Sunday 25 February 2018

No winning start for Klopp - but Liverpool get the point at Tottenham

Jurgen Klopp had to settle for a point in his first Premier League game in charge
Jurgen Klopp had to settle for a point in his first Premier League game in charge

Jurgen Klopp, the self-proclaimed 'Normal One' left White Hart Lane with what he labelled a 'normal result' as his new Liverpool side drew 0-0 with Tottenham.

Much had been made of the German's arrival in the Barclays Premier League as replacement for Brendan Rodgers but, with main striker Daniel Sturridge not risked due to a minor knee injury, he could not start his much-heralded reign on Anfield with a victory.

Divock Origi, with only 17 minutes of Premier League football to his name, started in place of Sturridge and came closest to winning the game for the visitors - who had goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping a clean sheet.

Liverpool had won their previous five meetings with Spurs, including 5-0 and 3-0 wins here under Rodgers in their last two visits to north London - but Mauricio Pochettino, whose arrival to these shores in 2013 as manager of Southampton came without the fanfare given to his counterpart.

As it turned out, Pochettino's side did enough to win the game and, after the opening 30 minutes, were more than a match for Klopp's Liverpool.

Nacer Chadli was forced off in the early stages as he went down after defending a Liverpool corner, with Clinton Njie replacing him.

The Reds nearly took advantage of Chadli's absence as, with Spurs momentarily down to 10 men, Emre Can flicked on James Milner's corner and Origi's header came back off the crossbar with Hugo Lloris beaten.

Klopp had been stood on the touchline since the opening moments from where he watched his new charges dominate the opening 25 minutes - although they nearly fell behind after a sloppy pass from Adam Lallana.

The midfielder gifted the ball to England team-mate Harry Kane, who did well to pick of Njie on the edge of the box - with the Cameroon international drawing a great save out of Mignolet.

Spurs were now starting to pass the ball as well as Liverpool had been doing earlier in the half and Christian Eriksen saw a shot deflected behind for a corner as they looked to break the deadlock.

They came closer with two efforts shortly afterwards as Eriksen's threaded pass found Kane, who drew another smart stop out of Mignolet, with Mamadou Sakho on hand to keep out Dele Alli's follow-up attempt.

Klopp returned to his seat just in time to see a mix-up between Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel allow Njie to nip in an arrow a shot just over the bar as Tottenham continued to force the issue.

The second half started much more evenly with neither side enjoying the dominance they had both sampled in the opening 45 minutes.

Milner was lucky to remain on the pitch after charging into Danny Rose, with referee Craig Pawson not even awarding Spurs a free-kick as Liverpool countered and forced Lloris into a save from Origi.

With seven minutes remaining Kane was played in on the edge of the box by Eriksen, only to see Mignolet once again keep his effort out.

Can fired wide in the closing stages as Klopp's first match ended in the kind of stalemate the 48-year-old had deemed 'normal' at his pre-match press conference.

Liverpool will hope it does not remain that way in the early stages of a tenure they hope will finally deliver a league title.


"About £400m spent on those two squads. Doesn't buy you a good game does it?! #TOTvLIV"

- Alan Shearer @alanshearer



Hugo Lloris: 6 (out of 10)

Kyle Walker: 6

Toby Alderweireld: 7

Jan Vertonghen: 6

Danny Rose: 7

Mousa Dembele: 8

Dele Alli: 7

Erik Lamela: 7

Christian Eriksen: 6

Nacer Chadli: 5

Harry Kane: 6


Clinton Njie: 6

Andros Townsend: 6


Simon Mignolet: 8

Nathaniel Clyne: 6

Martin Skrtel: 6

Mamadou Sakho: 6

Alberto Moreno: 6

Emre Can: 7

Lucas: 6

James Milner: 6

Philippe Coutinho: 6

Adam Lallana: 6

Divock Origi: 6


Joe Allan: 6

Jordon Ibe: 6


Mousa Dembele: The midfielder put in a great display considering this was his first start since August. In for the suspended Eric Dier in the holding role, Dembele broke up plenty of Liverpool attacks and always seemed to be there when Tottenham looked to be in any sort of trouble. Could have played himself into Mauricio Pochettino's reckoning for future games.


Divock Origi: The Belgium international came within inches of his first Premier League goal as the Liverpool forward sent a header against Hugo Lloris' crossbar in the opening stages. It proved to be the closest the visitors would come to a winner.


Klopp spent the majority of the game prowling the touchline but was usually clapping and cajoling his players, who he set up in a 4-3-2-1 formation with both Lallana and Coutinho offering support to lone front man Origi. Pochettino will see this as an improvement as Tottenham halted a record of five defeats to Liverpool and they remain unbeaten in the league since the opening weekend of the season.


Far too much surrounding this match was about the arrival of Jurgen Klopp. The German had a dedicated camera fixed on him for much of the game. Neither side did enough to win the match but with the likes of Kane, Eriksen, Coutinho and Origi on show it would have been nice to see more focus on the players on the pitch.


Anderlecht v Tottenham (Europa League, Thursday 22 October).

Liverpool v Rubin Kazan (Europa League, Thursday 22 October).

Jurgen Klopp was satisfied his Liverpool reign began with a clean sheet and a point but admits they have plenty of work ahead of them.

"Now I'm happy with this result because I saw many good things," he told BT Sport 1. "Very good first 20 minutes, we were very aggressive, good timing for pressing and counter-pressing.

"Tottenham are a good team and so they came back into the match. It was an open game, we had our chances, they had bigger chances of course, but if we play better football then we'll be stronger next time.

"We need to improve but for today, after three days, it finished nil-nil. I am completely satisfied for the moment, this was a good first step, I can work with this, I can work with the impressions.

"I'm not angry, it's okay for today. Nil-nil is not my dream result but it's okay."

They next face Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday, a fixture Klopp admitted he had not yet begun to contemplate.

"I'm only prepared for this game, now we have to start our preparation against Rubin Kazan. I cannot do in this situation two things," he added.

"We have to see how Rubin Kazan is in shape. I do not anything about the team, we start tomorrow, I have nothing else to do so I will be prepared when we need the information."

Liverpool midfielder James Milner echoed his new manager's thoughts.

"On another day we could have won it but I think we could have played better with the ball than we did," said the England international.

"The new manager coming in and (with his) new ideas, I thought we acquitted ourselves well and put on a good show. Disappointed not to get the three points but it's a solid start."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was also happy to take a point.

"I'm very happy and very pleased because it was a very high tempo," he said. "I think it was an exciting game. I'm happy with my players, it was a very difficult game."

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