Effervescent Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp is the latest to feature in our Manager Files as we look at the tactics, mannerisms demeanour and touchline antics of the game’s top bosses.
Klopp won’t have been the only male in a dark tracksuit with white trainers in Liverpool on Monday night, but he was certainly the most high profile. The wiry German will be 50 next year but his lithe frame means this is one middle aged man who can still pull off wearing a tracksuit without looking slightly ridiculous.
The big news pre-match was Adam Lallana, who had been in fine form before picking up a recent injury. Despite this he was deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.
Daniel Sturridge again led the line for the Reds whose 4-3-3 formation was tasked with causing the Red Devils some problems defensively.
The first half was a forgettable affair with both teams cancelling each other out. Liverpool could only manage two shots in the opening 45 minutes. They were much better after the break and but for the brilliant David De Gea might have won it.
However despite finishing with possession stats of 65% history will remember Klopp losing this particular tactical battle to rival boss Jose Mourinho, who was naturally more than pleased to leave Anfield with a point.
Klopp was clearly frustrated early on by Liverpool’s slow start at Anfield, gesticulating wildly at times in an effort to rouse his players. They got better after the break as Klopp prowled around and mimed the odd header from the technical area every time Liverpool swung in a meaningful cross.
Sadly a lack of goals at Anfield meant that Klopp failed to hit the frantic heights we know he can. This is a man who lost his glasses (but not his dignity) earlier this year at Norwich when Lallana settled a nine-goal thriller in Liverpool’s favour in the dying embers of a pulsating game at Carrow Road.
What they said
Klopp cut a frustrated figure afterwards as his side missed the chance to go joint top of the Premier League. His interviews are normally jovial affairs but the German admitted he had “mixed emotions” after watching his team draw 0-0.
“I’m not happy with the game. It was a hectic game. There was pressure here, pressure there. I don’t think we played as well as we could have. That’s our fault, nobody else’s. We started OK but with these kind of defending, man on man defending, we weren’t brave anymore.”
However Klopp, the eternal optimist, admitted it was not all doom and gloom when, with a twinkle in his eye, he said “It was our first clean sheet so yippee. That’s all I’m happy about.”
Klopp kept a respectful silence in the build up to this one as Jose Mourinho questioned the wisdom of allowing Anthony Taylor to referee the match.
He couldn’t resist commenting on United’s physical approach afterwards however and what he saw as a lack of ambition from Liverpool’s great rivals.
“All the little fouls they did, it’s not a problem – that’s how football is. They want to win, or maybe just take a point. But we have to use it. We have to turn their strengths into a weakness. That’s what we didn’t do.”
There are few jobs seemingly more safe in the cut throat world of Premier League management at present. Klopp is building a vision at Anfield and his side are second favourites to lift the title behind Manchester City.
It would be a seismic shock if he was the next top flight manager to leave his post and this is reflected in the betting with Klopp chalked up at a whopping 200/1.