Jürgen Klopp is neither a naughty boy nor a messiah. However, he's one of the most highly-regarded managers in the globe's most popular sport, and when such a figure goes a struggling giant of the game, it's a bloody big deal. What Liverpool produced in the opening twenty minutes at White Hart Lane that went beyond a positive turn fuelled by whimsical excitement of players and fans, it was part of a tactical plan that took root in less than a week.
A red revolution may not be imminent, but Klopp's very presence represents the potential for promising times and turnings of tides. Time always tells, of course, but it's pleasing to see a prominent former Liverpool player breaking down the early impact we saw on Saturday. Liverpool fans are often criticised, sometimes with good reason, for being unreasonable or lacking perspective when assessing matters related to the club. Jamie Carragher unpacked the particulars of the former Borussia Dortmund manager's influence on the way Liverpool play in his punditry role on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.
We've been reading and hearing about what he was like with pressing and how much distance they're going to cover. Very rarely do you see a manager stamp his authority on a team from day one, and that's what he did.Transition was a massive thing for Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and it looks like it will be for this Liverpool team. It's organised pressing. You can see that it has been worked on in the first two or three days of training. These are things you don't see from every team. It's like Liverpool having an extra man on the pitch in terms of pressing and defending. It's not going to be an enjoyable game playing against Liverpool now if they continue to press like that. And they will. He's come in on day one and they've had more sprints and covered more distance than everyone else. If it was that easy, why doesn't everyone do it?
Some managers excel at certain tactical aspects, and Klopp understands how to organise and promote pressing within a group. Gary Neville, Monday Night Football pundit-in-chief, shared concerns "whether it's the right tactic" in the absence of a winter break along with pointing out that the last five managers who won the Premier League title "didn't play football like that". Questions surrounding the sustainability of an approach that places a lot physically on players are legitimate ones, but the notion that tactical differences to previous successful managers should be met with suspicion is a bit worrying. It's probably why British managers and the England football team will wait to see a new tactical innovation before adopting it when it's already been tried, tested, refined, improved, and subsequently woven in the minds of competing managers and teams.
Liverpool aren't looking to win the title at the moment, and that's perfectly reasonable when improvement from months of stagnation and regression triggered a managerial change. Klopp spoke about certain players bringing more on the pitch in the future with confidence that they can do so and has maintained that his team will need time. All the issues connected to excessive expectations have been addressed, and it's now time to work. Liverpool fans are delighted with their new manager, and to be honest, why shouldn't they? The tactical path that the 48-year-old seeks for Liverpool is exciting. Yes, greater quality on the ball is required, some players will arrive as well as leave, and there will be setbacks.
It should be noted, though, that being the first side to outrun Tottenham Hotspur this season is not likely to be the product of "just running around" with passion. Tottenham;s head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, is an advocate of pressing and maintaining high fitness levels. There's a method that's already taking root, and while it may take some time for it to truly blossom, it's heartening to see positive signs against one of the best sides in the league. One can be pleased with that without living in a world propped up by unrealistic ambitions.