Premier League Plotlines: No more looking back for Klopp

Our writers round up the weekend's Premier League talking points.

Premier League Plotlines: No more looking back for Klopp

Klopp reassures the faithful he’s only looking forward

Some Liverpool fans took exception to Jurgen Klopp’s appearance on Sky Sport’s Monday Night Football last week, providing some tactical insights into Liverpool’s progress so far this season.

In today’s Terrace Talk, Steven Kelly writes:

“Klopp had his ego stroked by Sky TV. It seemed like he was explaining how it had all been done.

“What had ‘all’ been done, exactly? It’s a few wins, some of them impressive for sure but can we just have a few moments of calm? Just once?

“There was the disclaimer about there still being a long way to go but that felt obligatory, like the death warning on fags, but really all it lacked was Barry Manilow singing “Looks like we made it” in the background.

“For someone like me who sees booby traps everywhere, it was itchy and uncomfortable”.

Klopp took over as Liverpool manager a year ago this Saturday but he is in no mood for any anniversary celebrations and after Liverpool’s escape at Swansea, he assured Liverpool fans his mind is focussed on taking the club forward.

“We will not celebrate, I can tell you that, and hopefully nobody will bring me a cake,” the 49-year-old told reporters.

"I have no time, and I am not in the mood for reflection, to be honest.

"It's a year, I'm a year older and all this shit, but everything else is good. Not perfect, but in a good way. That's what we hoped.

"The thing is, I'm not here for a year, I'm here hopefully for the long term, and it means that we have to use all the information we have until now and learn from it. That's how life works, collecting experience, learning from it and being ready for the next challenge.”

What does Ivanovic’s axe mean for the Serbian and for Chelsea?

ANTONIO Conte’s reign at Stamford Bridge has been more evolution than revolution to date although his decision to leave out Branislav Ivanovic, the first time the defender has been dropped in over four years, should not be underestimated.

Despite last season’s chronic underachievement at Stamford Bridge, the Italian has merely tinkered with his personnel, rather than make sweeping changes, while making small steps in stamping his own mark on the club.

Now, it will be interesting how the 32-year-old Serbian, a Chelsea mainstay for the best part of a decade, responds to his removal from the side and what impact it has on the club.

"He is our vice-captain. I have played with him since I arrived here four years ago and I know how important he is for us,” said teammate Cesar Azpilicueta.

"The way he is working in every training session and everything. Obviously it is also a long season and we have to work together this season is very important for us after the last season which was really disappointing and now it’s time to work together. I am sure he will be a big part of the team."

Should Ander Herrera have been sent off against Stoke?

Ander Herrera might have compounded United’s disappointment at a home draw had referee Robert Madley handed him a straight red, rather than yellow, card for a rash, studs-up challenge on Joe Allen early in the second half.

The recipient of Herrera’s kick did not deny that the Spanish midfielder was fortunate to remain on the field.

“Yeah, possibly,” said Allen. “In fairness, he was going for the ball but he caught me with his studs. Sometimes they get sent off, sometimes they don’t.”

Referee-turned-pundit Howard Webb insisted, on BT Sport, that the thigh-high challenge was as blatant a red card as you could see and Stoke manager Mark Hughes, no stranger to the physical side of the game, believed Allen saved his assailant.

“Credit to Joe, he didn’t make a meal of it,” said Hughes. “At the time, I thought it was mistimed to say the least. He was clearly hurt and down a while and maybe his reaction allowed the referee to just give a yellow.”

How worried should Guardiola be about City’s performance at White Hart Lane?

After almost two months of having everything all his own way, last week was a tough one for Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard won his first 10 competitive fixtures in charge, with his side scoring 29 goals and conceding just six. But is the honeymoon period, if that's what it was, now over?

Last week they failed to win at Celtic in the Champions League, conceding three goals, before Sunday's defeat at Tottenham.

However, it was the manner of the 2-0 loss which might give Pep a few sleepless nights. Despite boasting the league's most potent strike force so far, they were almost entirely toothless while Spurs, who also missed a penalty, bossed long spells of the game and could have won by an even wider margin.

The manager insists his side will learn from the game – they will have to, especially with two clashes against his former employers Barcelona to come in the next four weeks.

Guardiola was without influential midfielder Kevin de Bruyne for his winless week and, although the Belgian is undoubtedly a big loss, the manager may have hoped another member of his multimillion Euro squad may have filled the void.

A reasoned reaction to ref justice - will it ever catch on?

Chapeau to Sean Dyche for refusing to make Craig Pawson a scapegoat for his side's heartbreaking defeat to Arsenal.

The Burnley manager was refreshingly reasoned in his appraisal of the referee, even praising his performance 'barring the last six seconds' when the officials missed Laurent Koscielny's short-arm jab to propel the winning goal into the net.

How encouraging to hear such an even-handed approach - in public at least - a welcome antidote to the increasingly tiresome way many of his contemporaries try to use the performance of officials as an excuse to hide the inadequacies of their own team.

These same individuals who demand greater consistency from the men in black, yet seem no nearer to extracting such a quality from their own players, despite working with them on a daily basis.

Speaking of consistency, Arsene Wenger was unable to back Dyche's view or otherwise, as he failed to see the injury-time goal. In the ever-changing world of Premier League football, it's nice to know that some things steadfastly remain the same.

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