It may have been a draw but Liverpool fans will surely feel their team came away with more to cheer about after their clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. New manager Jurgen Klopp may not have gotten three points against the London club but under the German, the Reds looked a side with a new lease of life.
Taking over as coach mid-season is a big ask for any manager, but Klopp got the advantage of signing on the dotted line just as the international break was to begin. The ‘mini pre-season’ of sorts allowed him to stamp his authority on his team even though some were away playing for their country.
It could be argued that Brendan Rodgers may have dug the club out of the mess they were in, but a similar case can be made for the opposite…he may have dug them in deeper. Either way, never under the Northern Irishman had Liverpool shown the kind of flair they did at the weekend, despite being without forwards Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge.
Klopp is known to be ruthless in dropping players; if you don’t perform, you don’t play no matter what your name is. Each player in the starting XI against Tottenham seemed to have that at the back of their mind, and with good results. The aggression shown in attack had glimpses of a time when a Steven Gerrard in his prime was laying them up for a still developing but clinical Fernando Torres. The team is unrecognisable from the years gone by, but the conviction shown holds promise for a better future.
The half-chances will be converted, the near misses will be goals and misplaced passes could soon be moments of magic, after all, Klopp is German and fine-tuning and perfection runs in his blood. On Saturday, he made Mamadou Sakho look like a good Premier League defender. If he can do that, there is no reason why---in his own words---he can’t win a title in four years.
United bounce back
Manchester United’s 0-3 loss against Arsenal in the last round may have been predictable but the response was not. Against a side that is considered their bogey team, United strolled to a reverse of that Arsenal result.
Eyebrows may have been raised when fans saw Memphis Depay on the bench but in the end, it mattered little. Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney, yes even he scored, all ensured their loss to the Gunners did not trigger a slump in form. Anthony Martial too, needs praise, the young Frenchman may not have scored, but his arrow-like runs into the box ensured the Everton defence was kept on its toes and created space for the other attackers. The 19-year-old even did his best Lionel Messi impression in the match, taking on defenders with his dribbles when there barely seemed to be any space.
Fans will hope the Arsenal game remains a blip in their recent run of form. Captain Rooney’s goal however, they will hope is not.