Jurgen Klopp managed to collect a 0-0 draw away to Spurs in his first match as Liverpool boss on Saturday, and I personally think he did a great job under the circumstances.
The Reds were already suffering from a potentially difficult situation regarding injuries, but it became desperate when the news filtered through of Daniel Sturridge’s knock prior to kick-off.
The first big name ever-present on the injury list is that of Jon Flanagan. The youngster has been so unlucky with his injuries and I personally can’t wait to see him back. When Flanagan featured in important clashes such as the Merseyside derby and against Manchester United, he really shone under manager Brendan Rodgers. He shows no fear and really gets stuck in – a traditionalist for such a young lad in my opinion. It’s no wonder he’s won praise from Steven Gerrard and Cafu.
Whilst the absence of Flanagan is disappointing, it’s the more recent injuries that have hit Liverpool the hardest. First it was Jordan Henderson who fell with a metatarsal fracture. For our newly-named captain, it was supposed to be an instrumental year but he’s been unable to stamp his mark so far this season. I personally think we’ve missed him in the midfield, his passing and command of his team mates is a calming aspect that the side have missed and you have to feel Klopp will filter him straight back into the starting XI on his return.
Along with Henderson; Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Rossiter were also unavailable for Klopp on Saturday but the real issue was in attack. Christian Benteke was already ruled out, however he is expected to return for the Southampton game.
Knowing he would be without his £32.5 million forward, Klopp was largely thought to be tempted to play two up top. Danny Ings is just the type of player that Klopp loves, a hard worker and most importantly a goalscorer. But Ings would return to training only to pick up an anterior cruciate ligament injury – it has since been reported that the tear was clean meaning Danny could recover sooner than expected.
So, Klopp’s Plan A had been ripped to shreds but he can’t have been too worried because he had the brilliant Daniel Sturridge to start, didn’t he? Well, no. Sturridge picked up a slight knee injury ruling him out of the side forcing Klopp to field Origi as the lone striker.
I don’t want to criticise Origi too much because I honestly feel he needs a supporting striker alongside him, but he was pretty darn poor on Saturday for me. Our German coach may be trying to praise the forward in order to boost his confidence, and that’s admirable, but I don’t think even he could deny that under normal circumstances, Origi wouldn’t be starting.
In terms of Klopp’s start to Liverpool life as a whole? I thought it went pretty well. It was evident that the manager had instructed his side to press relentlessly and command a high tempo. The “miles covered” stats proved this too as only Bournemouth covered more distance than the Reds at the end of the weekend.
Defensively there were some mishaps, but I think with the security of a consistent partnership in the back four this could be an issue that is easily overcome by the boss. We lacked that killer instinct in the final third and players like Coutinho were completely lost during the match but that’s nothing that can’t be rectified with a full strength squad.
Sturridge, Firmino and Benteke should be available to play against Rubin Kazan on Thursday evening so it will be interesting to see who the German selects for his first match at Anfield.