Alisson, Arsenal, Clubs, English Premier League, Liverpool, Story

Two games in and there are already a handful clubs out of form, amid injury crisis, or just plain bad. Here are the the storylines to look out for ahead of matchday three.

Jump to: Where is Lucas? | Chelsea need Rudiger | Watford can’t afford loss | No VAR, please

Will Liverpool have to change their approach?

It’s the weekend’s big game, an encounter between two clubs who sit atop of the nascent and entirely irrelevant Premier League table with 100 percent records. Liverpool vs. Arsenal has proved a slightly low-key but nonetheless spicy rivalry in recent years, providing thrilling games and occasional moments of brilliance.

Liverpool look to have started this season from where they left last term, with two wins so far and a couple of very satisfactory performances against Norwich and Southampton, but you wonder whether they might have to alter their style in the absence of Alisson, purely because of how the Brazilian uses his feet.

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– Reddy: Adrian’s first two weeks at Anfield

In some respects it’s unfair to expect any replacement to play as Alisson does, but his absence will surely alter the way Liverpool approach the game. With their first-choice in goal, they know that he will smartly play out from the back, and that his footwork in general compares to many outfield players, and the reassurance that he brings allows them to play with their standard intensity.

However, with the ball at his feet, Adrian — the aforementioned replacement — sometimes looks like he has been presented with a spherical explosive for some reason, treating it with the utmost suspicion and tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible. All of which in turn obviously creates uncertainty with everyone else. He has already given away one calamitous goal, laughed off by Jurgen Klopp, but you suspect another similar incident is more than possible.

Ultimately, Klopp must decide which of the two following options is least risky: Carry on in their current style and hope Adrian gets things right, or change things up and trust the rest of the team will get things right?

Jurgen Klopp has laughed off concerns about Adrian’s goalkeeping.

Why hasn’t Lucas been in the Spurs team this season?

No player at a top six club can feel entitled to a place in their team every week, but can feel they’re more deserving than others.

Take Lucas Moura for example: Hero of Tottenham’s win over Ajax in last season’s Champions League semifinal, he was left out of the final in favour of Son Heung-min. It was an understandable, if not harsh, call given how good Son has proved himself to be.

But with Son suspended for the first few games of the season, logically you would think that Moura would step in, but he’s yet to start any of Tottenham’s big games thus far. The question you would have to ask is: Why?

With Son out, Lucas would logically seem to be the Spurs forward who provides the closest sort of threat to the South Korea international, but he’s been left on the bench in favour of Erik Lamela so far.

Why Mauricio Pochettino has not called upon the Brazilian winger is a mystery to which he will only the answer, but you can’t help but feel that Spurs would be a much more threatening with him in it.

Will Lucas get a chance against Newcastle this weekend?

Rudiger return key for Chelsea

If you were to run a poll last season to identify Chelsea’s most important player, Antonio Rudiger would have been a long way down the list. However, he might have been bumped a long way up the ladder after Chelsea’s opening games of the season.

At times during their 1-1 draw with Leicester last Sunday, it felt like Chelsea were playing kamikaze football, attacking and attacking but leaving acres of space on the counter, and ultimately they were fortunate their opponents didn’t take more of the chances that presented themselves.

There has been an element of chaos to the Chelsea defence under Frank Lampard, which you could put down to a certain amount of inexperience, or simply a lack of quality in their defenders. Rudiger, fit again after missing the opening weeks of the season with a knee injury, could help solve both of those problems, and having a top class central defender in the side will be even more important if Lampard’s Chelsea carry on playing as they have been.

Watford need a win to calm some nerves

Among the clutch of clubs gathering at the edge of the big six, ready to pluck the weakest from the pack if one drops away, Watford were at the very least outside contenders. Leicester, Wolves and Everton all have their chance, but the steady improvement of Javi Gracia’s side over the past couple of seasons means the Hornets are surely one candidate to make a step up this term.

They might be slightly concerned therefore to have lost their opening two games of the season, and not to the most fearsome opposition the Premier League has to offer, either. A narrow away defeat to Everton is forgivable, but even Gracia admitted there was no excuse for the abject 3-0 loss to Brighton on the opening day.

These are still absurdly early days, but it will at the very least calm a few nerves at Vicarage Road if they can beat West Ham at home on Saturday. If not, alarm bells will be ringing.

Allow us just one VAR-free weekend

If there is some sort of football deity up there, an all-powerful force who controls everything that happens in the game, can we please ask this, just one time; please, no VAR incidents this weekend. Please. We beg of you.

We are only a couple of weeks into the new season and already the debates are circular and tedious, two sides of the argument unable or unwilling to see the other side’s point, discussions about what this huge change is doing to football.

We are realistic. We know this is here to stay. We know the coming years will be broadly dominated by this one subject. This is inevitable. But we just need a little break, one weekend where we can concentrate on the football, and only the football. Please. We don’t ask for much. But please give us this one, small thing.


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