London: Jurgen Klopp must juggle Liverpool’s Premier League ambitions with a pivotal Champions League trip to Paris Saint-German while Tottenham hope to prove their mettle with victory against Chelsea in the game of the weekend.
For the first time in English top-flight history, there are three unbeaten teams after 12 matches, with Liverpool tucked in two points behind leaders Manchester City and Chelsea a further two points adrift.
Liverpool travel to seventh-placed Watford on Saturday, seeking to stay in touch with City who take on West Ham.
Manchester United host Crystal Palace after their dispiriting defeat against City while Arsenal have a tricky tie at Bournemouth.
Last season’s Champions League finalists Liverpool will travel to Paris next week for their penultimate group game with their hopes of reaching the knockout stages in the balance.
But first they must negotiate a potential banana skin at Watford, knowing that slipping further behind against City could prove fatal, even at this early stage of the season.
Klopp gave an upbeat assessment of the season so far despite a couple of disappointing Champions League defeats.
“So many things are better than last year,” he said. “Defending is better, set-pieces are better, we are much more mature in games, game management is better. So many things are better.”
“It’s all good, I like the season,” he added. “There has been a lot of improvement so far and there is still space for further improvement. But a very intense period is coming up now.”
Tottenham have won nine of their Premier League games so far but, significantly, two of their three defeats have come against top-four rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
Now they have the chance to leapfrog Chelsea with a victory at Wembley, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino suggesting the lack of Champions League football is helping his London rivals.
“This season they are competing in the Europa League again and it’s completely different for Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or us because we’re competing in the Champions League,” he said. “It’s a completely different competition.
“I am not surprised (by their start) because Chelsea have an unbelievable squad and players. This summer they invested. They signed players, quality players and they added to the squad. But it’s normal, they have one point more than us.”
Pochettino believes the club’s new stadium will be a massive boost for his team, even though they are likely to have to wait until at least February to play there.
The grand opening of the new 62,000-seater ground on the site of White Hart Lane was scheduled for the start of the season in August, but a series of delays mean it will be 2019 before the North London club take possession.
The club have secured Wembley until the end of the season as a contingency but Pochettino said they will be moving into the new ground as soon as possible.
“We are so excited, we cannot wait to move there,” he told reporters.
“We understand that it is a fantastic project for the future of the club that will be forever. To wait maybe one or two months more, we need to have patience.”