Äntligen, inga mer landskamper i hittepåturneringar, dags för Premier League igen. För Liverpools del väntar säsongens första toppmatch, bortamöte med Tottenham Hotspurs. Motsvarande möte förra säsongen var en match vi nog alla vill glömma, då det blev en tung förlust och starten på en tuff tid för Dejan Lovren, som fick motta både hat och hot i sociala medier. Den här säsongen hoppas vi på en bättre insats, men det kommer såklart att bli tufft att vända hem med alla tre poängen. Kevin Devries(@kevrov) leder den eminenta podcasten EPL Round table(@eplroundtable), han är dessutom stor Spurs-supporter, han berättar här för oss om hur lagets säsongsinledning varit och hur han ser på det hårda matchande som många av spelarna gått igenom de senaste månaderna:
1. Tell us about the start of the season, are you satisfied with the team’s performance and the amount of points you have gained?
There have bright spots thus far to be sure, but Tottenham have yet to play well in both halves of a match thus far. Sitting on nine points at the international break is certainly nothing to scoff at, though the loss to Watford was disappointing. Kane and Eriksen have yet to really get into a flow this season and hopefully, with Son, Wanyama and Winks all about to return to the side, we will get back to our best sooner rather than later.
2. Tottenham finished third last season, what do you expect from the team this season?
It feels like I have been saying the same thing for about three years now, but top four and a deep cup run seem achievable. Without summer reinforcements it’s unlikely that we will truly challenge for the title this season. Making it far in the cup competitions would at least show that we’re holding steady rather than slipping backwards.
3. Pochettino has been at your club for a few years now, has he changed anything this season compared to last season?
Yes! The two most notable changes have been forgiveness and formation.
The former has been a very new and interesting development indeed. Previously, when a player caused problems within the dressing room, Poch forced them out of the club (Kaboul, Capoue, Adebayor, Townsend, Walker, etc). This season however, due to lack of business, he’s had to both forgive and involve both Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld, both of whom had caused issues and tried to force moves away. Whether or not they stay long-term remains to be seen but they are inarguably talented and keeping and using them will make us a better side.
The formations have been fascinating this season as well. We have already added both a 4-3-3 and 4-2-2-2 to our tactical repertoire and will likely see even more variation this season. With a lack of fit central midfielders (just Dier and Dembele currently) we have had to make use of our depth at centre half and in attack to rebalance the squad. With many players set to return, one can only assume that we will continue to see tweaks to the formation here and there to get, and keep, everyone involved.
4. You didn’t sign any players this summer, what are your thoughts about that?
I had joked on a Tottenham segment for the EPL Round Table that I would be happy if we just extended everyone instead of buying new players. I obviously didn’t think Daniel Levy would take that so literally! Not buying anyone at all was quite disappointing and members of the fanbase are at varying levels of acceptance on this topic. Personally, I think it turned out alright. The main positions we were looking to strengthen (central midfield and centre back) were prioritised for fear of losing Dembele and Alderweireld but, since we kept them, those needs were lessened. Lucas has taken a big step forward in the early stages mitigating our need for another wide player so, for now, we seem to be alright. Long-term we do still eventually need to find a backup/change of pace option for Kane and a deep-lying playmaker.
5. You had many players in the final stages of the world cup, are you worried that it will affect their season?
I was quite concerned about this but the fact we’ve made it out of August with three wins has allayed those fears to some extent. The player I’m most worried about is Harry Kane. He’s not really been back to his best ever since the ankle injury he suffered in March. It seems he desperately needs a rest but with the Champions League about to start up again, it’s hard to imagine that happening anytime soon. He has been a n incredibly durable and resilient player for us thus far and we need to ensure that he avoids any long-term damage for short-term gain.
6. What kind of game do you expect against Liverpool?
An open one. Both sides like to press and attack which should allow both sides to find plenty of space on the pitch. In past iterations, the match has been played on the wings at the feet of Mane, Son and, most recently, Salah but I’m going to keep an eye on the central midfield this time. Assuming Dier gets the start, he may struggle against the likes of Keita and Wijnaldum. That would put the duty of connecting the back line to the attack solely at the feet of Mousa Dembele who is coming off a disappointing match against Watford. If Dembele has a good match we could have a solid chance at picking up the points but, if he doesn’t, it may be a long day for Tottenham.