The appointment of a new manager typically leads to an immediate impact, and Jurgen Klopp’s opening match in charge of Liverpool was no exception to that trend.
Despite a promising start to the season, the Reds have looked distinctly average in most games since a impressive performance at Arsenal had led to genuine hope that the current season would see a big improvement on last year’s campaign, and ease the pressure on Brendan Rodgers.
Doubts were cast over the future of Rodgers during the summer, but amongst the split in opinion, I was always of the belief that he’d done enough overall to earn a chance to oversee a turnaround in performances.
Sadly, there have been no signs that the desired improvement was ever likely to fully materialise, and although a tough run of away games was dealt to Liverpool when the fixtures were announced, it’s been the team’s home form that has caused most concern, with five of the opening nine league points dropped at Anfield, and below-average showings in the two cup matches.
With frustration increasing among a growing number of supporters, it was therefore the right time for the board to make a change, and the arrival of a high-profile manager with a good degree of experience, and hungry to build on previous successes will reveal a lot about the squad that has been inherited. Too many players have performed poorly on too many occasions, with some guilty of lacking the commitment expected of them even in the biggest of games.
Klopp has already set about introducing a high intensity pressing game, with players expected to cover much more ground that they’ve become used to – not only in recent weeks, but during the concluding weeks of last season, too.
A draw away to Spurs is a solid start, even if the home side were marginally the better team. But the improved attitude is the biggest positive to take from the weekend.
More of the same will be expected of any player wishing to remain at the club, and if distances covered in a match are to be one measure of the effort put in, there’ll be nowhere to hide over the coming weeks for any of Anfield’s underperformers.