Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham this afternoon 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% 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.”
Liverpool have yet to find form and consistency under Klopp. Claiming they are stronger now than when he took the job, he said:
“We need to use this moment in the season to get rhythm and to answer the questions we still have in our game.”
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