‘Kloppomania’ has been rife for the past week or so. German manager Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool has been greeted with a level of hysteria not witnessed since Jose Mourinho, over ten years ago, signed on the dotted line at Chelsea and changed the face of English football. Although the 48-year-old may not do the same at Anfield, his charisma and track record are exciting, and the international break only served to increase the level of frenzy before his opening game at Spurs.
In truth it was a bit of a damp squib as the London club held the Reds to a 0-0 at White Hart Lane. That said, there were plenty of encouraging signs for the Merseysiders, whose can now debate just where their side are heading now with Klopp at the helm.
We watched the full 90 minutes, and here are THREE things we took from the performance:
In the week or so since Klopp’s arrival, much of the attention focused upon the German tactician has surrounded which players will be key during his Anfield tenure. Christian Benteke as a target man? Mamadou Sakho as a ball-playing centre-back? Alberto Moreno with his energy from left-back?
Although the aforementioned trio, and more, may be vital players, Emre Can could be more important than any other. The burly German’s tenacity, physicality and classy passing appear to be the midfield foundation that Klopp will build on, perhaps with Jordan Henderson alongside. The ex-Bayer Leverkusen man was impressive against Spurs, and could benefit from being given a regular role in a set position – a luxury he did not have under Brendan Rodgers.
6 of the 8 tackles Liverpool won in the first half were inside the opposition’s half. Great pressure off the ball. pic.twitter.com/hZqf2s9txt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 17, 2015
A new word has been introduced into Kopites’ vocabulary since Klopp’s arrival: ‘gegenpressing’. Although it sounds a little exotic, basically this tactic, made famous by the German boss at Dortmund, is the art of pressing opposing players high up the pitch in formation to generate moments of transition when the ball is lost. These vital seconds open up chances, with players out of position.
Through the first half in particular the Reds were actively employing this approach, with the majority of their successful tackles coming in the Spurs half. The tempo dipped a little after the break, but given time Klopp will be able to work on his players’ fitness and tactical awareness.
With Daniel Sturridge’s latest knee issues, allied to Danny Ings’ season-ending injury and Christian Benteke’s own fitness woes, Klopp was forced to use Divock Origi as a lone forward. The 20-year-old, signed in 2014, but loaned to Lille, is undoubtedly a talent, but he’s extremely raw, and that was shown at White Hart Lane with some erratic movement, albeit he was effective in terms of link-up play.
Klopp will surely be hoping for greater potency from his side, and with Benteke and Sturridge’s fitness records questionable, could he look for a signing in January?