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Excitement and Hope in the Air at Liverpool as Klopp Takes Over

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Jürgen Klopp’s arrival has Liverpool’s players excited and hopeful, just like the fans, according to veteran midfielder Lucas Leiva.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool's players, perhaps not surprisingly, stayed quiet last week as the club switched managers, parting ways with the embattled Brendan Rodgers and taking their chance to bring in Jürgen Klopp. This week, having met the new man and spent time training with him, some of the more senior squad members are finally having their say.

It will take more than just a week of practice and some talk of hope and improvement to really turn things around for a side that had looked aimless for the past 16 months, but no matter their thoughts on the departed Rodgers, the players know who Klopp is. They know the reputation he arrives with and that Liverpool have landed one of the most highly regarded managers in all of football.

"He was so successful at his last club, so of course, when a manager like him comes it always gives you a lot of hope," said midfielder Lucas, who can now say he spent time training under five managers at Liverpool. Some of those managers have doubted Lucas at times, but all of them have in the end come around to the Brazilian holding midfielder's importance.

"It's a fresh start for every player, and his CV is amazing so I think everyone is really excited to learn from him and improve as a player and a team, because that's the only way we will achieve what we want. I watch a lot of football. The year they arrived in the Champions League final, I remember their games, especially against Manchester City in Manchester. They were fantastic."

Some have speculated that Lucas' lack of pace could hurt him in a Klopp side, but while the new manager has always put a high value on running from the wide and advanced position, he has also sought to build his sides around a solid defensive foundation. Two centre halves and a pair of holding midfielders—players like Sven Bender and Ilkay Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl and Nuri Sahin.

None were amongst the fastest players on the pitch, and while pace might be an added bonus even for them, it clearly wasn't the deciding factor for their inclusion. Neither was pace a must for centre halves like Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic. The goal was an unflappable foundation; a core. Around it, the rest of Dortmund's players harried and pressed and attacked at pace.

It's a fresh start for every Liverpool player, and what we see against Tottenham may not be the same as what we see in two weeks or two months. If Dortmund is to be used as a guide, though, speed and pressing built around a solid foundational stack of the centre halves and holding midfielders will be the basic template. Expect that. And, for the first time in more than a year, expect hope.

"Monday was our first day on the grass with the new manager in charge," added Lucas. "It has been very positive. He seems to be very passionate. He likes to put in everything that he has and he asks the players for the same. Be very intense. Be aggressive with yourself. Always try to be better, always try to give 10 metres more, because that will be the key to success.

"That is what he has been saying to us in the last coupe of days. He seems to be a very open manager and someone that likes to be close to the players, but is very straight as well. That's what I've learned from the last couple of days and I think it was a positive way to start."