Klopp v Poch: Nine games, not good for Spurs…

Date published: Wednesday 29th May 2019 1:32

This article was produced in association with Paddy Power as part of our coverage ahead of the Champions League final.

1) Tottenham 0-0 Liverpool (Premier League, 17th October 2015)

The scene
Bre-xit. Out went Rodgers, dispatched after a poor start to the season and a draw at Goodison Park. In came Jurgen Klopp to a flurry of giddy memes – remember the one with the train? – and promises of transplanting Borussia Dortmund’s high-octane counter-press.

The line-ups
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dembele, Alli; Eriksen, Chadli, Lamela; Kane

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno; Leiva, Can; Milner, Lallana, Coutinho; Origi.

The game
Jurgen-Cam. Liverpool started well enough, playing with plenty of purpose in lieu of proper precision. That energy would fade before half-time, though, with Simon Mignolet required to have one of his best games for the club to keep Tottenham at bay. Compared with the matches that these sides would go on to contest, this was a phoney war, played out in the background while every camera lens inside White Hart Lane focused on the Premier League’s newest digital content provider.

The quotes
Pochettino: “In football you need to be clinical. We weren’t but I am still very happy with the performance.”

Klopp: “There were many full-throttle moments in the game. We need to improve but after working with the players for three days I am completely satisfied.”

 

2) Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham (Premier League, 2nd April 2016)

The scene
Six months later, Liverpool were still no nearer to what they’d become; this was very much a team in transition. A rotten January had put paid to any serious ambitions of a top-four finish and so, with Tottenham busy chasing Leicester for the title and his side destined for eighth, Klopp was reduced to playing a spoiling role at Anfield.

The line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-2-1): Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Milner; Coutinho, Lallana; Sturridge.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Kane.

The game
Liverpool had spent an international break stewing over a 3-2 defeat to Southampton, but this was an important waypoint. Tottenham were the better side, their counter-attack was particularly prominent, but Philippe Coutinho side-footed Liverpool into a second-half lead before Harry Kane’s swivel-and-hit levelled it up.

The quotes
Klopp: “You have to learn to become a winner. On this way, we have a few knocks but we are still on a good way. There is not a lot wrong and we can build on this.”


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3) Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League, 27th August 2016)

The scene
By now, Klopp’s own Liverpool had started to emerge. They were still flawed and vulnerable and remained blighted by inconsistency – the previous week’s 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor demonstrated that – but they returned to London two games into the new season having already scored four at Arsenal on the opening day and now with the incendiary Sadio Mane in their side.

The line-ups
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Wanyama, Alli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane.

Liverpool: (4-3-3): Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Lallana, Mane, Firmino.

The game
Scrappy, messy, but played at a blinding speed. For the first time since arriving in England, Klopp enjoyed a notable supremacy over Pochettino. Tottenham were unsettled by an early injury to Walker, but the intensity of Liverpool’s press was starting to become a more consistent feature – as was their ability to fashion chances from defensive mistakes.

Coutinho would have given them an early lead but for an excellent Vorm save, before Mane tumbled under a challenge from Lamela to earn a penalty that Milner would convert. Rose would equalise late on and Tottenham would enjoy the better season, finishing second to champions Chelsea, but Liverpool would re-qualify for the Champions League and their identity under Klopp – particularly in attack – was starting to bloom.

The quotes
Pochettino: “It was a game that if you look at the stats it was 50-50. Liverpool are a team who want to play and win titles and I think we are in the same way. It was a fair result.”

Klopp: “We played a very good away game against a very strong side. We showed we can be good. We played football and defended really good.”


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4) Liverpool 2-1 (League Cup, 25th October 2016)

The scene
Muddled-up teams and a low-wattage encounter. Both managers reached the League Cup final in their first seasons with their respective clubs, but both lost and neither have seemed overly committed to the tournament ever since.

The line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Leiva, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Stewart, Grujic; Ejaria, Sturridge, Origi.

Tottenham (4-5-1): Vorm; Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies; Dier, Carroll, Onomah, Winks, Nkoudou; Janssen.

The game
Little more than a stage for the damned, really. Pochettino was by that point already searching for Vincent Janssen’s receipt and, by all accounts, Klopp was never particularly enamoured with Daniel Sturridge, despite his two goals here. In hindsight, a game most notable for Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first-team debut and the beginning of his 18-month rise to the European Cup final.

Liverpool won, deservedly, but in a match which didn’t seem indicative of anything other than literal tournament progress.

The quotes
Klopp: “The game was what I expected, in a positive way for us. Then, for part of it, we lost concentration and caused our problems by ourselves. Overall, the summary is very positive – a deserved win.”

Pochettino: “The young players are very important for our future, to be a better squad. I think it was a fantastic opportunity to show their quality and a great experience to capitalise on, to take positive things for the future.”

5) Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham (11th February 2017)

The scene
Liverpool’s winless January. Klopp entered the game at arguably the lowest point of his time at Anfield, suffering through a six-week spell without a league win and a period which included defeats to Hull and Swansea City, and a home loss to Wolves in the FA Cup.

The line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Clyne, Leiva, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Firmino, Mane, Lallana.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Dembele, Wanyama; Alli, Eriksen, Son; Kane.

The game
The start of a strange Tottenham habit of making things as difficult as possible for themselves in this fixture. Slow to start and sloppy with the ball, two defensive mistakes allowed Sadio Mane to score twice by the 18th minute it should only have got worse from there.

A high watermark for Klopp and a win which created a useful momentum on the way to finishing fourth, but a low point for Pochettino and the kind of listless defeat to a top-six rival which continues to detract from his work.

The quotes
Klopp: “It was how we have to play against Tottenham. We had to show a reaction and it was perfect. It was an outstanding performance offensively in the first half and defensively in the second half.”

Pochettino: “We started the game very sloppy. It is difficult to understand, I am very disappointed in our first-half display. Second half we reached their level but it is really late.”

6) Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool (22 October 2017)

The scene
Wembley, at the beginning of a very long road towards White Hart Lane’s successor.

This was a time of witch’s curses and conspiracies about pitch-width. Eight days before, Spurs had finally got the first win of their tenancy with a shaky 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, but this was a different test entirely for a side who looked fluid on the road (0-3 vs Everton, 0-4 vs Huddersfield) but who couldn’t shake the inhibition at their temporary home.

The line-ups
Tottenham (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Winks, Eriksen, Trippier; Alli, Son, Kane.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Gomes, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Milner, Can, Henderson; Coutinho, Firmino, Salah.

The game
That Dejan Lovren performance. Two terrible mistakes, Liverpool two down inside 12 minutes. Sadio Mane was serving a suspension after being sent off at Manchester City and that had an effect, but the severity of the defeat was enough to leave a lasting impact on Klopp. 64% possession, four goals conceded: it was about focus, he concluded, a symptom of the weak mentality which he would eventually purge.

Spurs were quite brilliant. Son Heung-Min, long criticised for his failure to show in bigger games, was devastatingly effective on the counter-attack, and Harry Kane was in his usual plundering mood.

The quotes
Pochettino: “I am so pleased for the team, so pleased for our fans. We start to change the feeling that it was difficult to play here at Wembley. We start to feel it can be our home. That’s so important for the rest of the season.”

Klopp: “In all decisive moments we were not there. The first goal was unbelievably easy to defend. The second we miss the moment. The third goal another present. Everything was bad from us.”


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7) Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham (4th February 2018)

The scene
By February, the two Manchester clubs had already run away over the horizon. Liverpool had lost just once since that defeat at Wembley (1-0 at Swansea) and Tottenham, unbeaten in seven themselves, were well on their way to another top-four finish.

The line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Can, Milner, Henderson; Firmino, Mane, Salah.

Tottenham (3-5-2) : Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Dembele, Eriksen, Alli; Son, Kane.

The game
Just chaos. Two superb goals from Mohamed Salah, one well-worked, the other of his own design. An absolute thunderbolt from Victor Wanyama, with even his own mother begging him not to shoot. And then, and then, and then.

Tottenham had repeated their trick, tiptoeing their way into a big game and falling quickly behind. And yet everything they took from the game was given to them: Wanyama’s goal, spectacular as it was, came from a poor Karius punch, the penalty that Kane missed was attributable again to the ‘keeper’s poor judgement, and the spot-kick he did convert, so far into injury-time that it was almost the next day, was awarded after an unusually rash moment from van Dijk.

Pochettino was left celebrating at the final whistle, punching the air in front of the travelling fans, and rightly so, too, because his side had benefited from an enormous let-off from an opponent who, even then, had the capacity to let their foot slip from the pedal.

The quotes
Klopp: “I don’t understand either of the penalty situations. The first one was offside and the second, I know already what the ref and his assistant will say. There was a touch, a little touch. But Lamela has jumped into him and wanted the touch and to go down.”

Pochettino: “Both were a penalty and it is not controversial. Sometimes people complain about the referee, but when they are right it is good to tell everyone. It was important, the character. When you analyse the game, it was always under control despite conceding the first goal. When you analyse the 90 minutes, Tottenham were much better.”

8) Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool (15th September, 2018)

The scene
Wembley, again. This was originally intended as the game to open new White Hart Lane and, when it became clear that it wouldn’t be, the locals weren’t impressed. Not that they were too happy to begin with, after the summer’s transfer inertia, and that contrasted sharply with the Liverpool mood, boosted by the big-ticket signings of Alisson, Naby Keita and Fabinho.

The line-ups
Tottenham (5-3-2-1): Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Winks, Dembele: Eriksen, Lucas, Kane.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Keita, Wijnaldum,; Firmino, Mane, Salah.

The game
Played in blinding, burning sunshine, and – for 80 minutes at least – controlled entirely by Liverpool. The tone was different to previous encounters: Wijanldum’s early header gave the visitors the lead, Firmino doubled it from close range in the second half, and Klopp’s players exerted a calm authority that they hadn’t enjoyed in the fixture previously.

But then, the slight panic: Lamela pulled a goal back and, somehow, Spurs emerged unlucky not to take an (undeserved) point after Son was denied a clear, late penalty.

The quotes
Pochettino: “”I am not disappointed – the game showed how competitive the Premier League is and we played a really good team who started very well. In the second half we made mistakes but we were pushing. The goals we conceded came from our own mistakes, but I am calm.”

Klopp: “We were defensively good, offensively good, and the performance was better than the result. It was perhaps a bit nervy at the end but no problem. I have nothing to be critical about today. If you win games and you’re not 100% with the performance it’s still three points – I like that. It’s a deserved result.”


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9) Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham (Premier League, 31st March 2019)

The scene
Tottenham with one eye on an unlikely European surge, Liverpool splitting their energies between home and abroad, trading punches with Manchester City. Such was the standard maintained during the title race, that one stumble was always likely to prove critical – and this was one Liverpool’s most dangerous fixtures.

The line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Mane, Salah.

Tottenham (3-4-1-2): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Sissoko, Alli; Eriksen; Lucas, Kane.

The game
Just as ever: a sleep-walking Tottenham start and a goal quickly surrendered. To be fair to Pochettino’s players, they rallied admirably and were superior for long periods of the second half, eventually equalising through Lucas Moura. Then, another calamity: Lloris patted Salah’s header into Alderweireld, the rebound trickled into the net, and Liverpool, despite not playing at all well, leapfrogged Manchester City to go back to the top of the table.

The quotes
Klopp: “In the first half, we had fantastic chances and scored a wonderful goal. In the second half, we looked heavy and couldn’t really play. They changed only a little bit. We didn’t adapt well. After Spurs’ goal, we started playing again more.

Pochettino: “We are all disappointed but at the same time we have to be happy with our second-half performance. We were a little bit unlucky to concede the second goal when we should have been ahead because we dominated Liverpool, who are a very good team.”


Seb Stafford-Bloor

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