Jurgen Klopp cautioned that it will be a case of evolution rather than revolution when he takes charge of Liverpool for the first time against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Appointed last week following the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers, the former Borussia Dortmund coach has been greeted by a wave of excitement, as well as high expectations. Much has been talked about Klopp introducing his famed high-tempo counter-pressing style to turn around a team that has won just one of its last nine matches in all competitions. Klopp, though, stressed not to expect too much too soon.
“It's not a time to change many things, it's only [time] to turn the screws a little bit in the right way and that's what we tried to do,” he said in his press conference ahead of the Tottenham match.
"Some things you can change like this [at the click of a finger], of course. You can change mentality, readiness, that's all you can change. But to get really tuned as a team that takes time, for sure.
“Now we have to train as often and as long as possible and not think about expectations from outside. I don't read what you write so I'm completely free of expectations. My pressure, I make myself -- it's big enough. I don't need anybody to tell me I have to be successful. I know it.”
Klopp has been handed several complications ahead of his Liverpool bow. Both young defender Joe Gomez and England forward Danny Ings tore the anterior cruciate ligament in their knee during the week to leave them facing surgery and several months on the sidelines. And in the short-term, Klopp will also be unable to call upon Liverpool’s two biggest signings of the summer, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino, on Saturday as they continue their return to full fitness.
It is a tough task, then, for Klopp to replicate Liverpool’s recent success at White Hart Lane. In their last two visits to the north London venue, Liverpool have triumphed 5-0 and 3-0. Spurs, though, come into the upcoming meeting in fine form. Without a defeat since the opening day of the season, Tottenham’s performances last month, which included a thrilling 4-1 victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City, this week earned boss Mauricio Pochettino the division’s Manager of the Month award for September.
And defender Ben Davies is one of those hoping for better against Liverpool this time around.
“Last year’s home match against Liverpool was my first appearance in the Premier League for the club so it’s always one that I’ll remember, but hopefully we can get a better result this time,” he told Tottenham’s official website.
“We’ve conceded a lot of goals against them lately so we need to be as solid as we can at the back, first and foremost. Our attacking threat is always going to be there at the other end, so hopefully that will come into play and we can enjoy another great day at White Hart Lane.”
Tottenham will have to do without summer signing Son Heung-min, as well as midfield duo Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, because of injury. Eric Dier, who has impressed in a holding midfield role this season, will also miss out, through suspension.
Kickoff time: 7:45 a.m. EDT
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra