“Football should be about joy and fun,” wrote Liverpool’s new manager Klopp in the match programme for the Europa League match against Rubin Kazan.
‘It should be reflected through the organisation. I ask you to believe.”
Liverpool fans awarded the 48-year-old a reception befitting their belief in Klopp as the man to take the Reds back to the top before his first game in charge at Anfield.
“It was one of the best moments for me,” he said after the 1-1 draw. “I felt everything positive and then concentrated on the game.”
Hype and expectation
For all the hype and expectation, the match itself proved Klopp’s myriad qualities do not extend as far as “miracle worker” with Liverpool again looking impotent in front of goal and managing just one goal from 35 attempts.
There was not much joy and fun for the Kop to cheer but Rubin – a side currently struggling in the Russian league – gave their 20 travelling supporters plenty to cheer on by taking the lead through Marko Devic’s stunning strike. They nearly doubled their lead soon after but suffered a double blow just after the half hour mark when captain Oleg Kuzmin picked up a second yellow card and Emre Can bundled in the equaliser from the resulting free kick.
Resilient Rubin’s big challenge
Despite dominating possession and their numerical superiority, Liverpool failed to capitalise against a resilient Rubin side and Klopp commented afterwards: “Tonight is not a master class but it is not the worst day in my life. It was a very interesting game, a big challenge because of the quality of Rubin.
“Everyone can see they are not too bad, very experienced, very cool and when they have the ball they were really good and made a first goal – that is one of the biggest challenges in football.
“You need to restart in the game but we did it well and got our goal, before that they got the red card. Sometimes it is a big advantage against 10 men, most of the time they stop playing football and defend in a compact block.
‘Not satisfied with my present’
“We had our moments and hit the post through Christian Benteke. At the end, no goal.
“So I would say 98 per cent okay, not perfect, the other two percent, that is the problem of this game. Sion win their game and they are away in the group [on seven points with Liverpool on three after three games].
“We can come back in Kazan. That is the next challenge. It is not a master-class but not the worst day in my life.”
Klopp added: “When you come for the first time in a new house, normally you have a present. I am not quite satisfied with my present tonight but it was only the first time and I will come again.”
Sunday against Southampton
Sunday marks his first EPL home game in charge when Southampton visit Anfield. Online football tipsters will note Liverpool have managed only one clean sheet all season – against Bournemouth in August – and this, combined with their toothless attack, suggests Klopp has plenty of work to do to bring back the “joy and fun.”
By: Joe Cahal