Liverpool defender Andy Robertson is set for a long spell on the sidelines as he is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty but having been assessed on his return to Merseyside the club have decided an operation is the best solution.

“There is a little bit there, I think the decision is we go towards surgery,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“There is a little chance we could try without but talking to pretty much all experts it looks like surgery will be the best thing, especially in the long term definitely, and that means he is out for a while.

“I don’t know exactly how long but it is shoulder surgery so not exactly an easy one.

“In my experience you can train pretty quickly again but not football-specific because you have to be careful of challenges and all these kind of things so he will be out for a while.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“It looks like surgery will be the best,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“That means he will be out for a while. Shoulder surgery is not an easy one.”

Everton winger Jack Harrison took advice from Frank Lampard about the importance of having an on-field ego and believes he is reaping the benefits.

The rookie professional had to pluck up the courage to knock on the experienced England international’s hotel room door when they were team-mates at New York City.

He asked about confidence and Lampard, who was sacked as Everton manager six months before Harrison arrived, spoke to him about ego and self-belief.

It is advice he has carried with him since moving back to England with Leeds and now on loan at Goodison Park.

His confidence was boosted further by his maiden Everton goal – a brilliant instinctive lob over Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto – in only his third appearance in which the wise words of Lampard probably played some part.

“I remember going to Frank’s room one time, knocking on his door asking for advice on certain mentality, how to be. I sat in his room and just chatted for half-an-hour,” said Harrison, who gained more valuable information after four seasons with Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.

“I think having that ego and confidence on the pitch was something that maybe challenged me a little bit. It was difficult for me to bring out.

“But after talking to Frank (he said) it was something he applied to himself. When you step out on that pitch he used to tell himself he was the best player.

“It doesn’t have to be in a nasty way or anything but it’s definitely important to have.

“I was watching an interview Zlatan Ibrahimovic did where he said he felt like God when he was on the pitch. Maybe I’m not at that level but it’s nice to hear similar stories.

“When you are lining up against Mo Salah you have to do your best against them. That mentality, feeling like you belong, is a big part of it.”

Harrison’s two seasons in New York playing alongside Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Silva and managed by Patrick Vieira were formative but after being brought home by Manchester City his real development came at Leeds.

Bielsa’s methods were so intense the 26-year-old still has ‘flashbacks’.

“It was beyond anything I’d seen before,” said Harrison ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside derby.

“Because everything was so regimented and we were working so hard the three years almost flew by. I don’t think in all of that time I took a step back to really enjoy playing with him.

“Looking back now, I just wish I enjoyed it a little bit more in the moment but I’m super grateful.

“It has made me the player I am today working with him, building those foundations when I first came back to England.

“I know what the standard is. If I’m ever struggling or lose sight of where I need to be, I can always go back to that time.


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“Sometimes even on a day off I will have in the back of my mind, ‘OK, I need to do something today.’ Some of the guys here (at Everton) will say ‘Bielsa has drilled you so much’.

“It is a good kind of characteristic to have in your back pocket just in case you need it.”

For all the football input the biggest influence on his career is mum Debbie, who took him away from Liverpool’s academy when he was a six and Manchester United’s when he was 14 to send him to a United States boarding school for a better chance of success.

“Her providing me with that opportunity at the time was definitely outside the box. I was an only child and she was a single mother. I have to give all the credit to my mum,” said Harrison.

“Coming back to England I wanted to do everything I could to repay here for that, be it a house or a car or she doesn’t have to work any more.

“Going to New York and playing professionally for the first time I was really thankful to my mum because there were a lot of people saying ‘Oh why didn’t you stay at Man United?’.

“I’d always had that in the back of my mind because I’d seen the likes of Scott McTominay come up and absolutely smash it with the first team. I did think, ‘What could have happened if I’d stayed at United?’.

“But as soon as I made it to New York and saw where I was it gave me a different perspective where I was able to thrive.

“At that point I thought ‘It doesn’t matter what would have happened, this is my path now’. There’s nothing you can do about the past so you have to keep looking forward.”

Harvey Elliott insists he is ready to take his game to the next level as he eyes Euro 2024.

The Liverpool midfielder captained England Under-21s for the first time on Monday, leading the Young Lions as they slipped to a late 3-2 defeat to Ukraine in Slovakia.

He returns to domestic action this weekend, looking to force his way into the Liverpool line-up for Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton.

Despite a frustrating lack of starts for the Reds this term, Euro 2024 remains a real goal for Elliott, after England’s 3-1 win over Italy on Tuesday booked their place in Germany, and he is primed to take his chance.

He said: “Absolutely, I’ve felt ready for a while now. It’s just about making sure I keep applying myself to be the best possible player and person I can be.

“It’s a nice goal to reach and aim towards. The tunnel vision is there, it’s taking it game-by-game, and if the opportunity comes I’ll be the happiest kid in the world.

“The Under-21s is my main focus, make sure I’m applying myself and being the best possible person and player for myself.

“If you’re not doing that there’s no change. You have to do the basics right, set a good example, and if the opportunity comes it comes. If not, you have to keep working and, hopefully, one day it will come.”

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Elliott has started just once in the Premier League this term but came off at half time in the 2-2 draw at Brighton just before the international break.

Jurgen Klopp’s summer midfield refresh has seen Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Naby Keita and Fabinho leave Liverpool, with Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch joining.

The competition has restricted Elliott to 164 minutes in the Premier League and he is under no illusions about the challenge at Anfield.

He said: “I’m just trying to take everything from Hendo and Milner, big characters in the dressing room who have left. I’m not trying to be the next Hendo or Milly but be the best version of myself and the leader I’ve learned to be off them.

“I always knew the season was going to be like this. Liverpool, being a world-class team, are always going to attract unbelievable players and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

“It’s healthy competition. Not everyone is guaranteed to play, and when you get your chance you have to make sure you take it. The quality is there, it’s about applying it on the pitch.

“I feel I can do a job wherever I’m put. The most important thing is putting that red shirt on and playing. I’m working as hard as I can to get into the team.

“It’s down to me to make sure I apply myself and not only show the boss but show the world I’m good enough to play wherever I’m put.”

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The former Fulham youngster also cherishes his relationship with Mo Salah as he learns off the forward.

“He’s always helping me out. We have a great relationship when we play. Off the pitch we’re always talking and I’m always trying to learn off him,” said Elliott.

“For me to look up to him, he’s the best possible player. As well as play with him, I’m trying to be as good as him, if that’s possible.

“He’s a great guy and an unbelievable player. To look up to him and everyone else in the team is great, I’m grateful to be playing with these guys.”

What the papers say

The battle to bring Napoli striker Victor Osimhen to the Premier League is hotting up, with Liverpool joining the chase, according to The Sun. Chelsea and Arsenal are already reportedly keen on the 24-year-old Nigerian, who is valued at around £95 million.

Newcastle are also looking at a Nigerian striker to add to their squad. The Sun reports they are considering a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface, 22.

Jadon Sancho will be allowed to leave Manchester United in January, according to the Daily Mirror. The England winger, 23, will be made available after showing no hint of ending his feud with manager Erik ten Hag.

Former Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos could be heading to Bayern Munich. According to the Daily Mirror, the German giants could make an emergency move for the 35-year-old Greek as they tackle a mounting injury crisis.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Luis Suarez: The 36-year-old Uruguay striker, now with Gremio in Brazil, is the latest target for Inter Miami.

Thiago Silva: The Brazilian defender, 39, has hinted he could return home to Fluminense when his Chelsea contract ends in the summer.

What the papers say

Newcastle have emerged as likely candidates to end England midfielder Kalvin Phillips’ frustrating time at Manchester City. According to the Daily Mail, they are preparing a bid for the 27-year-old.

Liverpool are showing an interest in Bayern Munich’s former Chelsea youth player Jamal Musiala, 20. The Daily Mirror, via German outlet Sport Bild, said the German international’s agents were not discussing a new contract with the Bundesliga club.

Off the pitch, The i reports that former Tottenham head of recruitment Paul Mitchell is tipped to become the new director of football at Manchester United. Current Old Trafford football director John Murtough’s role is at risk from the move.

Social media round-up Players to watch

Assan Ouedrago: Liverpool are among the Premier League clubs keeping an eye on the 17-year-old Schalke midfielder, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Goncalo Inacio: 90.min reports the Anfield club are also keen on Sporting’s 22-year-old Portugal defender.

VARs Darren England and Daniel Cook will return to Premier League duty this weekend following their error in last month’s fixture between Tottenham and Liverpool.

England and Cook were the VAR and VAR assistant respectively when Liverpool forward Luis Diaz’s goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside in Tottenham’s 2-1 home win.

Both officials were stood down the following week, but England will be back as the fourth official for Brentford’s home game against Burnley on Saturday and Cook will return as assistant referee for Sheffield United’s home match against Manchester United.

Miscommunication between VAR England and referee Simon Hooper led to Diaz’s goal being wrongly ruled out on September 30, with the incident later described by referees’ chief Howard Webb as “a clear error”.

Hooper is the designated VAR for Newcastle’s home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

New VAR guidelines were introduced in the wake of the Diaz disallowed goal controversy, while audio of the incident was later released.

England mistakenly thought the on-field officials had ruled Diaz to be onside, which meant that when he told them ‘check complete’ they believed he had upheld their on-field decision and restarted play with a free-kick.

Once play had restarted, there was nothing the VARs could do to revisit the decision under existing protocols.

Referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said it would develop a new VAR communication protocol in an effort to avoid similar mistakes being made in future.

PGMOL said the protocol would “enhance the clarity of communication between the referee and the VAR team in relation to on-field decisions”.

VARs will now also confirm the outcome of the checking process with the assistant VAR before confirming the final decision to the on-field officials.

One of the talking points from the latest round of fixtures was referee Michael Oliver’s decision not to send off Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic for a challenge on Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.

The City midfielder was shown a yellow card before avoiding another shortly afterwards and Webb later admitted Kovacic was “fortunate” to stay on the pitch.

Oliver will referee Sheffield United’s home game against Manchester United on Saturday.

What the papers say

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips could leave the club in January to go to German giants Bayern Munich, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old, who continues to struggle for game time under Pep Guardiola, would join up with England team-mate Harry Kane at the Bundesliga champions.

The Express says Newcastle are interested in Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe in the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old midfielder has already played twice for England but has only played in six games for Arsenal in all competitions this season.

The Saudi Pro League’s director of football has labelled Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as one of his “personal favourites” after the club turned down huge deals from Al Ittihad last summer, the Metro says.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Toni Kroos: Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo says Manchester City are interested in the 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder when his contact expires next summer.

Arthur Vermeeren: The 18-year-old midfielder at Royal Antwerp is being sought by Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has raised the prospect of the game’s lawmakers examining whether audio between referees and VARs should be available live.

Miscommunication between VAR Darren England and referee Simon Hooper led to a Luis Diaz goal for Liverpool at Tottenham being wrongly disallowed last month, leading to further calls for such conversations to be played out in real time.

The incident caused huge controversy, with Reds manager Jurgen Klopp even calling for the match to be replayed.

Broadcasting the conversations between on-field officials and VARs live is currently prohibited under football’s laws.

Bullingham, who is a director at the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which has the power to change the game’s laws, said the organisation had discussed the subject but added: “Generally there is a split in the room over that, and quite often it is between the marketing and commercial people and the referees.

“Our point of view, from the marketing and commercial perspective, would normally be that transparency is a really good thing, and we want fans to have the maximum experience.”

Bullingham said an ongoing FIFA trial where referees announce and explain the outcome of an on-field review is a “step in the right direction” but added: “My personal point of view is I do think (live audio) will continue to be a question over time, because the greater transparency shows how difficult the referee’s job is, and it has worked in other sport.

“There is an understandable nervousness from others that the referee’s job is hard enough as it is. In a tournament you have referees with multiple languages, so it is not as straightforward as some might suggest.

“So I think we are taking a step in the right direction with announcing the decision and explaining why it has been reached. Let’s see if that leads to further progression.”

Bullingham’s Irish FA counterpart and fellow IFAB director Patrick Nelson spoke more cautiously on the VAR decision-making process, adding: “We just need to see more evidence on this at the moment.

“It’s interesting when we look at recent examples but we still need to remember that VAR as an entire concept is relatively in its infancy compared to the game of football and compared to IFAB. There is still more that we can learn.”

The PA news agency understands the IFAB is set to open up the trial of in-stadium announcements by referees beyond FIFA events to other interested competitions.

The IFAB may also look again at the wording of Principle 10 in the VAR protocol, which currently prevents VARs from revisiting a decision once play has restarted and meant the officials could not call play back after the Diaz error.

It could be updated to allow a decision to be revisited where a clear mistake has occurred, and where no significant action has taken place since play restarted.

Bullingham also said he was aware IFAB had been asked to consider widening the scope of VAR to rule on decisions such as corner kick and free-kick awards.

“I think we would be really reluctant to have a game that was stopped a lot more than it currently is, but that will be a proper discussion,” he added.

VAR interventions are currently limited to goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity.

Referees’ chief Howard Webb expressed his disappointment that VAR was unable to “rectify a clear error” following Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal for Liverpool against Tottenham.

Miscommunication between video assistant referee Darren England and referee Simon Hooper led to the winger’s goal being wrongly ruled out for offside in a 2-1 Premier League defeat for the Reds on September 30.

Audio of the incident was released in the aftermath and, speaking on an episode of ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’ on Sky Sports on Tuesday, Professional Game Match Officials Limited technical director Webb admitted the situation was frustrating.

“We took the unusual step of releasing the audio from this situation not long after it happened,” he said.

“We wanted to show everybody what was very quickly pretty apparent to us, a human error and loss of concentration.

“Of course we’re all disappointed the VAR system didn’t step in and rectify a clear error that we’d seen on the field with the disallowing of the goal.

“Nobody’s more disappointed than the officials themselves, they take pride in their work and want to be a positive influence on the game, but of course in this situation it wasn’t the case.”

Referees’ body PGMOL confirmed that new VAR communication guidelines would be applied.

“One of the things we have to do is put things in place so that, should we have human error, it doesn’t have the damage or the impact that we saw on this occasion,” Webb added when asked about the language officials use.

“One of the things that this has brought into sharp focus is the need to reiterate some of those communication protocols that are really valuable in VAR to prevent this kind of thing happening.”

One of the talking points from the latest round of fixtures at the weekend was the decision not to send off Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic for a challenge on Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.

The City midfielder was shown a yellow card before avoiding another shortly afterwards and Webb admitted Kovacic was “fortunate” to stay on the pitch.

“I do (think he was),” he said.

“I mean obviously the VAR can’t get involved, second yellows are something that the VAR is not able to get involved in, but I think he was an extremely fortunate player to stay on the field of play.

“The referee – one of our best referees, one of the best referees in the world – Michael Oliver, will no doubt review that.”

Roberto De Zerbi praised Jurgen Klopp after the Liverpool manager intervened to try and calm him as he protested against a refereeing decision during the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

The Italian was shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor for remonstrating with the fourth official when his team were denied a penalty for a possible handball against Virgil van Dijk.

The ball struck the defender on the leg and bounced up onto his arm, with the manager insistent his side should have been given a spot-kick as they sought a way back from 2-1 down.

Klopp went into Brighton’s technical area to try and sooth the situation, putting his arms around De Zerbi in what he described as “using his age” to try and assuage the situation.

De Zerbi, who saw his side come back to draw for the second time in three days after Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Marseille, said that whilst he felt his team were hard done by over the decision, he believed the foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold on Solly March from which Brighton later equalised through Lewis Dunk should not have been a free-kick.

“I love Klopp,” he said. “He can do what he wants because I have a big respect and I consider him one of the best coaches in the world. I like his behaviour, and when he says something, 99 per cent I agree with him.

“In that situation, I think there was a clear penalty and I told the referee, I think in a good way, what I thought in the moment.

“I think there was a penalty, but there wasn’t a foul when we scored the second goal. I’m honest, and I told Jurgen my opinion.”

Brighton are sixth going into the international break having won five of their first eight Premier League games.

De Zerbi has made an average of seven changes between matches this season as he seeks to navigate the demands made by a first season in Europe for the club.

Despite recording a fourth winless game in a row in all competitions the manager praised his players’ character, particularly in the context of bouncing back from the 6-1 defeat against Aston Villa to register two comeback draws.

“The most important thing for me has been the reaction after Villa Park,” he said. “We started the game in Marseille, one of the best stadiums in Europe, and we started losing 2-0. After that moment, there was only one team on the pitch – Brighton.

“To do it, you have to show character, to show the right attitude, the right behaviour and passion. The most important thing in my idea of football is passion, is the character.

“After that we can speak about tactical disposition, the quality of the players, recruitment. But without that part of football, in my opinion, you can’t play or work in football.”

Jurgen Klopp praised the work of Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi after watching his Liverpool side play out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.

The Reds looked on course for the win when Mohamed Salah scored the second of two goals in the final moments of the first half, converting from the penalty spot after Dominik Szoboszlai had been hauled down by Pascal Gross.

Minutes earlier Salah had pulled his side level when he slotted beyond Bart Verbruggen having been put through on goal by Harvey Elliott’s pass.

Brighton had started the brighter and led after 20 minutes, a careless pass by Alisson in the Liverpool goal putting Alexis Mac Allister under pressure and letting in Simon Adingra to score with a clever early shot.

And De Zerbi’s side had the final word when Lewis Dunk turned in Solly March’s free-kick to salvage a point.

The Brighton boss was booked during the second half for remonstrating with the fourth official when he believed his side should have had a penalty for handball against Virgil van Dijk, with Klopp intervening on the touchline to try to placate the Italian.

Despite failing to see out the win, Liverpool’s manager talked up the impact that his counterpart has had since arriving on the south coast a little more than a year ago.

“I have to say I could not respect more what he is doing,” said Klopp. “I’m a real supporter of it, I’m a football lover and if someone comes in with the impact he has on football, that shouldn’t be underestimated.

“In the moment when he got outraged, I used my age and tried to calm him down. I had no clue what they (De Zerbi and the fourth official) were talking about, I just saw them. If I am in a moment like this, there’s a moment of no going back that appears and I think he was close to that. I tried to calm him down.

“I’m not sure if he needed it or not. He told me something about a penalty but I had no clue what he was talking about. I think he wanted a penalty.”

The manager added he believed the outcome was fair after both sides wasted chances to win it, Liverpool when Ryan Gravenberch struck the crossbar at 2-1 before Joao Pedro blazed over from 10 yards for Brighton in the final minutes.

“I think unfortunately yes (the result was fair),” said Klopp. “1-0, (the goal was) served on a plate. Then a similar situation, we forced them to make similar mistakes around our goals. 2-1 up is a good result for half-time here, it’s a really good team and it’s difficult to defend them.

“We wanted to do high pressing, it was the right thing to do. But in the same moment it caused the issue that they play out from time to time, we don’t win the ball and then the pitch is really big. They do that well.

“The second half we should have scored for 3-1, one or two really good opportunities. But because we don’t score there, we keep the game open.

“It was intense for both teams. I think it’s the right result in the end.”

De Zerbi reflected on a match he believed his team deserved to win but reiterated concerns about the ease with which Brighton have conceded goals this season.

“It’s a good point. I think we played better than Liverpool, especially the first half. We close the first half losing 2-1 but we conceded two goals in a very bad way. We didn’t understand how we were losing in that moment.

“In the second half they could have closed the game. In general I think it was a good game, both teams played well. At the moment I’m sorry because we’re conceding too many goals.

“We’re working a lot but maybe its not enough. Or maybe in football it can happen that you have a period where you conceded too many goals when you don’t deserve to.”

Lewis Dunk’s late equaliser earned Brighton a 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool at the Amex Stadium.

Winger Simon Adingra took advantage of an error from Alisson in the visitors’ goal to give the Seagulls the lead midway through the first half.

But the game turned on its head before the break, Mohamed Salah slotting home to level after being played in by Harvey Elliott, then firing Jurgen Klopp’s side in front with a penalty after Pascal Gross had hauled down Dominik Szoboszlai.

Ryan Gravenberch spurned a golden chance to seal the win when he struck the bar with the goal at his mercy, before the final word went to the home side, Dunk volleying in 12 minutes from the end to keep Brighton sixth.

Roberto De Zerbi made six changes from the side that drew 2-2 in Marseille on Thursday, in keeping with the trend in the early weeks of the club’s debut season in Europe. Yet in the first period they appeared to pick up where they left off in storming back from two down to draw in the Stade Velodrome.

Their first chance came after only four minutes. Dunk got free at the back post from a corner and nodded back across goal, the ball sitting up at a good height for Joao Pedro whose shot deflected wide.

The opening goal was a calamity of Liverpool’s own making. Alisson played a careless pass to the feet of Alexis Mac Allister, seemingly oblivious to the lurking Adingra. He stole in to nick the ball from the former Brighton player, and with quick thinking took the shot early and rolled it inside the post before goalkeeper Alisson could recover and set himself.

Liverpool were shaken and Brighton began to take a hold of the game. Carlos Baleba exposed the visitors’ porous midfield when he collected inside his own half and drove through the heart of Klopp’s side, carrying the ball to the edge of the box before checking back and dragging a left-footed effort inches wide.

Liverpool equalised against the run of play after 39 minutes. Dunk gave the ball away to Szoboszlai near halfway and the Hungarian fed it forward to Darwin Nunez. He moved it on to Luis Diaz, whose ball in to Elliott was perfectly weighted for him to set up Salah to slot home.

Salah gave Liverpool the lead from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after Bart Verbruggen playing an awkward pass to Gross that put the midfielder under pressure. He was dispossessed by Szoboszlai and in a desperate attempt to recover the ball he yanked down the Liverpool midfielder, allowing Salah to step up and bag his second from the spot.

The hosts almost restored parity in the first few minutes of the second half, Evan Ferguson finding Adingra with a reaching pass into the right channel. Adingra darted beyond Andy Robertson and feinted to shoot, instead cutting back inside and hitting a low effort that was well saved by Alisson.

Gravenberch, on as a half-time substitute, wasted a glorious chance to extend the lead when he struck the crossbar with the goal gaping from Szoboszlai’s cross, before the Hungarian turned provider for Diaz who burst into the box and blasted wide.

Karou Mitoma thought he had won Brighton a penalty after 69 minutes, cracking a shot at goal from six yards that appeared to ricochet onto the arm of Joel Matip. The award never came, and furious De Zerbi was booked for remonstrating with the fourth official.

Brighton’s equaliser was no more than their assured performance warranted.

Solly March’s whipped free-kick from the left had pace and bend, and as Andy Robertson missed it at the near post it was met first time by Dunk, who thumped home on the volley.

Pedro should have won it when he was left unmarked from 10 yards out, instead the striker leaned back and ballooned a glorious chance over as an entertaining game finished level.

Micky van de Ven’s first goal in English football fired 10-man Tottenham to the Premier League summit with a 1-0 win at Luton.

Spurs entered this fixture following a controversial 2-1 victory over Liverpool last weekend, where Jurgen Klopp’s side were denied a legitimate goal due to a “significant human error” by VAR operator Darren England.

It meant three points for Ange Postecoglou’s team at Kenilworth Road would send them to the summit for at least 24 hours, but they had to work hard for it after Yves Bissouma was sent off in first-half stoppage-time.

Bissouma was booked twice in quick succession by referee John Brooks, the second for simulation, but Van de Ven’s close-range finish in the 52nd minute earned Tottenham a hard-fought win.

This was the first meeting between the clubs since 1992 and the hostile atmosphere was a throwback to that era with even TNT pundits Rio Ferdinand and Peter Crouch booed ahead of kick-off.

Spurs had put seven goals past the other newly-promoted teams this season and should have added to that tally inside 10 minutes.

Richarlison was guilty of fluffing his lines twice, firing off target via his shin with the goal at his mercy from Dejan Kulusevski’s third-minute cross before Thomas Kaminski denied the Brazilian with his feet after James Maddison’s slick through ball 60 seconds later.

Pedro Porro was next to squander an excellent opportunity when Son Heung-min played him through and he fired wide. The Tottenham captain also curled into the stand before Luton started to settle.

Huge cheers greeted the Hatters’ first corner in the 25th minute, although top goalscorer Carlton Morris could only send his header off target following Alfie Doughty’s delivery.

The visitors remained a threat and a driving run by Pape Sarr set up Kulusevski, but Kaminski produced an excellent fingertip save to parry the 18-yard curler wide.

Luton had the ball in the net after 39 minutes but it was immediately ruled out and a VAR check showed Elijah Adebayo had shoved Cristian Romero.

Doughty’s free-kick dropped for Adebayo, who after pushing Romero flicked over Guglielmo Vicario and onto the post where Lockyer headed in, only for it to be disallowed.

The free-kick came from a Bissouma foul on Chiedozie Ogbene and referee Brooks booked the Tottenham midfielder for a professional foul.

A second yellow card followed in first-half stoppage time for simulation when Bissouma went down under close proximity from Marvelous Nakamba, but there was no contact and Brooks correctly sent off the visiting player.

Luton should have taken the lead two minutes after half-time when Ogbene held off Destiny Udogie and crossed in for Adebayo, but he could not steer his effort on target.

The hosts were hit with a sucker-punch in the 52nd minute when Van de Ven opened his account for Tottenham.

After a number of corners in quick succession, it proved third time lucky for Postecoglou’s side when Maddison collected Kulusevski’s short corner and brilliantly spun away from Doughty before he cut back for Van de Ven to slot home from six yards.

It briefly silenced the partisan Kenilworth Road crowd but they were soon roaring their team on and Doughty dragged wide soon after the opener.

Morris tested Vicario minutes later and, although Porro sent an effort just past the post for Tottenham in the 62nd minute, Luton started to build momentum.

Jacob Brown headed over before substitute Cauley Woodrow had a weak shot saved.

A deflected effort wide by Doughty was the final warning sign for Postecoglou, who introduced Emerson Royal and Oliver Skipp for Son and Maddison with 14 minutes left but Spurs held on to go top.

Virgil Van Dijk is excited by Liverpool’s blend of youth and experience and hopes it can propel them to success this season.

The Dutchman was named as the Reds’ new captain this summer following the departure of Jordan Henderson, who was among a number of long-serving players to leave Anfield.

This season has seen Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp blood young talents like 17-year-old winger Ben Doak and 20-year-old defender Jarell Quansah along with new signings Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch.

Van Dijk told the PA news agency: “I don’t see it as a challenge, things happen for a reason, players move on and new players come in, players get new roles and I think that’s a very exciting thing.

“Obviously the captain has changed, the vice-captain has changed, the leadership group has changed, the players have different responsibilities outside the pitch. I think everyone is enjoying their roles at the moment and the team spirit is very high.

“Everyone is realising that everyone has a role to play and, whether you start, if you’re on the bench or whether you come on, everyone is trying to make a difference. I think so far that’s really good and that’s the basis of success.

“I think the squad we have at the moment looks very exciting. We have the quality to make it difficult for every team in the world.”

Van Dijk enjoys helping guide the younger members of the squad, saying: “You feel a responsibility. I know exactly how I was when I came up the ranks when I was younger.

“It’s never easy and, as one of the older guys, one of the experienced guys, I want to help them where I can.

“Obviously you don’t need to hold their hands but you need to make sure they’re able to perform in the best way possible and I think so far everyone is really enjoying doing that and we have to just keep that level.”

The Reds certainly seem to have turned a corner after last season’s struggles, winning seven games in a row in all competitions prior to last weekend’s controversial loss to Tottenham.

Van Dijk admits it was initially tough to move on following Luis Diaz’s wrongly disallowed goal and red cards for Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota, but he said: “It’s part of life. Obviously it’s difficult but life gives you challenges so you have to deal with it.

“You definitely can take a lot of positive things out of that game. Obviously it’s quite difficult when you lose to see the positive things immediately and that was definitely a difficult period after the game but a couple of days later you realise and you analyse certain things.

“I was really proud to see how strong my team was as a unit. It’s something to build on and we will build on this and just keep going.”

Next up for Liverpool is an away trip on Sunday to Brighton, who will be looking for a response of their own after last weekend’s 6-1 hammering by Aston Villa.

“It’s not really about showing a reaction, it’s just trying to play the best game that you can do at that time,” said Van Dijk. “It’s the last game before the international break so we want to finish this part of the season well.


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“Obviously they had a difficult result the other day but I think they’re a very, very good team with a very good manager, a clear style of play and it’s always been difficult the games we’ve played against them over the last couple of years.

“It’s going to be tough but we have to be confident and try to do everything in our power to win the game. Obviously we have the quality to make it difficult for them and we have to show it.

“The main thing for us is to stay consistent. That’s the key to winning something. And obviously no injuries, and that’s what we try to avoid. I’m very happy with the start we had as a team.”

Van Dijk was speaking in his new role as an ambassador for McDonald’s Fun Football, the largest free grass-roots participation programme in the UK, which offers 250,000 children every year the opportunity to play for free.

“I’m so glad that I’m part of this whole campaign,” said the 32-year-old. “I just want to be an example for the kids. The last free football session I attended in the city centre of Liverpool I took my two eldest daughters with me and they had an amazing time.”

:: McDonald’s Fun Football offers girls and boys, aged 5-11, access to fun and inclusive coaching across the UK for free. Sign up now at

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