Eye On EPL

Reds fans shouldn't seek quick fix from The Normal One

New manager Juergen Klopp and the Liverpool faithful applauding after the 0-0 draw at Spurs. Fans must not expect too much, too soon of the German.
New manager Juergen Klopp and the Liverpool faithful applauding after the 0-0 draw at Spurs. Fans must not expect too much, too soon of the German.PHOTO: REUTERS

There are a lot of happy people in Liverpool right now, but they need to be realistic and not expect too much, too soon from "The Normal One".

The 0-0 draw at Tottenham marked a solid start to the Juergen Klopp era, which will last long if he is given time by fans and money by the club's owners.

It will take months to get the Reds to showcase the high-intensity pressing game that saw Borussia Dortmund to the top of German football.

First, to hound your opponents non-stop for 90 minutes, you need fitness - a lot of it.

With the season well under way, Klopp does not have much time to work on his players' stamina, not when tactics and team-building are higher on the priority list.

And so, Reds fans need to be patient, especially as Klopp himself gets accustomed to the English Premier League's idiosyncrasies.

It will take months to get the Reds to showcase the high-intensity pressing game that saw Borussia Dortmund to the top of German football... And so, Reds fans need to be patient, especially as Klopp himself gets accustomed to the EPL's idiosyncrasies.

Dortmund's Mario Goetze-Shinji Kagawa-Robert Lewandowski attacking trident took years of fine-tuning before they became the yellow mist that blurred opponents across Europe.

Klopp, however, has a good foundation to work on at Anfield.

In Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Christian Benteke, he has three potential match-winners - if they can stay fit.

Now, the German needs to find a stable starting line-up as his system requires a high level of understanding.

Dortmund didn't just press as they wished. It was an organised swarm, working like a pack of wolves to win back the ball deep in their opponents' half to launch quick counters.

The idea is to attack before the other team have time to re-form their defensive line. It requires smart, willing midfielders , which I believe Klopp has in the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Emre Can.

His arrival may even breathe new life into Lucas Leiva's career, who fell out of favour under Brendan Rodgers.

The appointment of a new coach almost always rejuvenates the dressing room.

Players who were substitutes before want to prove they are worthy of starting. Perennial first-teamers want to show their status deserves to be maintained.

Even the backroom staff put on a good impression, fearing they may soon go the way of the previous coach.

It is safe to say there was some cheers inside Melwood training ground when Rodgers was sacked.

Judging by his performance against Spurs, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has re-discovered his groove in front of goal.

Alberto Moreno looked solid at left-back, his confidence slowly returning after being dropped for teenager Joe Gomez.

Still, this is not Klopp's team per se. Until the next transfer window in January, he has to play with the cards he has been dealt.

Everyone at Liverpool must be prepared to write this season off.

Challenging for fourth spot is realistic, but I don't see them going any further.

For one thing, in England, Klopp must learn how to win ugly.

In Germany, Dortmund could afford to string delicate touches around but as Kagawa learnt at Manchester United, the tackles fly in faster and fiercer in the Premier League.

But, on a rainy night in Stoke, a tap-in from a corner scramble is worth more than a 15-pass move that barely tests the goalkeeper.

Just as Liverpool fans and players come to terms with Klopp, the man himself must adapt to England.

If the Reds faithful are willing to accept one or two seasons of relative mediocrity for the formula to work, Anfield could see more silverware some day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Reds fans shouldn't seek quick fix from The Normal One'. Print Edition | Subscribe