(Photo credit: REUTERS/Carl Recine)
Tottenham Hotspur will host Liverpool on Saturday with another chance to prove the legitimacy of their promising start, while the visitors also could solidify their contending credentials with a result.
The Spurs (4-0-2, 14 points) are possibly the most positive surprise of the young Premier League season, a trend that continued with last Sunday's 2-2 draw at derby rivals Arsenal.
It's not just Tottenham's fourth-place standing in the table under first-year boss Ange Postecoglou. Nor is it just that the accomplishments have come following the summer transfer of club all-time leading scorer Harry Kane to German giants Bayern Munich.
It's a newfound attacking endeavor that has perhaps most impressed neutrals after the cagier tactics of previous full-time manager Antonio Conte, which has even brought chatter about the start of a new era in which the club could move away from the "loveable loser" label.
For Postecoglou's part, he thinks that idea is a bit of an exaggeration, given Spurs have finished fourth or better in five of the past eight seasons. It's only that a major trophy has evaded the North London club since they won the League Cup in 2008.
"Sometimes these things can become overblown." Postecoglou said. "This club's been near the top of the table for quite a while now. It's far from being a club that has fallen on bad times for a long time. Obviously, there's a crucial bit missing there -- but we have the opportunity to change that."
Son Heung-Min leads all Spurs scorers with five league goals after his brace against the Gunners, and he's one of Spurs' four multiple-goal scorers.
For second-place Liverpool (5-0-1, 16 points), it's been a similar attack-by-committee approach to the club's own impressive start, winning seven consecutive games in all competitions and five in a row in the league.
Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are tied for the team lead with three league goals, and as a team, the Reds have been remarkably consistent by scoring exactly three goals in all but one of those eight wins.
They're two points back of Manchester City, and carry the credibility that comes from being the last club, other than City, to win the league -- that in the 2019-20 campaign. Even so, manager Jurgen Klopp is stressing this is a different time after considerable roster turnover and a disappointing fifth-place finish a season ago.
"We called it a new start, this is Year 1 for this team," Klopp said. "I know these are only words but we live it. We gave ourselves a chance to create a basis and use it, and not constantly comparing with other teams."
--Field Level Media