Jurgen Klopp’s first game as Liverpool manager ended in a 0-0 draw against Spurs in a performance which should provide some cause for optimism.
Simon Mignolet was the star performer for the Reds on Saturday afternoon, keeping out Clinton N’Jie and Harry Kane on a number of occasions in order to keep Liverpool’s first clean sheet since August.
Divock Origi, starting in place of the injured Daniel Sturridge, nearly opened the scoring after 10 minutes, and though Spurs had the largest number of chances, a draw seemed a fair result at White Hart Lane.
The Klopp effect seemed to have taken hold of the visitors early on, with the likes of Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho particular impressive in implementing the German’s famous ‘gegenpressing’.
Such an energetic start nearly paid off for the Reds, but Origi, starting in place of the injured Sturridge, was only able to turn a 10th minute corner onto the crossbar before Spurs cleared their lines.
Lallana was next to test Hugo Lloris from range as Liverpool continued to impress, but the England international’s tame effort from the edge of the area barely troubled the home goalkeeper.
That signalled the end of Liverpool’s dominance in the opening half hour, as Spurs grew into the game and their own pressing techniques began to pay dividends.
After a shaky start from the hosts, Lallana’s misplaced pass provided an opening for Kane, who laid the ball off to N’Jie before the Cameroonian forced a sublime stop from Liverpool keeper Mignolet to keep the scores level.
Another James Milner corner almost handed Liverpool the lead on 34 minutes, but Martin Skrtel was unable to force the ball over the line past a determined Kane.
Liverpool’s impressive start had been forgotten by the 40th minute, with Spurs very much in the ascendancy. N’Jie, a substitute for Nacer Chadli after the Belgian was stretchered off on 10 minutes, was generally sloppy in possession but at the heart of a fast and energetic Spurs attack.
It was Kane however who almost forced the opener, capitalising on some trademark lackadaisical Liverpool defending to force another good save from Mignolet, before Dele Alli’s follow-up was expertly blocked by Mamadou Sakho.
More defensive miscommunication between Sakho and Nathaniel Clyne provided N’Jie with an opportunity to shoot from range, with the summer signing’s effort flying just over Mignolet’s crossbar, with Liverpool thankful to maintain a clean sheet heading into the break.
There was a rather less frantic feel to the opening of the second half, with both sides suffering from an inability to keep hold of the ball, though Kyle Walker twice let fly from range.
Liverpool grew into the second half as Spurs did in the first, and Origi came close to breaking the deadlock when he burst down the left-hand side before testing Lloris with a low effort.
With five minutes remaining man of the match Mignolet was again the savior for Liverpool, keeping out Kane’s deflected strike, while Can’s drive nearly stole all three points with a minute left.
Both sides eventually settled for what seems like a fair 0-0 draw, meaning Spurs remain unbeaten in the Premier League since their opening day defeat to Manchester United. Liverpool are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions – a tally which includes six draws.