Klopp unfazed by huge task on hand

Emre Can scoring the equaliser for Liverpool against Rubin Kazan. The Reds will next host Southampton in the Premier League tomorrow.
Emre Can scoring the equaliser for Liverpool against Rubin Kazan. The Reds will next host Southampton in the Premier League tomorrow.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • If Juergen Klopp did not know before, at least now he will be fully aware of the size of the task that he has taken on.

His first home game as Liverpool manager ended in a 1-1 draw against Rubin Kazan, who played more than 50 minutes with 10 men in the Europa League on Thursday.

"The team are not full of self-confidence," Klopp admitted. "I would say that 98 per cent is OK, but the last 2 per cent is down to the decision-making."

As against Tottenham last Saturday, Klopp's Liverpool could not be faulted for either effort or energy. Their pressing was relentless, their desire absolute. Quality, though, was lacking.

It is now eight matches since Liverpool last won in Europe, a record that highlights their present ordinariness.

Rubin arrived at Anfield without fear and set about competing with them on equal terms.

That approach paid off when they took the lead through Marko Devic's rising finish. A red card in the 36th minute for captain Oleg Kuzmin changed the dynamics of the match and handed Liverpool a route back with Emre Can scoring the equaliser.

"When you come for the first time to a new house, you (normally) have a present," Klopp said of his Anfield bow. "I'm not quite satisfied with my present tonight, but it was only the first time and I will come again. We'll see next time."

Liverpool next face Southampton in the Premier League tomorrow, while Tottenham visit Bournemouth.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting more from his side against the Cherries, after he watched them surrender the lead to lose 1-2 against Anderlecht in the Europa League, and accused them of losing focus.

Tottenham started the match well when Christian Eriksen scored in the fourth minute while the team created several other clear chances in a 10-minute burst at the outset.

But they switched off and conceded an equaliser to Anderlecht full-back Guillaume Gillet from a set piece before Stefano Okaka scored the winner.

"Angry, frustrated, disappointed - I don't know which is the best word to describe me," Pochettino said after Tottenham's defeat. "We need to realise that we need to compete in every game, in every single minute, in each different game, in each different competition.

"We need to be focused for 90 minutes, 95 minutes. If not, football is like this. The dynamics change quickly."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Klopp unfazed by huge task on hand'. Print Edition | Subscribe