LIVERPOOL: Euro 2016 qualifiers, Rugby World Cup and England playing cricket against Pakistan have taken over the headlines. Jurgen Klopp has vanished almost from sight after all the hyperbole of last weekend which painted him as a reincarnation of Bill Shankly. This is no bad thing for him and/or Liverpool.
In a matter of hours, at Tottenham, Klopp begins his Premier League adventure in exactly the same state as newly-appointed Sam Allardyce with Sunderland at West Bromwich later in the day: no games, no goals, no points.
Klopp’s players have already mostly drifted back to Anfield to find a new boss waiting and a new coaching staff. They know roughly what to expect (They have all seen Dortmund on TV, or from the stands or from playing against them): A great deal of hard work plus the absolute priority of making an immediate impression on the new ‘gaffer’.
The devil will be in the detail which Klopp has little time to address ahead of travelling down to north London. He will be pleased to have five days’ training ground work before a home tie in the Europa League against Rubin Kazan next Thursday.
That is the first of three home games in a perfect introduction for Klopp to the English game of four games in three competitions in 10 days – climaxing with a visit by The Normal One to The Special One at Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on Saturday, October 31.
The injury legacy bequeathed by Brendan Rodgers is not a happy one. Captain Jordan Henderson has not played since the second game of the season because of heel and foot injuries; Dejan Lovren damaged ankle ligaments in last month’s League Cup win over Carlisle; Roberto Firmino suffered a back injury in the same game; Joe Gomez and Danny Ings have been ruled out for the season only this week.
At least James Milner is refreshed for the midfield work ahead after being released early by Roy Hodgson without being needed for England’s 10-out-of-10 Euro 2016 win in Lithuania on Monday. Lucas Leiva could partner him in deep midfield at Tottenham.
The Brazilian is one player who may struggle to meet Klopp’s stylistic demands but he has been impressed by the positive spirit out on the Melwood training pitches this week.
Lucas said: “Monday was our first day on the grass with the new manager and it’s been very positive so far. There is a lot of information to take in so we have to listen a lot now and learn to try to put everything he asks us to do onto the pitch and off the pitch as well. It has been very good, very positive and hopefully it will keep going like that.
“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 give 10 metres more, because that will be the key to success.’ That is what he has been saying to us in the last couple of days.
“He seems to be a very open manager who likes to be close to the players but very straight as well. It was a positive way to start.”
But what matters most will be a positive result at White Hart Lane.