Liverpool know Tottenham are vulnerable and will relish the chance to lay down their title credentials
THEY claim it is far too early for title talk.
That four successive Premier League wins, opening up the tiniest of gaps over defending champions Manchester City, does not count for much.
Even so, Tottenham away is a true test of Liverpool’s title-winning credentials.
Are they up for it? Do they fancy it? Can they go to a top Premier League rival straight after the international break and put them away?
These are the questions Jurgen Klopp must ask of his players before they walk out of those Wembley dressing rooms at lunchtime today.
He knows Tottenham are vulnerable.
The alarming defeat at Watford.
The drink-drive conviction for captain Hugo Lloris.
The endless questions about Harry Kane’s physical and mental well-being. Klopp’s Liverpool will fancy this. They have to.
They are out in front on goal difference, toppling West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester before the break.
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Today’s match promises to be a real humdinger.
It is a measure of Liverpool’s title ambitions, their aspirations and their dreams after a storming start.
Their challenge, after the unwelcome intrusion of the international hiatus, is to keep this hot streak going.
The scars are still there from last season, when they were tortured 4-1 at Wembley. Kane, who scored twice, Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli gave Liverpool the runaround in an eye-catching win.
Title-winning teams do not fold like that.
The constitution of the Liverpool side is different this time around, bouncing off a mesmerising run to the Champions League final and taking that red-hot form into the Premier League.
They have spent big — big enough to suggest the aim of Klopp and his supporters on the Anfield board is to have a proper crack at the title.
They did not spend £176million on Fabinho, Alisson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita to stand still.
Top-four football and the rewards that come with it is all well and good, but Klopp wants to deliver this club’s first title since 1990.
To do it they need to win at teams like Tottenham, to flex their muscles against one of their biggest rivals in English football.
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The country has fallen in love with the stylish, energetic approach of Mauricio Pochettino’s teams since he replaced Tim Sherwood as Spurs boss in May 2014.
They were brilliant at Manchester United, setting the traps for Jose Mourinho before going on to execute a magnificent 3-0 win.
When they came unstuck at Watford, beaten by the power and determination of Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart in the air, Poch lost the plot with his players.
He was entitled to be upset.
They were ordinary at Vicarage Road, struggling to take control of the game after Abdoulaye Doucoure gifted them the lead with an own goal at the start of the second half.
Poch, who fiddled by changing from the clever 4-1-2-1-2 in the rampant win at Old Trafford to a baffling 3-5-2 at Watford.
Tottenham’s manager, for all the love showered on him, can get it wrong, too. So far, Liverpool have been getting it right.
Klopp’s crash-bang-wallop approach, with three interchangeable forwards causing havoc up front, is causing a stir.
Mo Salah, last season’s double player of the year, has yet to hit top form as he continues towards a full recovery from the shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final.
Even so, he has already scored twice. He pulled one back at Spurs last season but they collapsed after Kane, Son and Dele finished the job.
Spurs were exhilarating that day, bewildering Liverpool’s players with their pace, intensity and sense of adventure.
They will be nervous now, especially without injured Lloris between the posts and the goal threat of Dele.
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They can be so fragile at times, especially after unpredictable performances and unexpected defeats. Watford was one of them.
Liverpool had already won their fourth straight game by then, with goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino enough to see them home 2-1 away at Leicester.
Alisson’s error, when he tried to Cruyff turn his way out of trouble, has been put down as an aberration by Klopp.
Even so, the keeper cannot start that sort of caper and think he can get away with it.
Liverpool have set new standards this season, brimming with belief after stringing together an impressive sequence of results.
If they get another at Wembley, they can start to dream big.