Southampton boss Ronald Koeman saw a “very different” Liverpool in Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge at Tottenham last weekend.
Saints travel to Anfield on Sunday for what will be Klopp’s first Premier League match on home turf since being appointed Brendan Rodgers’ successor two weeks ago.
Klopp will be eager to kick-start his tenure with a win after the stalemate at Tottenham last weekend was followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
Koeman spotted the differences in Liverpool’s play in that game at White Hart Lane but has warned it will take Klopp time to fully impose his ideas on the Reds squad.
“He has had a lot of attention in the press,” Koeman said.
“But it isn’t easy because as a new manager you need time. I was surprised how they played the first 30 minutes against Tottenham.
“It was a very different Liverpool in the fact they did good high pressing. The game yesterday (against Rubin Kazan) was different – but that’s normal.
“You need time to put everything you want to put over as a new manager.
“It’s a lot of attention because it’s Liverpool, it’s one of the biggest teams in the Premier League.
“Maybe the system will change, maybe some players get an opportunity to show their qualities.
“What isn’t so easy is in one or two weeks to see a big difference. As a new manager you need more time.”
Southampton head into the clash in good form, having climbed to eighth in the table – two places above Liverpool – with just one defeat in seven matches.
Koeman may be without forward Jay Rodriguez, however, who has made five starts this season since returning from 16 months out with a cruciate ligament injury.
“He is struggling a bit with his feet now,” Koeman said.
“That’s disappointing because Jay likes to improve and be part of the team but he isn’t really 100 per cent physically fit.
“He needs to recover from the pain to show what he can do as a player. He must be patient, that’s what he has to do now.”
Well wishes for Cruyff
Koeman expressed sympathy for Dutch great Johan Cruyff, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer this week.
Cruyff helped Holland reached the 1974 World Cup final and went on to be Barcelona manager during the six years Koeman played at the Nou Camp.
“It’s bad news because he was my favourite coach,” Koeman said.
“I had six years with Johan Cruyff not only as a player and coach but as friends.
“We always had Christmas together with the families in Barcelona at that time.
“He was always a winning player and winning coach so I hope he will have the strength to win this battle also. I wish all the best to Johan and his family.”