Big Match

Spurs still a top side: Klopp

Smiles are back as Tottenham's Son Heung-min celebrates with teammate Erik Lamela after scoring in the 5-0 Champions League thrashing of Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Tuesday. PHOTO: REUTERS
Smiles are back as Tottenham's Son Heung-min celebrates with teammate Erik Lamela after scoring in the 5-0 Champions League thrashing of Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Tuesday. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds boss refuses to dismiss rivals who show signs of recovery from troubled season start

LONDON • Tottenham's poor start does not mean they have forgotten how to play football and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects the London side to put in a "proper performance" when they visit Anfield in the Premier League tomorrow.

Liverpool are six points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table, while Spurs are seventh, 13 points adrift.

Both teams, however, had good results in the Champions League in midweek, with Spurs thumping Red Star Belgrade 5-0 and Liverpool beating Genk 4-1, and Klopp said Spurs' latest performance was a true reflection of their capabilities than their earlier struggles.

"What I can say is we saw a very good Tottenham side on Tuesday night and that's what we think about.

"Not why Tottenham's start to the season is not as they (the media) expected," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

"It's not that Harry Kane doesn't know how (to play well) any more. They are always able to put in a proper performance on the pitch. That's what we have to expect.

"We will not be so confident that absolutely nothing can happen to us and they will not play like a team with the points tally they have.

"They are a top side in the Premier League and will be a top side the whole season."

SPURS PEDIGREE

It's not that Harry Kane doesn't know how (to play well) any more. They are always able to put in a proper performance on the pitch. That's what we have to expect.

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, on the visit of Tottenham to Anfield tomorrow.

Klopp does have almost a full squad to pick from, with Trent-Alexander Arnold back in the fold after he missed the trip to Belgium owing to illness.

Only Xherdan Shaqiri is a confirmed absentee while there was a doubt over Joel Matip.

The manager also confirmed midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was in line for just his third league start of the campaign after his brace against Genk.

The England man practically missed the whole of last season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury the term before.

Now that the 26-year-old is fully fit and firing, Klopp is backing him to kick on, with his ability to make driving runs from deep adding another facet to Liverpool's already vaunted attack.

"It was a serious injury. In the best moment in your career, you don't think too much," the German said.

"You get fit again but the flow, the rhythm, that's not too easy. To become really reliable again needs time.

"My expectations of Ox are pretty high, so I'm impressed by his goals, but there's lots more to come."

While Klopp believes Spurs are over their hump following the thrashing of their Serbian opponents, Mauricio Pochettino called it "a small step" and they were still "disappointed" by their 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in last season's Champions League final in June.

Admitting his players had found it hard to come to grips that "you'll never play the same final" again, the Spurs boss urged them to take on board the lessons of Madrid.

The Argentinian added: "That's why it's important for the young players to realise that to give everything every day and then if you lose, it's part of the day and you can never regret.

"Balance is the most important thing and we are trying to find the right balance... we need to be more solid."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Spurs still a top slide: klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe