84 minCLOSE! Lamela dribbles to the edge of the box but his side-footed shot is a yard or so wide of the post.
11.30amToday was supposed to be the first game at Tottenham Hotspur‘s new £800m stadium. While that grand opening waits for another day, the spectacle is still just as big at Wembley where Spurs entertain Liverpool in an early-season battle of two pretenders to Manchester City’s Premier League crown.
11.32amThese sides served up two thrillers last season – with Spurs whipping the Reds 4-1 at Wembley and then snatching a last-gasp draw at Anfield, in what was probably the most dramatic match of the whole domestic season. There couldn’t be a better match to resume our Premier League love affair after the international break.
11.34amSPURS: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen; Moura, Kane
Subs: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Davies, Sanchez, Wanyama, Lamela, Son
11.36amLIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita; Mane, Salah, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Matip, Moreno, Fabinho, Henderson, Shaqiri, Strurridge
11.38amPochettino makes three changes to the side which lost to Watford a fortnight ago. Harry Winks – compared this week to Xavi by his manager – is back for his first Premier League start since December. Danny Rose is preferred to Ben Davies at left-back and Eric Dier is recalled in favour of Davinson Sanchez.
11.40amHugo Lloris is out for three weeks with a thigh injury so Michel Vorm continues to deputise. The Dutchman has made 10 Premier League appearances in his five years as Lloris’s number two and Tottenham have only won three of those matches. Dele Alli is also a big miss with a hamstring strain picked up on England duty.
11.42amSon Heung-min is back on the bench for Tottenham after his Asia Cup success with South Korea, which should grant him exemption from military service. Victor Wanyama, who scored an absolute rocket against Liverpool last season, is also among the substitutes for the first time this campaign after recovering from a knee problem.
11.44amDier’s inclusion in that Spurs lineup gives Pochettino the option of going with five at the back, or packing the midfield. Tottenham have switched from five at the back to a four-man defence a couple of times already this season and as a result they have not looked as defensively organised as usual.
11.46amLiverpool make just the one change from the 2-1 win over Leicester City, with Jordan Henderson dropping out for Naby Keita. The skipper will be disappointed to sit this one out considering that he did not feature for England over the break so should be fresh and raring to go.
11.48amSummer signing Fabinho has a battle to break into the midfield with James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum both starting the season in fine form. There will be a lot of eyes on another new recruit – goalkeeper Alisson – after his howler at the King Power Stadium. How will the Brazilian react?
11.50amThis trip to Wembley begins a potentially season-defining run of fixtures for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp‘s men face Spurs, Southampton, Chelsea and Man City in the league, PSG and Napoli in Europe and Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, all in the next 23 days.
11.52amEvery encounter with Spurs allows Liverpool fans to conduct a progress check of sorts, as it was against the Lilywhites that Klopp took charge for the first time. They are also the club on the most parallel journey with the Reds, so let’s see how the two teams compare in recent years.
11.54amSince Klopp’s appointment in October 2015, Liverpool have won 60 Premier League matches, eight fewer than Spurs, and have suffered 19 defeats, two more than the Londoners. It should come as no surprise then that Tottenham have finished above the Reds in the last three seasons, and eight of the last nine.
11.56amTaking that into consideration, why are Liverpool perceived as Man City’s biggest challengers? That might have something to do with a certain Champions League run, but also the greater investment that Liverpool have made into their squad. Over the last three summers, the Reds have a net spend of £135m and have broken the world transfer records for a goalkeeper and defender.
11.58amAs a result of that squad turnover, Milner is the only survivor in today’s Liverpool lineup from Klopp’s debut match in charge. Five of that XI – Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Emre Can, Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho have all left Anfield. The feared front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are among those who have arrived.
12.00pmIn contrast, Spurs have a net spend of £20m over the same period, and have only added one player during the past 12 months – Lucas Moura. Six of today’s starters played in that 0-0 draw in October 2015, and it would almost certainly be eight if Lloris and Alli were fit. Davies, Trippier and Vorm were also on the bench that day.
12.02pmAfter a settling in period last season, that one Spurs signing is starting to having a major impact. Lucas Moura was last week announced as the Premier League Player of the Month for August after three goals and a star turn against Manchester United, pipping Liverpool’s Mane and Van Dijk to the first prize of the season.
12.04pmMoura’s contributions have helped Spurs make their best start to a season since 2013-14. Despite last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Watford – the first time in 48 that Spurs lost after taking the lead – a win today would equal their highest tally of 12 points after five matches of a Premier League campaign.
12.06pmOn the other hand, a defeat and Tottenham would lose consecutive league games for the first time since their final two fixtures of the 2015-16 season – when they went down to Southampton and capitulated 5-1 against Newcastle in the aftermath of losing out on the title to Leicester City.
12.08pmPochettino’s men have won won eight of their past nine Premier League home games – a statistic which should bring some comfort to those supporters who are worried about another prolonged run at Wembley as a result of the stadium delay. The exception was a 3-1 defeat by Manchester City in April.
12.10pmAccusations of tiredness and fatigue have been thrown at Harry Kane either side of the World Cup, and although the 25-year-old striker does not look at his sharpest, he has scored in Tottenham’s last four home Premier League games. A goal today and he would join Jermaine Defoe and Son Heung-min as the only players to make it five.
12.12pmKane’s Golden Boot crown was taken from him last year by the incredible Mohamed Salah, whose three goals against Spurs helped him to a record-breaking total of 32. The Egyptian has five goals in seven appearances versus Tottenham, having also scored against them in the Europa League for Basel and Fiorentina.
12.14pmLiverpool are aiming to win their opening five games of a top-flight season for only the third time, having previously done so in 1978-79 and 1990-91. On the first of those occasions, they won the title. The second time around they finished runners-up to Arsenal.
12.16pmIncluding the final game of last season, Liverpool have are on a five-match league winning streak. The last time they won six in succession was during the club record 11-game run in April 2014 under Brendan Rodgers, the closest that the Reds have been to winning the English championship since the 1989-90 season.
12.18pmIf the Merseysiders are to end those 28 years of hurt this season, it is clear where they must improve. They only took one point out of a possible 15 in away fixtures last season against the other top-six sides, conceding a total of 15 goals. Similarly, Spurs took only four points from 15 but recent wins at Chelsea at Manchester United suggests that they are making strides here.
12.20pmAround 10 minutes until kickoff at Wembley, where Liverpool have lost their last four fixtures since beating Everton 2-1 in an FA Cup semi-final in April 2012. Dejan Lovren was the villain of the piece in last October’s 4-1 defeat, from which Joe Gomez is the only survivor in the back five.
12.22pmHEAD-TO-HEAD: That is Tottenham’s solitary win in their 11 most recent Premier League games against the Reds. Four of the last six meetings have been draws, including two of the previous three in London following two Liverpool victories by an aggregate of 8-0.
12.24pmThe 149 goals scored in matches between these sides makes it the second highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history. With the likes of Kane, Moura, Firmino, Salah and Mane on show today, you wouldn’t bet against it surpassing the 151 goals of the Arsenal-Everton fixture this afternoon.
12.26pmWith the growing social media rivalry between these two teams, caused by the Kane-Salah Golden Boot race and the chaos of last season’s finale at Anfield, both sets of fans will really want to win this one. Secretly though both managers might settle for a draw, especially Spurs who are missing a couple of crucial players and won’t want to fall six points behind early in the season.
12.28pmPREDICTION: I fancy Liverpool to nick this one 2-1. They were very impressive prior to the break – at both ends of the pitch – and Tottenham’s results are probably not reflective of their performances thus far. In particular, Spurs have looked a little shaky at the back, switching formation from game to game, and the Reds are too good not to capitalise if they are again today.
1 minKICKOFF: The action is underway at Wembley where Michael Oliver is our referee this afternoon. Should be a good one this!
1 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Nearly a sensational start for Liverpool! The ball is in the net inside 45 seconds but it is quickly ruled out by the assistant. Milner swings a cross in and Firmino, who is onside, gets a slight touch on it to divert it past Vorm. Mane, however, was offside and stuck a boot out in front of Vorm and is adjudged to be interferring with play. The relief around the stadium is palpable. Spurs got lucky there.
3 minFirmino runs into the right channel and looks to get a shot away but Vertonghen gets across to make a block. Van Dijk it close to getting on the end of the resulting corner. This has been a nervy start from Spurs.
5 minSHOT! The visitors waste a really promising opening with Firmino underhitting a simple through-ball to Mane who was in acres of space after Trippier is caught out of position. The Reds do get a free-kick for a foul by Winks on Mane, which Alexander-Arnold hits straight at Vorm.
7 minTottenham do not look comfortable with this midfield diamond formation. Winks and Eriksen are tucking in because neither of them are natural wide players, and Rose and Trippier are taking up advanced positions to provide the width and thus leaving lots of space for Mane and Salah. That spells trouble.
9 minSpurs get some respite by winning a free kick in the Liverpool half. The Bury Beckham whips it in and Alderweireld meets it with a diving header which flew over the crossbar. The Belgian was caught out by Liverpool’s offside trap anyway.
11 minRose looks for Kane over the top but Van Dijk cuts out a decent ball with a headed clearance. The hosts have played a few balls over the top already with runners coming from midfield.
13 minSalah and Mane are not tracking the Spurs full-backs and therefore Liverpool have the numbers every time they break. It surely won’t be long until that yields a decent opportunity.
15 minRose is proving a useful outlet for Tottenham to get up the field. The England international can count himself a little lucky to be picked ahead of Davies today but he does offer more from an attacking perspective.
17 minDembele is all over Wijnaldum in the centre circle and Liverpool are awarded a free kick. The Belgian hasn’t been involved in the game at all thus far. Does he still have the legs to compete with this energetic Reds midfield?
19 minIt is all a bit hopeful from Spurs at the moment – balls over the top which are a little aimless. Liverpool have a clear method of how they are going to cut through Spurs and are just waiting for their chance.
21 minCHANCE! Great chance for Liverpool but Salah is somewhat hesitant and strikes straight at Vorm from 12 yards. The goalkeeper parries it upwards and catches the second ball. The chance came following a very slack pass from Dier which Salah ran onto but he couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
23 minThe Reds have a two-on-two situation and Alderweireld makes a crucial tackle as Firmino looked to cut back onto his right foot. Tottenham’s full-backs are playing high and the midfielders are not dropping in, leaving the centre-backs exposed. Surely that is Dier’s job?
25 minSpurs are lucky to have survived this first 25 minutes but it does only look a matter of time before Liverpool take advantage of this odd shape that the hosts are playing. If Tottenham can get to half time, Pochettino might switch to a back three.
27 minTrippier’s delightful cushioned layoff releases Eriksen into the right side of the area, with Keita not following the Dane’s run. Eriksen tries to pick out Moura with a cutback but Robertson recovers to make a block.
29 minSAVE! Keita bundles over Eriksen on the edge of the box, giving Spurs a free kick in Bury Beckham territory. Trippier hits the target but it is easy pickings for Alisson.
31 minBetter from Spurs in the last couple of minutes, and it is Moura who is proving the extra intensity to their play. The Brazilian is quick but can’t quite get on the end of an Eriksen cross which would have been very reminscent of the Son Heung-min goal scored in this fixture last season.
33 minWith Robertson up the pitch, Wijnaldum gets back on the cover well to intercept a ball destined for Kane in the right channel. That is what Tottenham’s midfielders aren’t doing and eventually they could pay for it.
35 minCHANCE! Tottenham’s passing has improved in the last 10 minutes, but another sloppy ball, this time from Dembele, allows Mane to spring forward. Alderweireld does well to keep him on his left foot and he can’t generate any power to trouble Vorm.
37 minVertonghen pinches the ball from Salah on the halfway line and Spurs have a good counter-attack on. Moura and Kane are in front of him but the Belgian tries to catch Alisson off his line from 50 yards out, dragging the shot way off target.
39 minSpurs are trying their best to gift Liverpool a goal. Alderweireld’s clearance is charged down by Firmino, and when Tottenham do get the ball back, Eriksen heads it straight back to Mane and the visitors scramble to get away with just a corner.
39 minGOAL! SPURS 0-1 LIVERPOOL (GEORGINO WIJNALDUM)
39 minLiverpool lead and they do get an assist from Spurs – with stand-in goalkeeper Vorm at fault. Milner swings a corner down the throat of the Dutchman, who is surrounded by bodies. The first punch is weak and Wijnaldum’s follow-up header sneaks loops over Vorm who flaps at it again. The ball had clearly crossed the line though and referee Michael Oliver awards the goal after a nudge from goalline technology.
41 minIt was clearly a deliberate tactic to flood Vorm at corners. The former Swansea stopper is not the tallest and the Reds ruthlessly exploited that weakness. That is the fifth goal Spurs have conceded this season and all have been headers. It is something that Pochettino needs to address quickly.
43 minTottenham’s defence is outnumbered again but Wijnaldum decides to go it alone and drags a shot wide.
45 minMane is clean through down the middle but the pass from Keita is a bit heavy and Vorm is off his line quickly to hoover up.
45+1 minHALF TIME: SPURS 0-1 LIVERPOOL
1.20pmLiverpool are on track to make it five out of five and claim their biggest scalp of the season so far thanks to Wijnaldum’s goal late in the first half. Jurgen Klopp will be thinking that his side could be two or three up had his front three been as clinical as usual. Pochettino has a lot of thinking to do.
1.22pmWijnaldum’s header marked his first Premier League away goal in 58 matches on the road – he has scored 18 on home soil. The midfielder also scored – twice for Newcastle- the last time that Spurs lost two top-flight games on the bounce so that is not a good omen for the Lilywhites.
1.24pmSpurs are feeling the absence of Hugo Lloris badly, with Vorm’s weakness under crosses exploited for the Liverpool goal. He is not the only Spurs player to have made a mistake this afternoon and the hosts are lucky to not have been punished for their sloppiness on the ball in midfield.
1.26pmPerhaps the biggest mistake made by Tottenham has been Pochettino’s approach. He has played right into Liverpool’s hands, starting his full-backs high and leaving Vertonghen and Alderweireld vulnerable to Liverpool counters. The midfield diamond is not working and he has to ditch it now.
1.28pmBENCH WATCH: Erik Lamela or Son Heung-min might be the option Pochettino will look to off the bench, switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Argentine is not one to make early changes though. Liverpool have been far from their best but Klopp won’t feel the need to make changes.
1.30pmThis has not quite been the barnstorming end-to-end match that we expected. It has been more of a pragmatic affair with the two teams feeling each other out. The intensity of the game may have suffered on the back of the international break. It is finely poised as we go into the second half though…
46 minKICKOFF: We are back underway at Wembley with the personnel unchanged for now. Spurs do appear to have gone to three at the back though.
48 minGomez gives the ball away under pressure from Moura but Van Dijk rescues his partner with a vital recovery tackle on the edge of the box. At the other end, Robertson’s miscued cross lands on the top of the bar. That would have been another nightmare moment for Vorm who did not react quickly.
49 minSAVE! Vorm has been forced into two saves already this half. The first one is a fairly simple catch from a Keita volley, after a corner had been cleared to the midfielder, but the second one is a lot more difficult and he reacts well to parry away Mane’s shot on the turn.
51 minOFF THE POST! Outstanding play from Moura who collects the ball on the left wing, darts inside, dribbles past three Liverpool defenders and strikes against the post from 15 yards out. It is a brilliant run from the Brazilian who has been Tottenham’s best player so far. The finish did not quite have the precision though.
54 minGOAL! SPURS 0-2 LIVERPOOL (ROBERTO FIRMINO)
54 minLiverpool double their lead and it is the easiest goal Firmino will ever score. Mane’s superb movement gets him away from Trippier and Robertson finds him with a ball into the left channel. The Senegalese is allowed to run into the box unchecked and squares into the six yard box, where Vertonghen diverts the ball against the post. Again Vorm makes a mess of collecting the rebound and Firmino has a simple tap-in on the line.
56 minMoura wins a corner against Alexander-Arnold but Van Dijk climbs highest to head clear with authority.
58 minTrippier whips in a good ball to the near post but Alisson holds onto the cross under pressure from Kane.
60 minSUBSTITUTION: Pochettino makes his first change, bringing on Lamela for the weary Dembele. Now surely that will see Spurs change formation to 4-2-3-1. Can that inspire the drastic improvement they need?
62 minFantastic, thumping tackle from Gomez to prevent Moura from running into the box. The youngster timed his slide challenge perfectly after Eriksen had released the Brazilian behind Alexander-Arnold.
68 minEriksen’s cross is just behind Kane who tries to flick it goalwards from close range but can’t get enough contact on it. Rose is too slow to recycle the ball and the chance passes Spurs by.
70 minKlopp is preparing to bring on Henderson but an injury to Firmino seems to have delayed that change. The Brazilian was caught in the eye by a stray Vertonghen hand and is receiving treatment.
74 minSUBSTITUTION: Klopp does now make that change, with Henderson on for Firmino. It was going to be Keita who takes up Firmino’s role at the tip of the attack.
76 minFifteen minutes to go. Can Spurs sting Liverpool at the death as they did at Anfield last season? They would be undeserving having been so poor today. Moura has been their only shining light.
80 minSAVE! Liverpool have a couple of chances to wrap up victory but Vorm saves from Salah and Mane, neither of whom have been at their best today and yet the Reds are on their way to three points. That will be what frustrates Spurs.
82 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Dier’s miserable afternoon is ended as Wanyama comes on. Spurs need another rocket from the Kenyan now. Meanwhile, Sturridge is on for Keita and will hope to take one of these chances Tottenham are gifting the visitors.
86 minCHANCE! Half a chance for Kane who can’t generate enough power on his looping header to trouble Alisson.
88 minMilner has been everywhere for Liverpool today and also very good on the ball – probably their standout performer.
90 minSUBSTITUTION: Joel Matip gets his first run out of the season in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
90+1 minVorm is off his line quickly to thwart Mane who was offside from Sturridge’s pass. Again Spurs gave the ball away in their defensive third. This is as poor as I have seen them for a long time.
90+3 minGOAL! SPURS 1-2 LIVERPOOL (ERIK LAMELA)
90+3 minA corner somehow reaches Lamela at the back post and the Argentine chests the ball up and volleys it in brilliantly from a tight angle. Two minutes to go – this would be daylight robbery if Spurs steal a point here.
90+5 minSon has an opportunity to hit it on his right foot but cuts inside and runs into trouble in a congested penalty area. That was half a chance that – and probably the last one that Spurs will get.
90+5 minFULL TIME: SPURS 1-2 LIVERPOOL
2.26pmIt is five from five for Liverpool who go clear at the top of the Premier League table with their most significant win of the season so far. They didn’t need to be at their best today, so poor were Spurs who did set up a nervy conclusion with Erik Lamela’s reply but were completely outplayed for the most part.
2.28pmThat’s it from Wembley but be sure to stick around with Sports Mole for this afternoon’s Premier League coverage, including Manchester City vs. Fulham and Chelsea vs. Cardiff City. Thanks for joining me for this one.
2.28pmThat’s it from Wembley but be sure to stay with Sports Mole for coverage of this afternoon’s Premier League coverage, including Man City vs. Fulham and Chelsea vs. Cardiff. Thanks for joining me for this one!