Liverpool To Get Off To Sharp Start Heads Five Predictions For Klopp's First Game In Charge Against Spurs


Amid all this fuss and fawning over Jurgen Klopp's arrival it's important to remember Liverpool still have a squad of players and some games to play this season.

"Das sechste Beatle" (George Best was the fifth) will take the White Hart Lane stage on Saturday, in a lunchtime clash that will be the big story of the Premier League weekend whatever happens elsewhere.

The real fun begins an hour before kick-off, when Klopp's first team is tweeted by everyone and we get an early read on the players he thinks Rodgers wasted the club's money on (Rodgers and the transfer committee I should say).

From there it's all about what - if anything - Liverpool do differently. There's been a lot written recently about this media generation's obsession with stats and tactics, and we can expect a good amount of analysis in that area. The good old-fashioned blood-and-guts-ometer will be on hand to, to measure those prepared to stand behind their new leader and fight.

Here are five bold predictions, some dafter than others, for what might unfold when the normal one leads Liverpool for the very first time.

 

1. Liverpool will score early

There's nothing like a new manager to get players excited, and excited players can prove undeniable if an attacking opportunity presents at a game's dawn. Spurs shipped two first-half goals last time out at Swansea and you just wonder if Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld might be slow to start after a busy time with Belgium.

Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge has had plenty of rest and was already looking sharp. If he gets an early run at the Tottenham defence, he can find them out for pace and become the very first hero of Klopp's reign.

 

2. Klopp will celebrate

He's a manager famous for his emotional celebrations and you can expect at least a wild fist punch to meet his team's first goal on Saturday. They'll be no feigning ambivalence, because that's not Klopp and that's not what his players or fans want anyway.

Perhaps a bigger question is what he'll be wearing? Klopp's not averse to a tracksuit, and we all know he loves a cap, but might this career change prompt a smarter appearance? I'm predicting a suit with a Liverpool sports jacket over it. And no cap.

 

3. Adam Lallana will re-appear

Lallana hasn't been anywhere, but you all know what I mean. His output for Liverpool has been a lot less enthralling than we came to expect at Southampton, and his hefty price tag has emphasised a general feeling of blah-ness about Lallana. There are already pundits saying Klopp will sell him.

Lallana has never stopped being a neat, effective player, but there's more to him than that and Klopp's arrival might just be the invigoration he needs to kick on and display that added creativity. If Klopp gives him the chance to start on Saturday, which is no certainty, I predict Lallana will play an influential part.

These things are never as predictable as they seem. Lallana might seem an obvious offload for Klopp, but there were plenty saying the same about Juan Mata at Manchester United just a matter of months ago.

 

4. Spurs' superior cohesion will tell

Mauricio Pochettino's team have been a force in the second half of games recently. Seven of their last nine Premier League goals came in the second half. Harry Kane has said they're fitter and run harder than any team they face, and we might also suggest a hardened mentality is starting to develop at a club so often branded as mentally weak.

Spurs will keep coming at Liverpool's defence, and their quality may ultimately prove too much to resist. With Christian Eriksen on fire and Harry Kane back in the goals for England, it will be a matter of when and not if Spurs score on Saturday.

My prediction is that they'll level the game at 1-1 early in the second half, before pushing for the victory that would take them - briefly at least - to the heady heights of third in the table. But will they get it?

 

5. Liverpool will hold firm

Liverpool have not been great defensively this season, but they haven't been as awful as some would have you think either. Their count of 10 Premier League goals conceded is only three more than Manchester City and seven less than Jose Mourinho's hilarious impersonation of Chelsea.

Klopp has made it his first priority to organise defensively and this is the one area we might see obvious tinkering from the Rodgers regime. Some are suggesting he could set up a compact 4-2-3-1 line-up, with plenty of cover in front of the two central defenders.

With Liverpool players desperate to impress, Klopp should get the discipline and workrate he needs for his team to keep Tottenham to the solitary goal and earn a respectable point in his first game in charge.