Ahead of Tottenham's home clash with Liverpool, each team’s UAE Supporters Clubs preview the game for Sport360, including predicting the likely XIs and picking their players to watch.
Raad Jaboori Al-Shaikh, UAE SPURS SUPPORTERS CLUB
This is one of the classic fixtures in the English football calendar. Exciting football, great goals and a fantastic atmosphere have often punctuated it over the years.
Even at this relatively early stage of the 2015-16 season there are real signs of improvement for Tottenham. Carrying on from the fifth-place finish and Wembley final appearance last time out, Mauricio Pochettino managed to ship out 10 first-team players deemed surplus to requirements and bring in six new faces – as well as once again promoting the promising youth players from the Spurs academy. For the second season running, Spurs boast the youngest team in the premier league (average age 24).
With only one league defeat so far this term – an unfortunate opening day 1-0 reverse at Old Trafford and one of the best defensive records, things bode well for the rest of the season. Pochettino’s well-known pressing game is now evident and the team is shaping well. Hopefully a few more goals can take Spurs to the next level.
Eric Dier is unfortunately suspended for this game; the Englishman has been fantastic for Spurs so far this season in the holding midfield role and will be missed. Either Nabil Bentaleb or Moussa Dembele should come into replace him, although Toby Alderweireld may be pushed into the midfield. The arrival of Jurgen Klopp is obviously expected to have a major impact on the Liverpool team. How much of an impact? We’ll have to wait and see.
PREDICTION: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool
LIKELY SPURS XI: Lloris; Davies, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose; Alli, Dembele; Eriksen, Lamela, Chadli; Kane
TOTTENHAM PLAYER TO WATCH: Christian Eriksen. Quite simply makes the Spurs midfield and attack tick with his incisive passing and movement. Not forgetting the fantastic free kicks of course!
LIVERPOOL PLAYER TO FEAR: Philippe Coutinho. A doubt because of injury but if he plays he is the creative heart of the Liverpool team and their best player so far this season. He also possesses a knack of scoring important goals.
FAVOURITE SPURS-LIVERPOOL MOMENT: The last-minute goal by Jurgen Klinsmann at Anfield in a 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final victory in 1995.
FACEBOOK: UAE Spurs – send a request to Raad Jaboori Al-Shaikh to be added to the group.
Daniel Watson, DUBAI REDS
There is a sweeping sense of optimism – or ‘Kloppmania’ – among Liverpool fans at the moment; the excitement since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp has been quite extraordinary. Klopp has brought his trusted backroom staff from Borussia Dortmund so the same men who reformed and rejuvenated the German side are now together again at another illustrious club in dire need of a change in fortunes.
Klopp proclaimed himself “the normal one” in his first press conference and spoke of his expectation that Liverpool would play emotional, full-throttle football. It feels like the start of something new, a new lease of life. Expectations have to be relative and nobody is able to work miracles, but Liverpool have appointed a manager who has the qualities to transform and deliver in time.
First up for Klopp is a trip to White Hart Lane, a ground where Liverpool have enjoyed success in the last couple of seasons, scoring eight goals with no reply.
Spurs seem in better fettle this time, however – since the opening day of the season they have not lost a game. They sit one point ahead of Liverpool in the table with an impressive 4-1 win over Manchester City to their name. They certainly have key players capable of bursting the bubble of hysteria on Merseyside.
Liverpool also have a growing injury list going into the game, with Joe Gomez and Philippe Coutinho the latest to fall victim. News that Dejan Lovren, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firminio are getting closer to full fitness is welcome for the new manager, while captain Jordan Henderson along with Jon Flanagan have some way to go before they can return.
It is hard to know exactly what to expect, particularly with the international break limiting Klopp’s time with his new players, but hopefully his arrival should spark a performance as everyone has a clean slate and chance to prove themselves.
Klopp’s famous pressing system should suit tireless Danny Ings and James Milner, while Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne should fit perfectly on the flanks of a back four.
It is hard to come down from cloud nine and even consider losing this one, if the players are buzzing in the same way the fans are.
But there lies the danger. It is important to realise that there is a lot of hard work to come, things will not change because there is a new man at the helm, it will take a collective effort to reach the top.
The emotion bound to be shown by the manager on the sidelines is something to be excited about, but seeing it rub off on the men in red on the pitch is key. He has inherited a squad with quality that needs to be set free, starting against Spurs.
PREDCITION: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Liverpool
LIKELY LIVERPOOL XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno; Can, Allen, Milner, Coutinho, Lallana; Sturridge
LIVERPOOL PLAYER TO WATCH: Emre Can. Under Brendan Rodgers, his position in the squad varied between defence and midfield. Under Klopp, surely Can will be nowhere near the back four again. He should be used in a midfield pairing from this point and if he is, Can could really be a top player.
SPURS PLAYER TO FEAR: Christian Eriksen. With Harry Kane struggling to replicate his stunning form from last season, Eriksen has been a key player for Spurs. His creativity from set-pieces have the ability to damage Liverpool, a club that Eriksen was heavily linked with before Spurs signed him from Ajax.
FAVOURITE SPURS-LIVERPOOL MOMENT: In recent memory, it has to be the 5-0 win at White Hart Lane in December 2013. A particular highlight from the game was seeing local lad Jon Flanagan smash in his first Liverpool goal off the bar.
WHERE TO WATCH: Liverpool fans should join us in Goodfellas bar, Ramee Rose hotel, Tecom. Please check www.dubaireds.com for further info about the supporters club.
FACEBOOK: Dubai Reds Official LFC Supporters Club
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