Jurgen Klopp will make his first appearance in the Liverpool dugout this weekend. What formation will he play? Will he wear a suit or a tracksuit? Will his infamous cap be present? Will it be an amalgamation of the above? Whatever the German does tactically or sartorially is sure to be scrutinised greatly but the ex-Dortmund boss will not be judged on what occurs at White Hart Lane this weekend.
The appointment of Klopp is massive for Liverpool. It’s a statement of intent but it is a thoroughly rational one. Whenever a manager is appointed at Anfield, the long term aim is to win that elusive first Premier League title, and while the new man moved quickly to temper that dream, he did also say that he feels he must win the league inside four years.
That dream starts in north London this weekend and while Klopp will not live or die by the result of that encounter, a defeat would seriously dampen the buzz on Merseyside.
Only seven men have lifted the famous trophy aloft at the end of the campaign. Here we take a look at their first Premier League matches at the helm to see what we can possibly expect from Klopp’s first game in charge, and indeed beyond.
Sir Alex Ferguson
In case you didn’t already know, Fergie got his hands on the title 13 times in his illustrious career. The Scot had already been at the Old Trafford helm for six years when the Premier League came into existence but his start to his maiden season in the new look division saw his team get off to a shocker.
The Red Devils travelled to Yorkshire and were turned over by Sheffield United at Brammall Lane. The goal machine known as Brian Deane got himself a brace in a 2-1 win and United started the season with a winless run of three games. They then lost just four more times on their way to the title.
The Liverpool legend has already lavished praise on Klopp, and the Anfield faithful will be hoping he too can lift a title like King Kenny. Dalglish was tempted to Blackburn by Jack Walker’s money-driven project in a sleepy Lancashire town. Rovers were promoted in his first season and then the real work started.
His team’s top-flight bow saw them embroiled in a thriller at Crystal Palace as a youthful Alan Shearer got a couple and Stuart Ripley added another in a 3-3 thriller in south London. Fourth place followed that season before a second place finish the year after was bettered by an incredible title success in 1995.
The Professor arrived on these shores with a reputation for his vast knowledge of French players and his ability to develop footballers, however, people knew very little about a man who had been managing in Japan. He also turned up with a cracking pair of glasses. Wenger is now the longest serving manager in England and part of the Premier League furniture, something that would have been hard to believe back in September 1996.
His first task was a trip to the champions, Blackburn. The Gunners were fired to a 2-0 success by Ian Wright as the Wenger era kicked off with a bang. Three titles have followed and years of debate over whether Arsene has taken the Gunners as far as he can.
He may not look so special now, but when Mourinho turned up declaring himself the best thing since a loaf of Hovis, excitement levels were exceedingly high, echoing the furore surrounding Klopp. The Portuguese lived up to his own headline billing, delivering successive Premier League crowns in his first two seasons.
His opening game couldn’t have been any more difficult as he squared-up to Sir Alex Ferguson, and won by a narrow 1-0 scoreline. In fact Chelsea lost just once in the league that season as they romped to glory.
The quiet Italian arrived at Stamford Bridge to an owner hungry to rediscover the success that the aforementioned Mourinho had brought, and he handled the situation with his usual elegance and style. After winning the Community Shield there was a league opener against Hull to contend with.
It didn’t get off to the best of starts, with the Tigers taking the lead but a Drogba double, including a stoppage time winner, laid down the foundations for a title winning campaign and a run of six successive wins to get the Blues up and going.
Mancini, much like Klopp, arrived after the perceived failings of a youthful British manager in Mark Hughes. He arrived in December and instantly inspired City to four consecutive wins.
The first of those was a bit of an epic, as the Sky Blues ousted Sunderland 4-3 at Eastlands to earn just their second victory in 12 Premier League ties. Roque Santa Cruz was the hero with a pair of strikes that included the winner. The season after the Italian would make Manchester City Premier League champions for the first time.
After City made a feeble attempt at a title defence Mancini was axed. In came the affable Chilean, with the intention of making the players feel a little more loved. It ultimately did the trick as Pellegrini lead the Citizens to the title in his first year in charge.
The first game of his tenure was emphatic to say the least. A 4-0 rout of woeful Newcastle was the perfect start for the ex-Real Madrid boss as his side scored 102 goals on their way to a second title.