Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp needs time to exert his influence on Liverpool, maintains rival Koeman

By Tom Allnutt

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman does not believe Jurgen Klopp has had time to make a big impact at Liverpool yet.

Saints travel to Anfield tomorrow for what will be Klopp's first Premier League match on home turf since being appointed Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' successor two weeks ago.

Klopp will be eager to kick-start his tenure with a win after the stalemate at Tottenham last weekend was followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

The Reds were expected to enjoy a bounce after Klopp's much-anticipated arrival but Koeman believes it is still too soon for the German to have imposed his ideas.

"He has had a lot of attention," Koeman said. "But it isn't easy because as a new manager you need time. I was surprised how they played in the first 30 minutes against Tottenham.

"It was a very different Liverpool in the fact they did good high pressing. Rubin Kazan was different - but that's normal.

"You need time to put everything you want to put over as a new manager. It's a lot of attention because it's Liverpool.

"Maybe the system will change, maybe some players get an opportunity to show their qualities.

"What isn't so easy is in one or two weeks to see a big difference. As a new manager you need more time."

Southampton head into the clash in good form, having climbed to eighth in the table - two places above Liverpool - with just one defeat in seven matches.

Koeman may be without forward Jay Rodriguez, however, who has made five starts this season since returning from 16 months out with a cruciate ligament injury.

Meanwhile, Klopp is confident he can find a way to successfully pair strikers Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge in the same team - but he needs both to be fit first.

Benteke is back in contention after coming off the bench against Rubin Kazan after a month out with a hamstring problem.

However, Sturridge is set to have an ultrasound scan on the swollen knee which has kept him out of the last two matches.

"Today we have another treatment and another scan maybe because there is a little bit of fluid (inside the joint)," said Klopp of the problem. "If he can train normally tomorrow then it is an option. All good players can play together, it depends how they work for the team.

"We have to use that when they are fit. We cannot play with two or three offensive players who only stay up front. They (Sturridge and Benteke) can play together, that is no problem, but we have to think about how we can do it with the rest of the team."

Klopp echoed a mantra harping back to the 1980s when Liverpool were in their pomp. Then it was said Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, the most devastating front two in the club's history, were the first line of defence.

"Defending begins far away (from your goal)?" said the German. "They don't have to run back to our centre-backs, they have to close spaces so the rest can defend easier."

Belfast Telegraph


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