Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp returns to scene of first Liverpool game targeting improvement

Liverpool's trip to Tottenham brings manager Jurgen Klopp full circle as he returns to the venue of his first match in charge of the Reds.

In the intervening 10 months the German, who took over from Brendan Rodgers last October, has guided the club to two cup finals but also a disappointing eighth-place Premier League finish.

As he prepares to go back to White Hart Lane, where last season they played out a goalless draw, Klopp notes the strides his side have made but believes there is plenty of development to come.

"I made a few summaries after last season: good things, not-so-good things, the need for development - all that stuff," said the manager, who will be in charge of his 56th match for the club in just eight months of actual competitive football.

"This is a new season, a lot of expectation from our side, from outside - that's how it is.

"For us, everything could have been better, but it could have been worse.

"We're still on the way. My team gave me a lot of really good signs to work with.

"The last defeat always feels stronger than the last win and Burnley is not too long ago."

That 2-0 reverse at Turf Moor last weekend was self-inflicted as Liverpool gave the ball away and missed tackles for both goals and despite having 81 per cent possession and 26 shots they could not break down their opponents.

Klopp was not unnecessarily disappointed with the result but knows they have to cut out individual errors and be stronger in regaining possession.

They will find Tottenham play the same pressing game as themselves and so the outcome is likely to be decided by who makes the fewest mistakes.

"Almost all the goals we have conceded up until now came after losing possession," Klopp said.

"It was not about the player who received the pass, it was about the player who played the pass in the wrong moment.

"If you lose the ball in the wrong moment, it's the most difficult moment to defend because you don't have a formation for defending.

"We conceded a goal like this at Burnley. In the build up to the second goal we lost four challenges in a row. Four challenges. That's a big mistake.

"That's the things we work on. How can we improve in situations like this. We need to be harder. We need to really press in the challenge."

Despite an opening weekend win at Arsenal and the midweek 5-0 EFL Cup victory at Burton, Liverpool have yet to find anything like the sort of form and consistency Klopp demands.

He has made only minimal changes to his starting line-up, usually injury enforced, as he seeks to establish some flow.

"A summer break is good when you have the time to work together but you need to find rhythm - that's why all the teams don't play their best football in this moment," he said.

"I would say they can all improve, they can all do better in the next few weeks and months. That's the same for us and the same for Tottenham.

"We need to use this moment in the season to get rhythm and to answer the questions we still have in our game.

"When you see matches from last season in February, we are stronger now.

"But obviously it's not easy to show in this moment because there's not the rhythm, not that knowledge of each way.

"You can't (be fully ready) even when you have a lot of pre-season games - pre-season games are different to Premier League games.

"All teams are in the same situation but we need to collect points in this moment to have a really good base for the moment when the league starts with all teams in best shape."


From Belfast Telegraph