Monday 25 September 2017

Jurgen Klopp v Mauricio Pochettino

Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino met at Anfield
Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino met at Anfield

Two of the Premier League's highest-profile managers in Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino met as Liverpool hosted Tottenham at Anfield.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses their performances.

SELECTION

With Dejan Lovren still injured and Ragnar Klavan not fully fit, Klopp again had to deploy Lucas as a makeshift centre-back alongside Joel Matip. It is not an ideal situation but the Reds looked solid enough with Georginio Wijnaldum's return in midfield for Emre Can the only change to the Reds line-up. Spurs were unchanged but Pochettino's back four was also under strength with Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose still out.

TACTICS

In the first half Liverpool did everything associated with Klopp's teams - and did it very well. They closed down Spurs at every opportunity, giving the visitors very little time on the ball, and attacked with pace and vigour. Spurs could do very little about it. Whatever Pochettino's initial game plan was, Liverpool made them look mediocre and thoroughly deserved their 2-0 half-time lead.

CHANGES

Liverpool will naturally have tired in the second half but Spurs, presumably on Pochettino's instruction, also did their best to try to disrupt their play a lot more. The game became scrappier as a result and the visitors started to gain a foothold. Liverpool, however, proved to be resilient and well organised and Spurs could not break them down. Substitutes Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko made little difference.

DEMEANOUR

Klopp was stood on the touchline throughout. He was maybe not as demonstrative as he can be but he was very much absorbed in the action, gesturing at, cajoling and applauding his players. Pochettino was seen in his technical area less and cut a subdued figure when he did appear, with arms folded or hands in his pockets. To be fair, it was a cold night, though.

OUTCOME

Klopp will be delighted with his side's return to form after a dismal start to 2017. The Reds were at their at their formidable best in the first half and destroyed the side second in the Premier League. It may now be too late to revive a title challenge but hopes will be high for them if they can find consistency. It was a bad night for Pochettino. Spurs remain a fine side but this was a reminder of their vulnerabilities.

Press Association

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