Football: Pochettino and Klopp play down Kane fatigue worries

Tottenham striker Harry Kane appears to be suffering a World Cup hangover.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane appears to be suffering a World Cup hangover.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • A 100 per cent record from their first four Premier League games - their best start to a campaign since the 1990-91 season - has raised expectations over Liverpool's title credentials and today's trip to Tottenham gives Jurgen Klopp's men the opportunity to exorcise the ghosts of Wembley.

This will be Liverpool's first return to the stadium since last October, when they were hammered 4-1 by Spurs in what was their most chastening defeat last season.

However, this is a different Reds side now, with only one of the back four from that game - Joe Gomez - set to start.

The addition of Alisson, the world's second-most expensive goalkeeper at £65 million (S$116 million), has also made this revamped Liverpool defence far harder to breach.

While Spurs striker Harry Kane would normally relish the challenge of pitting his wits against Klopp's rearguard, the England captain appears to be suffering a World Cup hangover.

Pundits, including Gary Neville, have said that Kane is fatigued, but Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino defended the striker's somewhat subdued start to the campaign despite two Premier League goals to his name.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of his side's clash with Liverpool, the Argentinian said: "I do not read and do not listen to what is going on around. The most important (thing) is that we trust.

NO CAUSE FOR ALARM

For me, there is no doubt that he is one of the best strikers in the world. When a striker does not fill the net and does not score goals, (you) always need to find some reason why but he is fit.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO, Tottenham manager, on Harry Kane's form.

READY TO FIRE

It's great to have that form, going into the weekend... I've always had many shots, even in the Premier League, but I just haven't scored yet.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN. The Spurs midfielder has scored 15 goals in his last 18 appearances for Denmark but has not scored in his last 10 matches for his club.

"For me, there is no doubt that he is one of the best strikers in the world. When a striker does not fill the net and does not score goals, (you) always need to find some reason why but he is fit.

"We know Harry Kane well and have worked with him more than four years, and we know this is not a situation that worries us."

Klopp dismissed suggestions that with Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli both ruled out through injury, and question marks over Son Heung-min's fitness after his Asian Games heroics, today represented the perfect time to play Spurs in London.

The German also claimed that it was only a matter of time before Kane got back to his best.

"We all knew after the World Cup, especially when England went so far in the tournament, they had no rest. Harry played from the first match day on," he told Sky.

"We all need rest. But he will find his form, maybe at the weekend. He has already delivered, it's not that he's not in good shape."

Given that Liverpool have the advantage of a full-strength squad to call on except for the injured Dejan Lovren and long-term absentee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Pochettino could do with a dynamic display from Christian Eriksen.

The 26-year-old made it 15 goals in his last 18 international appearances with a double in Denmark's Nations League win against Wales last Sunday and he is hoping to carry on that momentum.

"It's great to have that form, going into the weekend," Eriksen, who has not scored in his last 10 matches for Spurs, said.

"I've always had many shots, even in the Premier League, but I just haven't scored yet."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Pochettino and Klopp play down Kane fatigue worries'. Print Edition | Subscribe