Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana admits successive draws in new manager Jurgen Klopp’s first two matches have added a dose of realism to temper fans’ sky-high expectations.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach’s arrival at Anfield a fortnight ago sparked a wave of optimism on Merseyside with many fans’ predicting great things from the off.
From the start Klopp insisted he was not a miracle worker and change would take time and a 1-1 Europa League draw at home to 10-man Rubin Kazan, on the back of a goalless stalemate at Tottenham, have highlighted exactly that.
“It was never going to just change overnight,” said Lallana, who had another good game under the German.
“Maybe the reaction to him coming in was a bit over the top but he’s a great manager who has had great success.
“He’s asking people to do different things to what they were used to so it will take a bit of time.
“I think in his first two games you have seen glimpses and moments of the style he wants to play.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but I’m very confident we’re going to succeed under him.
“The fans here demand success here and we want to give them that.”
In his two matches in charge obvious elements of Klopp’s style – the high-tempo pressing, for example – have been evident but the side are a long way from being where the manager wants them to be.
There is plenty of work still to be done on the training ground but with the return from injury of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino and striker Daniel Sturridge set to come back into contention for Sunday’s visit of Southampton Klopp is at least being able to work with most of his squad.
The return of captain Jordan Henderson, Klopp’s archetypal hard-running midfielder, from a broken foot cannot come soon enough but the manager will have to wait late into the season before Danny Ings comes back from anterior cruciate ligament surgery and even longer for Joe Gomez, who sustained a similar but more serious problem.
Benteke and Firmino both came off the bench against Kazan and Klopp will hope they can add more threat in the final third, something which has been a problem all season.
“It was great to have Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino back fit and hopefully Daniel Sturridge won’t be too far away,” added Lallana.
“Looking at the squad, there are definitely goals there.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t take the three points (against Kazan).
“We created a lot of chances but the ratio of shots on target to off target wasn’t high enough and that probably explains why we couldn’t get the second goal.
“Parts of the performance were bright and encouraging as we got into good areas. We need a bit more ruthlessness from everyone.
“Moving forward there are encouraging signs. Everyone is warming to the manager and how he wants to play.
“There’s lots of hard work and lots of yards to put in to get to where we want to be.
“Jurgen has made it clear that he demands 100 per cent. He wants us to win the ball back as soon as it’s given away.
“Going forward, it’s going to improve.”
Lallana’s former club are next up at Anfield and will pose a more significant test than the 10-man Russians did.
“They are playing well at the minute and recruited well,” said Lallana.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with a few old friends but Sunday is about getting the business done and ensuring we get the three points.
“It’s back to the training ground for us on Friday and we want nothing less than three points on Sunday.”