Jurgen Klopp can steer Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League if they put Sunderland to the sword at Anfield on Saturday — unless a certain Jermain Defoe can spoil the party.
Their tenure at the summit could be brief, however, given that title rivals Chelsea could retain their position as league leaders at the conclusion of hosting Tottenham in a 5.30pm showdown.
And Manchester City also have a say on who heads the pile and, just to spread out the action over the course of the day they go to Burnley for a 12.30pm kick-off. City are amongst the top picks to win this weekend, but will rely on others to stay top by Monday.
But it isn’t the short-term bragging rights that are significant to Klopp and his team after what will be 13 games of the campaign.
What should be more keenly appreciated is that the Reds are considered serious contenders for the top flight crown. They are operatives of expansive, free-flowing and net-busting football this season and seasoned pundits and fans alike would argue the home side will prove far too strong for the Black Cats.
But whisper it on the red half of Mersesyide, but there is a school of thought that Sunderland, managed by a former Everton manager in the shape of David Moyes, will come to town quietly confident they can stifle Liverpool.
Current form shows that the Stadium of Light side have registered four defeats in their past six Premier League outings, compared with their opponents recording four wins from their half dozen games.
What is telling, though, is that Sunderland have won their previous two games; a hard-fought and somewhat fortuitous triumph on the south coast at Bournemouth, and a convincing 3-0 home win over struggling Hull last time out.
As for Defoe, it seems fitting that the in-form hotshot could take another step in his mission to surpass former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler’s goalscoring record.
Defoe, 34, scored his seventh league goal of the season win over the Tigers which took him onto 150 top flight goals. The former Tottenham and England forward now needs just 13 to move above Fowler on the all-time Premier League list.
Defoe said: ”It would be nice. Someone like Robbie Fowler, in my opinion one of the most natural finishers that this country has produced. I remember his goals, nice clean finisher, not much backlift”.
“If I can go above him it would be special”.
“It’s a long way to go but I’ll just take them as they come. I always believe that each game I play I’ll get a chance or half-chance and it’s just down to me to take it”.
That intent, plus his proven potency must be what Klopp’s rearguard should be wary of come kick-off on Saturday.