You may have heard: Liverpool have a new manager. With his appointment last week for the fired Brendan Rodgers, Jurgen Klopp has done the managerial equivalent of swinging in on a vine to rescue the Reds from a pit of quicksand. Liverpool fans are pretty excited, and the English media is breathless with anticipation of Saturday's early match at White Hart Lane
But what kind of Klopp-led Liverpool team are we likely to see on Saturday? In short, one that will probably differ significantly from the one that Spurs will face when they head to Anfield next spring. The one-two punch of a big away game on his debut and a Liverpool team that is decimated with injures has done Klopp no favors. Joe Gomez, Christian Benteke, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, and Jon Flanagan are all confirmed out for tomorrow, which limits Klopp's selection.
I'm hardly an expert on Jurgen Klopp tactics. I've watched a few Dortmund matches while he was in charge, but I'll not pretend to be a regular consumer of Bundesliga matches or a disciple of the way Klopp teams play. I know that, much like Mauricio Pochettino, Klopp's Dortmund teams tended to line up in a pressing 4-2-3-1 formation, and now that he's in the Premier League expect the word gegenpressing to enter the footballing vernacular. Rodgers' Liverpool weren't averse to pressing themselves, but I wouldn't expect the Reds to come out looking like Dortmund right away. While the cupboard isn't exactly bare, it's unlikely that we'll see a Liverpool that is dramatically different in a tactical sense from the one Brendan Rodgers led out two weeks ago. There just hasn't been enough time to implement his system, and this time that may play to Spurs' advantage.
That said, Liverpool probably will press some, especially with Eric Dier on the bench due to suspension and no ready defensive midfield equivalent to replace him. Liverpool's expected midfield of Lucas and Emre Can could put Spurs' pivot of Mousa Dembele/Tom Carroll and Dele Alli under some pressure.
Klopp likes to play with a do-it-all utility man on one wing, which suggests James Milner could deputize on the left wing tomorrow, with Lallana (or Jordan Ibe?) on the right, Coutinho in the hole, and Daniel Sturridge up top. The defense more or less picks itself, with Mamadou Sakho alongside Martin Skrtel in central defense.
However, with a new team on the road, it would not shock me if Liverpool decides to play more on the counter, absorbing pressure and trying to hit back through Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. Even wounded, Liverpool is a dangerous team, and missing their midfield anchor, Spurs will need to put a tidy defensive shift in order to grab a home win.
Here's my predicted Liverpool lineup. Sound off in the comments: what kind of Liverpool team do you expect to see from Klopp tomorrow?