Why Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool should take inspiration from Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs
If you didn’t notice, Liverpool have appointed former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp to succeed the unfortunate Brendan Rodgers. Klopp took Liverpool to White Hart Lane for his managerial debut for as the Liverpool boss, it end in a 0-0 stalemate which won’t disappoint Liverpool associates an awful lot. However, Klopp’s task is a huge one. He’s been left with a side struggling for identity and game changers. But the boss he faced in his first Liverpool game, Mauricio Pochettino, could provide him with some inspiration.
Pochettino was appointed Tottenham boss in the summer of 2014 inheriting a squad which contained a true game changer in Gareth Bale. But the former Argentina international was never to use Gareth Bale as the Welshman left for Real Madrid. What Pochettino was left with, however, was £85m. This meant a lot of restructuring with Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Michel Vorm among many others arriving a White Hart Lane.
The Argentinian employed a 4-2-3-1 formation that pressed ferociously high. He had a top class keeper readily available in Hugo Lloris while centre back was a shaky position with Fazio ever present. The youth of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb impressed while all credit for Tottenham’s season, ending with a Capital One Cup Final loss against Chelsea, went to Harry Kane.
His Tottenham side featured a large amount of youth and inexperience which in a way favoured Pochettino. Spurs’ young side were able to meet Pochettino’s demands with the constant high pressure as well as having a red-hot striker in Harry Kane. Tottenham beat local rivals Arsenal while stunned the Champions Chelsea with a press The Blues were unable to counter.
Going further back in Pochettino’s career, his Southampton side that ended 8th with The Saints best ever points tally. Again, the Argentinian operated a 4-2-3-1 with Schneiderlin and Wanyama the key members in front of the defense.
The French holding midfielder, Morgan Scnhneiderlin now of Manchester United, was one of the players that developed the most under Pochettino. His ruggedness and tireless effort allowed Pochettino to squeeze the very best out of him.
The former Saints manager also developed a current United player in the form of Luke Shaw. Pochettino acknowledge the fitness struggles of Shaw and had the Englishman put on an intensive fitness programme. The Spurs manager was a key factor into Shaw’s decision to leave as Shaw said he would only stay if the manager did. Pochettino’s tactical flexibility allowed Shaw to aid Southampton both offensively and defensively.
Klopp has inherited a similar squad to that of Pochettino’s Tottenham and the German has adopted a similar style to that of Pochettino’s Southampton. The former Mainz player has come in at a different time to the Spurs boss however. Klopp has no summer transfer window to buy players to fit his style so he’ll have to work with what he’s got.
In goal, Liverpool mirror Spurs with one of the world’s best. Mignolet is the keeper of the current best national team and even with the occasional error, his reflexes and acrobatics make him a key figure in Klopp’s lineup.
Liverpool can adopt a similar press to that of Spur’s successful tactic however with a less able centre back pairing, Klopp’s back line is likely to press a little more mildly to that of Pochettino’s. The Spurs boss recently noted how different the two manager’s styles are, however the fundamentals are there and if Klopp is to have success in the Premier League, he may want to study the Pochettino press.
Giving Alberto Moreno confidence to bomb forward is vital. The Spaniard is 3 years older to Shaw but still possesses a lot of promise. Shaw was given the opportunity to burst forward for the Saints under Pochettino and Klopp may want to take note if he’s to get the best out of Moreno. The former Sevilla man made a brilliant start to life at Anfield with a stunning solo run and finish against Spurs but has since gone of the boil after being played as a wing back in a back five. Klopp’s four man defense may suit Moreno more aptly as he’ll have a closer connection to the left midfielder as oppose to playing alone down the left hand side under Rodgers.
A more defensive press is assured as Klopp doesn’t have the youth in midfield to apply constant high pressure. Lucas Leiva will be the deep lying midfielder who’s likely to lose his place when Henderson returns while Can’s storming runs are a feature that will delight the Anfield faithful after seeing the German struggle at centre back under Rodgers. Can will be to Klopp what Mason is to Pochettino.
The youth of Ibe, Sinclair and Teixeira appeared on the bench against Spurs which sparked links between the two managers in this article. Klopp’s bench was one with little experience, something that isn’t a negative. Sinclair and Ibe have pace to burn and after Sterling’s exit, its only right that one of the two are able to gain credit this season. Klopp will have the chance to develop these youngsters in the way Pochettino was able to impress with his fleet of academy products.
Jurgen Klopp also has inherited a side with a gem. Maybe not a reliable consistent performer but a player who will win points with individual moments of magic. Phillipe Coutinho has to be made the main man under his new man. Like Spurs’ Eriksen, Coutinho is a creative talent that finds the back of net at all the right moments. The Brazilian will be made to work a lot harder but with the unreliability of Sturridge, Coutinho will be the one Liverpool look to for inspiration and a player Klopp looks to for success.
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