Thursday 21 November 2019

Klopp's crew dig out 'hectic' draw on debut

Tottenham 0-0 Liverpool

Exhausted Adam Lallana greets Jurgen Kloppall
Exhausted Adam Lallana greets Jurgen Kloppall
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino speaks with Liverpool's Adam Lallana after the game
Liverpool's Divock Origi tries to pass Mousa Dembele
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld battle for the ball

Sam Wallace

The longest drumroll in recent managerial appointment history, and it ended with this: a classic Premier League tale of sound and fury with no goals and precious little quality, although you would be hard pressed to blame all that on Jurgen Klopp.

The new Liverpool manager is here to change things, to create a gegenpressing festival of uber-footballers at Anfield capable of steamrollering opponents in the classic Borussia Dortmund fashion, all of which will take a bit longer.

In the meantime Klopp offered the Liverpool support their first clean sheet in eight games and a creditable point away from home against a side with similarly low confidence.

The manager did so without eight of his first-team regulars and, most pertinently Daniel Sturridge whose fragile fitness was once again highlighted with a knee injury sustained in a training ground tussle with Jordon Ibe.

The best chances fell to Spurs and when the ball reached Harry Kane's right foot on the edge of the Liverpool area with four minutes left Klopp might have feared the worst, but once again Simon Mignolet, arguably his side's best player, saved the day.

Apart from a period at the end of the second half, Mauricio Pochettino's team never threatened to overwhelm their visitors and their start was low-key in the extreme, during which they lost Nacer Chadli to what may yet be a serious injury. Kane is straining for that second league goal this season and it is costing his manager who bemoaned his side's failure to be "clinical" in front of goal.

In the second half, Spurs might have put Klopp's side away as the novelty of their new manager's full-court press tactics wore off and they began to tire. Instead, the home team barely created a chance until Christian Eriksen's late lay-off to Kane.

Without Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Sturridge it was Divock Origi - whom Klopp said he once tried to sign at Borussia Dortmund - who led the line in this brave new era for Liverpool. There was a discernible difference in the approach if not the 4-3-3 formation, and that was the intensity with which Liverpool pursued the ball in the early stages.

Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho in particular looked as if their settings had been turned up from the usual -that being the tendency to come alive chiefly when in possession. When finally Lallana was withdrawn with ten minutes left the England international looked utterly exhausted.

The story would have been very different if Origi had managed to get a header under the Spurs bar rather than against it on ten minutes but that was really the only notable chance Liverpool created in the first half.

There were many more for Spurs as they got the measure of Klopp's team in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

After the break Spurs never maintained that momentum at the start of the second half and Klopp must take some credit for making his team hard to break down.

"We needed Mignolet," Klopp said later. Searching for the right word, he added that in spite of the effort his team had been "a bit hectic, maybe nervous".

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