s long term solution for the No. 6 role. However, barring preseason friendlies, the Brazilian has yet to make an appearance for the Reds. While Wijnaldum has been putting in excellent performances in the role so far, there are still fans looking for Fabinho to make his first competitive outing.
In his press conference ahead of the Spurs clash, Klopp explained the circumstances surrounding Fabinho’s continued absence. The boss rightly reminded us that “we had similar questions and similar things to talk about around Robbo and about Ox” last season, and that we should be patient.
The boss then further explained by saying: “We have players that worked together now for much longer; he comes from another league, a completely different system which Monaco played, to us. We have a good team together so that takes time.”
It is a perfectly legitimate explanation for Fabinho’s exclusion from the squad. Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain are perfect examples of patience paying off, which is why we fans need to believe the same will happen to Fabinho. And with Gini performing so well thus far, that patience can be afforded to help Fabinho bed into the team.
Squad Depth’s First Test
Liverpool’s visit to Wembley will mark the start of a brutal run of fixtures, playing 7 matches in just 23 days. Among those are mouth-watering games against PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Napoli. Whoever starts against big teams will certainly give every ounce of energy to achieve a result. And that’s where fatigue will play a key role during this crunch period.
So far, Klopp has named relatively unchanged sides, with the only one change coming against Leicester. But looking at these set of fixtures, rotations will definitely be needed to keep Liverpool’s momentum going. Klopp wasn’t afraid to do it last season, and he has acknowledge for the need to do it again this season. However, the difference between last season and the current one is that Liverpool’s squad depth has massively improved. With the likes of Shaqiri, Sturridge and Fabinho to call upon, the boss finally has the luxury to chop and change while maintaining the quality of the team.
So while rotation is a necessity to ease those tiring legs, the Reds are better equipped this time round to make those changes. Hopefully, Liverpool’s squad depth will triumph over the course of 23 days.
Spurs Injury Blues
Coming out of the international break, fans must have breathed a sigh of relief that the majority of squad escaped unscathed. The same can’t be said of our opponents, who were hit with injuries to key personnel. In his press conference, Pochettino has revealed that Dele Alli will miss the game due to a hamstring injury picked up while he was with the England squad. Hugo Loris is also ruled out of the game due to a thigh injury sustained against Manchester United.
With 2 of their key personnel now out, Spurs themselves will have a mini test of their own squad depth. Michael Vorm and the the returning Heung-min Son will be expected to deputize for the injured duo. Obviously, it is an advantage for Liverpool and we have to take full advantage of the situation.
However, that doesn’t mean we should be complacent, and we have to be wary of a wounded Spurs team. Last season’s 4-1 embarrassment at the same venue would surely be at the top of everyone’s mind. So while we’re confident of a result, there’s still a need to tread cautiously and treat our opponents with the respect they deserve.