You don’t always get to pick your own battles, or even the soldiers you go out to fight with. Jürgen Klopp will make his debut as the Liverpool manager in a difficult away match against Tottenham, which is a “great” way to cause plenty of overreaction in the media and even parts of the fanbase, trying to predict his future with the club based on the result of one match.
Klopp has already gotten some bad news with injuries to Joe Gomez and Danny Ings. Ings has probably been Liverpool’s best player over the last few weeks, and considering Christian Benteke is still injured, this leaves him with just Daniel Sturridge as a capable option up front. Not exactly how Klopp wanted to start his time managing the Reds, but the whole situation of coming in following a disappointing start from the club and taking over in October isn’t ideal.
Liverpool have done pretty well at White Hart Lane in the last two years, including last year’s best performance coming early in the season. It was the only time when it looked like the signing of Mario Balotelli would work, as he provided a perfect partner to Sturridge up front. Then the injuries began, and Brendan Rodgers slowly but steadily lost sight of what’s right and wrong as choices for players, tactics and formations. The process dragged on for about a year, but eventually he was sacked.
While Spurs’ form is fantastic, winning three matches in a row before a draw away at Swansea and overall not losing once since the opening weekend, Liverpool might be catching them at the right time. Harry Kane still isn’t where everyone thought he’d be at this point, suffering from post-breakout season problems. Christian Eriksen’s momentum has been broken with the international break. Both Son Heung-min and Ryan Mason won’t be available.
Liverpool have their own injury problems as we mentioned above, and beyond everything else is now the grueling process of getting accustomed to a new manager with a new system, but Klopp has shown he has no problem being the underdog during his time at Dortmund and previously with Mainz, and with a young squad to work with, his high work rate, high pressure type of football shouldn’t be too much of a problem to instill among the players.
Klopp, unless this season results in Liverpool fighting against relegation, is going to be at Anfield for at least another season. While making the top 4 and getting back into the Champions League would be lovely, it’s not going to be too much of a shock if it doesn’t happen. Great manager or not, there’s a certain amount of talent at his disposal, at least for the next three months, and there’s no getting around that. Steadying the ship, nibbling at the bottom of the top of the table and showing some sort of consistency (a good kind of consistency) will be a nice way to set up the foundation for actually winning things with the club.