The Big Test For Pochettino: How Should Tottenham Welcome Liverpool And Klopp This Weekend?

To the dismay of many PL watchers and you could say to most mid-table sides, the axing of Brendan Rodgers was an unfortunate event. But for most Liverpool fans, it was the signal of surely better things to come. It wasn’t even a week long since the Northern Irishman was fired from the dugouts of Anfield, FSG were lightning quick to appoint a replacement. And the replacement was no small timer who was going to be a stop-gap with an option to increment the contract length depending on the season’s outcome. It was a BIG name. Something that LFC have been lacking since Spaniard, Rafa Benitez.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Big name does not necessarily guarantee success. That was shown by Benitez himself when he tore down the then best side in the world – Inter Milan in the space of just 6 months. But if we take Liverpool’s case, however, bad Jurgen Klopp fares, he is going to be a success when you compare him to the last 3 managers appointed by the club. Given that Dalglish did bring home a trophy and was quite decent but for a team of Liverpool’s stature, decent is simply not cutting it. Which is why the appointment of Klopp has the overhype that the British media is known for.

We have all seen what Klopp is capable of. He rebuilt the whole Dortmund squad. He got them back to the status of a German powerhouse from being “just another mid-table club”. You can draw quite a few similarities between Dortmund and Liverpool in terms of history. Sadly for Liverpool, that is the only thing that even brings them close to BvB currently. Taking the last 5 years for comparison, Liverpool are easily quite a few yards behind Dortmund in terms of footballing quality and trophies. The reason for Dortmund’ success? The very man who now wears the Liverpool shirt. Klopp is known for his trademark “Geggenpressing” brand of football where the opposition is not given time on the ball to build up play while they are not given a moment of respite while defending attacks as well due to the wave after wave bombarding of attacking moves that often end up being goal scoring chances.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

The first team that Klopp’s Liverpool will face are Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham. Spurs are no pushovers but in the past couple of seasons, they have seen themselves served on a silver platter by Liverpool. But there is a major difference between Spurs then and Spurs now. Spurs then, would have folded to Manchester City the moment De Bruyne opened the scoring, but Spurs now, fought back and at the end of 90 minutes, they saw an insanely surprising scoreline of 4:1 in their favour. Pochetino has done incredible work with this Tottenham side. He has got rid of the deadwood army built by Franco Baldini without the approval of Andre Vilas-Boas who was kept in the dark about most of the signings made with the Bale money. Pochetino hasn’t spent money, but he has turned to youth when he needed a top-class player. Delle Alli and Eric Dier who are huge success stories so far this season in Spurs’s run are players who were bought, but they came for cheap. Smart business and more importantly buying players who fit your philosophy is one of the reasons as to why Spurs are quite dangerous a side to face now.

Pochettino’s philosophy is not very different from that of Klopp’s. The Argentine though believes more on fitness levels of his players to get the pressing game that gets him his results. While Pochettino is also a more defensively astute manager, Klopp believes you can score 1 goal more than what your opponent scores. This may have worked wonders previously for Klopp, but that was when he had an able squad but with THIS Liverpool defense and attack on his hands, I doubt Klopp will employ the same tactics. Also, Spurs are quite lucky to face Liverpool this early on in Klopp’s era. The squad would not have got the grip of his ideas yet and with the added influence of the international break, it would be ideal for Spurs to hit Liverpool head on now and pile on more misery on the Merseysiders. What Spurs need to do is put out their best XI on the pitch, ideally it would be the same as the one that faced Manchester City. The key would be to not panic if they concede and also to not settle for a 1:0 win. Against Klopp’s team, you can’t sit back and defend wave after wave of attack, you have to counter attack or press them back while cutting off the supply lines to the flanks and the striker. Spurs have one of the tightest defences in Europe as well as the PL so far this season and they will be vital in stopping Liverpool this weekend. Hugo Lloris will of course, play his part as well. He has been exceptional this season and there is no reason as to why that form will dip soon.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino

In my opinion, Liverpool are the team that needs to be scared of the fixture and not Spurs. Klopp may be a BIG name but he would hardly have started working with the squad and that may alienate the squad between 2 systems bringing up the opportunity for Spurs to take advantage and pile on the misery thereby continuing their good run in the League as well.

Written by Alankrith Shankar

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