Reds lack inspiration

Tottenham's Harry Kane (left) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho during the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane yesterday.
Tottenham's Harry Kane (left) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho during the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane yesterday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Tottenham's Harry Kane (left) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho during the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane yesterday.
JUERGEN KLOPPPHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Klopp era begins with pace and effort, but refinement lacking as Spurs force a draw

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Tottenham 0

Liverpool 0


LONDON • The message on one of the German tricolours fluttering in the away end was: "Juergen Klopp, Mein Held," (my hero).

Liverpool, as their new manager promised, had a different look when they took on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in the Premier League yesterday.

They chased and harried and could not really have given much more to try to get the Klopp era off to a winning start. But, ultimately, there was not enough inspiration to go with all the perspiration.

Liverpool were quick to the ball, full of energy and ran very hard. It has been a long time since Adam Lallana covered this much ground in one game. Emre Can sprinted when once he might have strolled.

Liverpool became a team of one goalkeeper and 10 James Milners and Klopp must have been encouraged by the speed at which his changes have been implemented.

What they could not do is match all their effort with a touch which had more refinement.

ENCOURAGING START

We need to improve, but for today, after three days (of training), anything could have happened and it's a 0-0... this was a good first step. ''

JUERGEN KLOPP identifying the positives

Daniel Sturridge's latest injury setback left them with Divock Origi, ordinarily their fourth-choice striker, in attack.

Though the Belgium international worked hard, he did look raw.

As such, Liverpool were unable to extend their winning sequence against Tottenham to six matches, having scored 18 times and conceded only four goals in their previous five encounters.

They did, however, register their first clean sheet in nine matches.

In the process, they largely subdued Tottenham, even if Mauricio Pochettino could justifiably reflect that his team had created the better opportunities.

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On those occasions, Simon Mignolet's goalkeeping ensured it was not a losing start for Klopp, particularly when Harry Kane had a chance to win the match five minutes from the end of normal time.

Mignolet made an even better save earlier in the match to keep out the substitute Clinton Njie. But Spurs managed only one 15-minute spell in the first half when they put their opponents under sustained pressure and more might have been expected of the home side.

Klopp's team had made an enterprising start in a new 4-3-2-1 system, with Lallana and Philippe Coutinho patrolling the area behind Origi, and at that stage the home crowd might have recalled the way Liverpool had won their last two games here, with an aggregate 8-0 score.

Instead, Spurs gradually began to emerge as a threat of their own and Klopp saw for the first time his team's habit of making life difficult for themselves.

Lallana was indebted to Mignolet's one-handed save after losing the ball deep inside his own half, giving Kane the chance to set up Njie. Later, Njie flashed a diagonal effort just over the crossbar after more hesitancy in the Liverpool defence. In between, Mignolet's feet kept out Kane, with Mamadou Sakho blocking the follow-up effort from Dele Alli.

The game became increasingly error-strewn after the interval and Milner, having been shown a yellow card, was fortunate the referee gave him the benefit of the doubt after a collision with Danny Rose.

"We need to improve, but for today, after three days (of training), anything could have happened and it's a 0-0," Klopp told BT Sport. "I'm completely satisfied for the moment. This was a good first step.

"I can work with this, I can work with the impressions. Let's go on."

Spurs are now unbeaten in seven games - the longest run in the division. "We only conceded one clear chance, on a corner, when we had only 10 players on the pitch because of Nacer Chadli's injury," said manager Pochettino.

"Then, we created four clear chances in the first half and Mignolet saved Liverpool.

"I'm very pleased with the players. It was a very good game from a growing team."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'REDS LACK INSPIRATION'. Print Edition | Subscribe