Klopp passes first Liver­pool test

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LIVER­POOL — Jur­gen Klopp was re­flect­ing on his goal­less de­but as Liver­pool man­ager, where his new charges ran hard but cre­ated lit­tle, and had to deny that he would be be­stow­ing any of his own trans­for­ma­tive magic on his new play­ers.

Ex­pec­ta­tion con­trol is part of mod­ern foot­ball man­age­ment - Jose Mour­inho was forced to clar­ify that he was not Harry Pot­ter when he took over at Real Madrid in 2010 - but Klopp has a lot to do here. Judg­ing by the num­ber of flags and ban­ners in his hon­our on Satur­day - “Liver­pool Uber Alles”, “Wir Glauben” (“We Be­lieve”), “Jür­gen’s Reds” and the rest - he is a hero al­ready.

Liver­pool pressed Tot­ten­ham hard at points but lacked the tech­ni­cal ex­e­cu­tion to cre­ate an open-play chance or score a goal. So would Klopp be per­form­ing foot­ball alchemy on th­ese play­ers? Not so fast.

“Should I teach them the tech­ni­cal as­pects? They know them,” Klopp said. “We have to help them to show it. This is not the big­gest prob­lem. We don’t have to sprin­kle mag­i­cal dust on them ‘and now you can play foot­ball’. They know how to play. We just have to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion where it is pos­si­ble to do this.”

Bren­dan Rodgers was not averse to speak­ing about his gift for “ed­u­cat­ing” play­ers and mak­ing them bet­ter. Klopp made no such claims. His im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity is just to pro­vide the at­mos­phere and frame­work for his squad to play as well as they can.

Klopp ran through his whole mid­field - Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lal­lana, Emre Can, Lu­cas Leiva, James Milner - de­scrib­ing how they could play bet­ter than they did, not as ad­mon­ish­ment, but en­cour­age­ment that he knows their level.

“Of course, we should play bet­ter foot­ball, not be­cause I say so but be­cause we can,” Klopp said. “We start with this de­vel­op­ment, and the most im­por­tant thing is for the play­ers to be pre­pared to be a lit­tle bit wild. You can run and then you can miss. No prob­lem. Don’t worry. Come back again.”

The start of the Klopp era, then, has been de­cid­edly light touch. He has his own way - high press­ing, counter at­tacks - but it has been made as sim­ple as pos­si­ble for his play­ers so far. Mel­wood has not ex­actly been suf­fer­ing from a jar­gon deficit for the last three years.

“You can see that some­thing changed,” Klopp said. “We didn’t want to do it too com­pli­cated be­cause it is not physics, it is foot­ball. We had some in­for­ma­tion. Maybe some things are new but we didn’t want it to be com­pli­cated.”

Al­though Tot­ten­ham did not cre­ate as much as they would have liked, Liver­pool’s best player was still goal­keeper Si­mon Mig­no­let, who pro­duced on ex­cel­lent save to deny Clin­ton Njie in the first half. Mig­no­let re­vealed just how Klopp is try­ing to in­ten­sify Liver­pool’s game, while light­en­ing the mood.

“We did what the gaffer wanted us to do, which was press them high and try to make it dif­fi­cult for them to play foot­ball,” Mig­no­let said.

“As you can see he is very en­thu­si­as­tic and very am­bi­tious. On the line you can see that and it rubs off on the play­ers.

“He is very pos­i­tive and he wants ev­ery­one to go full blast, like he is as well.”

Mig­no­let re­ceived a congratulatory hug from Klopp at the end, on the pitch, but so did all of his team­mates.

“Now we have our ex­pe­ri­ence to­gether that we needed,” Klopp said. “Now we will go on.” — The In­de­pen­dent

Jur­gen Klopp in­structs his play­ers at Tot­ten­ham on Satur­day.

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