Tottenham Hotspur will look to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new Premier League campaign when they host Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool on Sunday (1.30pm).
New head coach Mauricio Pochettino has made the ideal start to life as Spurs boss, winning two from two in the league and securing the club’s progress to the group stages of the Europa League following a play-off with AEL Limassol, winning 5-1 on aggregate.
Meanwhile Liverpool have won one and lost one at this early stage, following their 2-1 opening-day win over Southampton with a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Monday evening.
The real business begins at White Hart Lane on Sunday, though, with Spurs looking to lay down an early marker of intent and prove they aren’t the same side which collapsed time and time again in the face of strong opposition last season.
It was a 5-0 home defeat by the Reds last season which saw previous head coach Andre Villas-Boas leave his post, though Spurs’ record against ‘top-four’ sides remained extremely poor even after the Portuguese’s departure.
A 5-1 defeat at home to Manchester City under Tim Sherwood continued a theme which was evident right throughout the season – the Citizens winning 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the campaign.
Both Liverpool and Spurs have undergone a summer of change, though, with the Reds losing talismanic forward Luis Suarez and spending more than £100m on players they hope will fill the void left by the Uruguayan.
Mario Balotelli is the man charged with replacing Suarez, the similarly controversial Italian joining for a knock-down price of £16m from Milan this summer.
Best-known for his on and off-field antics during a stint with Manchester City, the pacey, powerful forward has no little ability to boot and scored 26 times in 37 Serie ‘A’ starts for the Rossoneri.
A record of 20 Premier League goals in 33 starts for City was no mean feat either, with the 24-year-old more commonly associated with non-football capers.
Balotelli also brings the mindset of a winner, having landed the Serie ‘A’ title three times at Internazionale, the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa Italiana, the Champions League, the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield at club level.
Italy’s first-choice striker, there is little doubting the temperamental forward’s ability but his acquisition is a real test of Rodgers’ man-management skills.
The Ulsterman undeniably brought the best out of Suarez, even coaxing the forward into remaining at Anfield last summer following biting controversy and those same skills will need to be utilised once more.
One of three Southampton players to sign, Adam Lallana has arrived from in a £25m deal – the club’s biggest outlay of the summer – but is yet to feature for the Reds due to injury.
Saints team-mate, Dejan Lovren, followed Lallana and £4m forward Rickie Lambert to Anfield this summer, after one highly-impressive season on the South Coast.
The domineering centre-half arrives as Rodgers’ first-choice at the heart of the Liverpool backline, with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger left to scrap it out for the remaining spot alongside the Croatian.
Assisting Lallana in the creative stakes will be former Benfica winger, Lazar Markovic, who joined the Reds in a £19.8m swoop for the Portuguese giants.
The 20-year-old Serbian international is highly-rated and joins attacking options which already include the likes of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool could be without another summer addition, defender Alberto Moreno (ankle), Skrtel (knock), Glen Johnson (thigh) and Agger (knee).
Meanwhile, Jon Flanagan (knee), Lallana (knee) and Ousama Assaidi (knee) are all doubts.
For Tottenham, the situation is much clearer, with only Kyle Walker (groin) sidelined and Roberto Soldado set for a late fitness test.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Capoue, Bentaleb; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Toure, Lovren, Sakho; Henderson, Gerrard, Allen; Sterling, Sturridge, Coutinho.