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Why Klopp’s Liverpool Debut Against Tottenham Suggests The Message Is Already Getting Across




It has been a buzz word of Jurgen Klopp’s early reign at Anfield, and you can expect to hear plenty more of it over the coming weeks and months. If Pep Guardiola and Barcelona were the founding fathers of ‘tiki-taka’, then Klopp and Borussia Dortmund were the kings of ‘gegenpressing’.

A term few outside of the Westfalenstadion will have been initially aware of, the football world has sat up to take notice of a tactical approach which has delivered rich rewards for those able to master its principles.

It remains to be seen whether Liverpool can achieve that, but the message will certainly be drilled into them on a regular basis at Melwood.

Those words of wisdom do, however, already appear to be getting across.

Much was made in the build-up to Saturday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur as to how Klopp would demand greater intensity from his troops, asking as much from them as he tends to put in on the touchline. To strip gegen (counter) pressing (self-explanatory) down, the philosophy is all about regaining possession as quickly as possible once it is squandered and springing forward as a cohesive unit.

If those boxes can be ticked, as Dortmund proved on a regular basis in the Bundesliga and Champions League, then success will inevitably follow.

Premier League betting experts have been quick to jump aboard the Klopp bandwagon over the course of the last week or so, with the general consensus being – at least on the red half of Merseyside – that Liverpool now have the right man at the helm to lead them forward.

His first showing at White Hart Lane proved to be something of a damp squib, given the furore which preceded it, but as first lines in the sand go, it was not the worst. There are clearly issues to address and areas to work on, but a first clean sheet in eight outings in all competitions was secured, suggesting that at least some of the hard work on the training ground has reaped instant rewards.

It is also worth highlighting some of the more intriguing numbers to be generated in a contest which drew a blank on the goal-scoring front.

We have been told in every newspaper/radio/television article that Klopp would be looking to stamp his authority from the off, eager to show that a system which has served him so well in the past can be transferred from one club to another, regardless of the personnel at his disposal.

Well, he can take heart from the fact that Liverpool posted some season-leading figures in North London, in areas that he places considerable significance on.

Gegenpressing may be new to many in the Reds ranks, but they were able to complete 70 ball recoveries against Spurs – a team-high for the campaign – while emerging victorious in more individual duels (73) and making more tackles (29) than they have in any of their previous eight Premier League fixtures.

A small step in the right direction maybe, but there has to be a first step and Klopp has been quick to talk up the need for patience as he and everyone connected with the club unite in a quest to hit long-term collective targets.