LONDON: The Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool will begin in earnest on Saturday when the crowd-pleasing German takes charge of his first Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp has been appointed as the successor to Brendan Rodgers on a three-year contract in a bid to revive a team that has won only one of its last nine games inside 90 minutes.
The 48-year-old might have preferred an easier venue for his first game than White Hart Lane, where Spurs crushed Manchester City 4-1 in their last home match, but he wants his players to embrace the challenge.
Read: Klopp to focus on brand of football at Liverpool
“Some things you can change instantly: mentality, readiness,” said Klopp, whose side are 10th in the table, a point below Tottenham in eighth. “To get really tuned as a team takes time, but I am really not interested in the problems we could have on Saturday. I want to see more bravery, more fun in their eyes.”
The trip to north London will offer a useful point of comparison for Klopp because Spurs, like Liverpool, seek above all to close the gap on the heavyweight quartet of Chelsea, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
Wenger eyes the title
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have a strong chance of winning the Premier League and the Gunners boss has backed his players to vindicate his claims at Watford.
Wenger’s side went into the international break in second, two points behind leaders Manchester City after a 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United.
Read: Klopp emerges as clear favourite for Liverpool job – reports
It is 11 years since Arsenal were last crowned kings of English football, but Wenger made it clear he was more determined than ever to end that barren run. “We want more than third and winning the FA Cup, we have the potential to do more,” said Wenger. “I know you want to ask me — will we win the championship this year? I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance.”
The legendary Frenchman also hinted at drawing the curtain on his time at Arsenal as he enters his 20th year in charge of the club. “I am resolute to commit until the last day of my contract here, to bring back big success to this club and leave this club in a position it can do even better when I leave,” he said.
Bony vows to fill Aguero void
Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony has vowed to fill the void left by injured star Sergio Aguero as the leaders look to extend their advantage at the top of the Premier League when they host Bournemouth.
Read: Liverpool turnaround just a matter of time, says Rodgers
Aguero scored five goals on his last league appearance but is expected to be out for more than a month with a hamstring tear sustained on international duty with Argentina. Adding to City’s woes, Spain midfielder David Silva is also sidelined with an ankle knock.
But Bony is determined to take his chance and make sure Aguero isn’t missed. “It’s never good when your teammates are injured but that’s the way football goes sometimes,” he said. “Now I need to take things game by game and work hard. I have to take my chance and score goals for the team — that’s why I’m here.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.
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