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    Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Liverpool Match Report


    Jurgen Klopp began his reign as Liverpool manager with a hard-earned draw in a match that, had it not been for the intrigue created by the German's presence on the touchline, would have been a largely forgettable affair. Despite a number of chances that could have yielded more for both teams than the goalless draw that ensued, neither side could provide the killer instinct in front of goal that this fixture has produced in recent seasons.

    Klopp can take encouragement from Liverpool's performance, with early signs that the players are buying into the German's philosophy of high-press, high-energy football but they were cancelled out by a Spurs side that are proving to be well-organised and difficult to break down. There were still some signs of the defensive problems that had plagued Brendan Rodgers' time as Liverpool manager but on the few occasions that Tottenham did manage to get in-behind the Reds' defence, they were thwarted by an assured-looking Simon Mignolet, 

    Liverpool went into the match will a depleted side, with Daniel Sturridge suffering a knee injury in training which forced him to join Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings on the sidelines. It gave Divock Origi the opportunity to impress his new manager as a lone striker, with Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana supporting him in a 4-3-2-1 formation. The 20-year-old, isolated at times, worked hard for his team and showed signs of the talent that prompted Brendan Rodgers to fork out £10 million for him after helping Belgium reach the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup.



    It was the away side, perhaps inspired by Klopp's presence on the touchline, who began the brighter, and were unlucky not to take the lead after 10 minutes when Origi headed against the crossbar from four yards after Emre Can had headed on James Milner's corner. The Belgian also had a chance to score from the rebound but, having miscontrolled the ball, was unable to force the ball over the line after being put under pressure by Erik Lamela.

    Despite dominating the early stages, Liverpool failed to take the lead, allowing Tottenham to weather the storm, and they started the grow in the match as the half progressed. Spurs were forced to make a change after only 11 minutes when Nacer Chadli was stretchered off with suspected ankle ligament damage after being involved in a heavy collision, with Clinton N'Jie replacing him. The £8.3 million summer signing from Lyon made an instant impact and was unlucky not to score after 28 minutes when, played in by Harry Kane, his outside-of-the-foot strike from 15 yards was well-saved by the outstretched hand of Mignolet.



    Tottenham continued to crank up the pressure and Mignolet again had to be at his best to deny Kane from giving Spurs the lead. The England striker found himself through on goal but his left-footed effort from 12 yards was saved by the Belgian's feet, with Mamadou Sakho blocking Dele Alli's follow-up effort from just inside the penalty area. Then, shortly before half-time, N'Jie nipped in following a lack of communication between Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel, and unleashed a spectacular effort from just outside the penalty area that was fractionally too high.

    Chances were less forthcoming in a tighter second half, with both teams struggling to find the killer pass to break down the opposition's defence. This was partly the result of two teams cancelling one another out due to the similar styles they adopted, with Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino renowned a high-energy, high-pressing game but this resulted in a lack of space on the pitch for large parts of the contest.

    The game did become more stretched in the last 15 minutes, with Origi testing Hugo Lloris with a left-footed effort from 10 yards after being played in by Coutinho. Then, with six minutes remaining, Harry Kane missed arguably his side's best chance of the match after Christian Eriksen's weaving run had taken four Liverpool defenders out of the game. He laid the ball on to Kane, whose right-footed effort from just outside the penalty area was pushed wide by Mignolet.



    Emre Can nearly won the game for Liverpool with a minute remaining, striking the ball agonisingly wide from 25 yards after being teed-up by Joe Allen. It would have been tough on Tottenham had they conceded a late winner having played their part in a hard-fought encounter, dominating the latter stages of the second half and perhaps creating the better openings throughout the match.

    Klopp will be delighted that after all the fanfare and hullabaloo, his first match in charge of Liverpool is finally out of the way. His side didn't come away from White Hart Lane will the win but he would have seen plenty of encouraging signs from his players to indicate they now have a platform to start building from. They responded well to his instructions of high-energy and high-pressing, proven by the fact that they covered over four kilometers more ground than in any of their eight previous fixtures and were the first side to run further than Tottenham this season.

    There is still plenty to work on, however, such improving the quality of the passing, moving the ball quicker in possession and being more clinical in front of goal, but that will come over time. His job will be made easier in the coming weeks, not only when he has the opportunity to spend more time with his players on the training ground but when some of his key players make their way back from injury, most notably Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke.



    His next assignment will be Thursday's Europa League encounter against Russian side Rubin Kazan, where he will be guaranteed to get a rousing ovation from an expectant Anfield crowd. His excellent record in European football should stand Liverpool in good stead, having guided Borussia Dortmund to a Champions League final in 2013. He will then have three days to prepare his side for Sunday's encounter against Southampton at Anfield.

    Tottenham will be fairly happy with the draw, which brings to an end Liverpool's dominance in the fixture, having won all of the last five encounters. Pochettino's team are much tougher to beat this season, having remained unbeaten since the opening day of the season, and boast the joint-best defence in the league along with North London neighbours Arsenal. Although they never hit the heights of the last home match against Manchester City, where they won 4-1, it is the kind of fixture that Tottenham could quite easily have lost in recent seasons.

    Spurs, like Liverpool, also have a Europa League fixture to look forward to on Thursday, away to Anderlecht of Belgium, before travelling to newly-promoted Bournemouth on Sunday. They now sit in seventh place in the table, a point and three places above Liverpool, and only three points outside the Champions League places.
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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