Liverpool keen to back up Arsenal win at Burnley
Liverpool travel to nearby Burnley on Saturday eager to prove their opening weekend 4-3 win away to Arsenal was no flash in the pan.
Raising their game against English football’s established powers has been something successive Liverpool teams have had no problem in doing.
But the five-times European champions have, remarkably given their once entrenched domestic dominance, yet to be crowned champions of England since the advent of the Premier League, with the last of their once record 18 championships coming back in 1990 — still the days of the old First Division.
However, it is matches at clubs such as newly-promoted north-west rivals Burnley that have often proved Liverpool’s undoing in pursuit of title glory.
They could make the journey to Turf Moor without Sadio Mane, who suffered a shoulder injury on Wednesday after marking his Liverpool debut with a goal against the Gunners.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does have the likes of Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge standing by to take Mane’s place at Turf Moor.
Saturday also sees Leicester City, last season’s shock champions, at home to Arsenal — the team they beat to the title by 10 points.
Leicester’s success threw into sharp focus the Gunners’ failure to win the title for the first time since 2004, with many Arsenal fans fearing their club is more concerned about balancing the books than going all out to attract big-name players to the club.
But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who faced renewed criticism after last week’s defeat, has denied suggestions he is reluctant to spend the money of the club he has managed since 1996.
“You (the media) are absolutely convinced that I do not want to spend the money, but I reassure you we are ready to spend the money,” said Wenger.
“Buying calms the fans, of course, but we have to make sure… it is important to spend money but we have to spend it the right way,” the 66-year-old Frenchman added. “What I fight against is to think that the only way in football to deal, is to buy.”
Leicester surprisingly lost 2-1 to Hull City last week and Wenger said: “The challenge for them is to do well again and to show that their last year was not a one off.
“They need to be capable of challenging and will need to be to show if they can be considered as one of the top teams in England.”
Manchester United face Southampton, something of a bogey club in recent seasons, at Old Trafford on Friday in what will be manager Jose Mourinho’s first home league game in charge of the English giants, who started the season with a 3-1 win away to Bournemouth.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will see his side face the supposed acid test of an English top-flight team’s character, an away trip to Stoke City, as they look to build on last week’s win over Sunderland.
Tottenham Hotspur will go in search of a first league win of the season in an all-London clash with Crystal Palace following a 1-1 draw with Everton.
West Ham United, fresh from a Europa League draw in Romania, are at home to Bournemouth on Sunday, when north-east rivals Sunderland and Middlesbrough meet at the Stadium of Light.
Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)
Manchester United v Southampton (1900 GMT)
Burnley v Liverpool, Leicester v Arsenal (1630 GMT), Stoke v Manchester City (1130 GMT), Swansea v Hull, Tottenham v Crystal Palace, Watford v Chelsea, West Brom v Everton
Sunderland v Middlesbrough (1230 GMT), West Ham v Bournemouth (1500 GMT)