Tottenham must show aggression to beat Liverpool - Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino is demanding an aggressive performance against Liverpool and more consistency in future, having been dismayed by the different levels of intensity he saw against Manchester United and Watford.
Spurs triumphed 3-0 at Old Trafford last month, extending a winning start to three matches, but then lost 2-1 against Watford before the international break.
"If we take [Saturday's match] in the same way, rather than take off players I will be on the phone to say 'Houston, we have a problem!'" Pochettino said. "Come on. If, against Liverpool at Wembley, you don't have the desire and the focus to play... We're not talking about playing well, it's about the attitude and saying 'come on, we are aggressive and we try to win.'
"If you watch the Watford game again, you see we played so slow, so sloppy, from the beginning. It was like we thought 'OK, it's a nice afternoon in Watford, Elton John is in the stands.' It was like going for a walk in Hyde Park with my child."
The frustration for Pochettino is that he spotted the warning signs after the victory over United, and publicly warned his players not to get caught up in their own hype ahead of the trip to Watford.
Given the disappointment that followed, he is wary of framing Saturday's showdown with Liverpool as a duel between title contenders.
"For me, it's too early," he said. "If we review our press conference before Manchester United, it was like 'it's [a chance] to step up, to show whether we are capable to win at Old Trafford, [whether] we are going to be a contender, we are going to show the credentials to [challenge for the title].'
"But after we won at Old Trafford, we lost at Watford, and we were bad. After Manchester United, all the signals from the team were that we were going to crash, because when we finish the game 3-0, in some circumstances, we cannot talk about winning the Premier League.
"Of course, I am the guilty one because I saw that but I could not change that situation. Maybe I told them but it was difficult for different circumstances and we weren't right in the way that we prepared the game.
"Now to win against Liverpool can change the mood and change the perception and everything but still, if you win then after you need to win against Brighton, because you need to be consistent."
Saturday's clash will pit last season's top two Premier League goalscorers against each other. Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane scored 62 times between them in the top flight, with the Egyptian netting 32 of those and winning the Golden Boot.
"One [Salah] is more a player that plays on the side but now is a little bit playing inside, but he's a winger," said Pochettino. "The other is for me a more complete player, but both are complete players.
"I don't want to say nothing against one or the other because Harry is my player, and I am going to praise Harry and kill Salah. They are different in the way that they play and how they act on the pitch, but I think both are very good players."
Liverpool and Tottenham had contrasting transfer windows, with the Reds spending £170 million while Spurs did not sign a single player.
"I am not going to criticise and I am not going to be the victim because we didn't sign," Pochettino said. "Only that is the reality, and the reality is they have a very good team and they added very good players this summer.
"Of course that can be positive [for them]. And, for us, we believe it can be positive to keep our players and keep the same team. It's not a thing that worries me.
"Liverpool have a great manager, a great coaching staff, unbelievable players. In the last few years they have shown they are contenders for the Premier League and they played the final of the Champions League. To get there is because you have a great team. Of course they improved this summer and they will be tough to beat."