Liverpool Klopp Episode 2 - From Russia With Love
The LFC script-writers have Klopp's home debut through a Europa League contest with Rubin Kazan, a club from Russia.
Overall, the EPL, in recent years have not done particularly well in European competitions (Champions League and Europa League). One wonders if the EPL's claim that their league is the "best in the world" is true in the sense that on any given day a bottom half of the table club could give a top half of the table club a real contest. In which case, the EPL squads are worn down when lining up for the mid-week European contests.
Rodgers this season played mostly reserve squad players in the two Europa League matches yielding draws. I would expect Klopp to do the same in terms of selecting mostly bench players and giving younger players minutes to see what they got. Hopefully, he can motivate them and provide the tactics to get an elusive Europa league win.
LFC played a full throttle game against Tottenham on the 17th, face Rubin Kazan today on the 22nd, play a tough Southampton on the 25th, Bournemouth on 28th and then Chelsea on the 31st. That is five matches in fifteen days!
Currently, the honeymoon with Klopp is still going strong and may even be somewhat over the top. However, these next 5 matches will be a real test of his leadership and how he is able to get the most out of a squad that has some talent but also has a history of under performing and picking up injuries. Will the fickle fans turn on Klopp if LFC only manges a bunch of draws?
On the other hand, if he is able guide the team to some victories, the Kop will being singing the praises of Klopp!
Well, well, well, Klopp has filled out a strong-ish line-up card!
See the #LFC starting XI and substitutes to face @fcrk in full with our matchday graphic pic.twitter.com/vbfLeEwJ0h— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 22, 2015
More to come after the match ......
I was able to watch a handful of minutes at the end of the first half via ESPN3 online streaming in Spanish. Saw Can's equalizer goal (looks to be thriving under Klopp) and figured with Rubin Kazan down to 10 men, LFC should have gotten the winner in the second half. Alas, when I got to check in on the game again about an hour later when it was nearing the end, it wasn't meant to be. LFC has enough talent to dominate possession (73%), get shots (35) but in the end, the quality of the finishes wasn't there with only 6 actual shots on goal of which 1 went in. Rubin Kazan got 5 shots of which 3 were on goal.
So by the numbers:
Possession 73% to 27%
Shots 35 to 5
Shots On Goal 6 to 3
Goals 1 to 1.
With Firmino and Benteke hopefully heading toward full fitness (what is the latest on Sturridge?), will be interesting how Klopp will plug the two in the next few matches and whether it will make a difference. After all, these two were the big signings this past summer and having them in at full speed and for majority of the minutes will be a truer test of LFC's abilities this season.
LFC under Klopp: 0-2-0