Emre Can is Jurgen Klopp's star student: Five things we learned from Liverpool 1 Rubin Kazan 1
By Merseyside correspondent Coral Barry
Emre Can becomes the main man, Anfield embraces the regime change and other things we learned from Liverpool 1 Rubin Kazan 1.
Can thrives in the new era
How fitting that Liverpool’s first goal under Klopp was created and scored by a fellow German. Producing 61 sprints and running 11.3km during Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham at the weekend, Can has been Klopp’s flag-bearer on the pitch so far and tonight he carried on where he left off. Drawing a foul and then scoring the resulting free-kick, this was a further demonstration of Can’s ability to thrive higher up the field. Given the midfield mantle by Klopp, Can is performing at a break-neck tempo and grasping the responsibility with both hands.
Anfield is on its feet once again
The Anfield faithful may think they have waited an eternity to welcome Klopp to Liverpool, but in reality it has been only two weeks. With Liverpool struggling to break down 10-man Rubin, it was not the result the home supporters were waiting for but it did little to dampen the spirits on the terraces. Loud and proud, Anfield was eager to banish the demons of the past six months with a rousing reception at kick-off and a bouncing atmosphere through-out. Just add a few more goals and this great theatre of European football should be uncontainable once again.
Hunting in packs and pressing with purpose
The defining features of any Klopp side are to never stop running and always play as a team. The Liverpool players have so far shown signs they are listening. Can in particular was aggressive, but most encouraging was the fact that when Liverpool did press it was in twos and threes. Similar to the famous triangle principle of tiki-taki football, whenever a Liverpool shirt decided to harass, he was joined by teammate. Often when Alberto Moreno closed down his marker tonight, James Milner or Can were not far behind, ready to pounce or have a second bite at the opposition.
Origi is nowhere near the finished article
Divock Origi was named in the worst eleven of Ligue 1’s 2014/15 season and things have improved little since then. With Daniel Sturridge not fit and Christian Benteke named as a substitute as he continues his recovery from injury, Klopp has had little choice but to start Origi, but he is so raw he should come with a health warning. The Belgian did not manage a shot on target tonight and was substituted in the 73rd minute with Liverpool a man to the good and chasing the winner. He is nowhere near the finished article.
Europa League will be taken seriously
There is are two wonderful prizes waiting at the end of the Europa League road for any potential winners: a shiny trophy and a place in the Champions League. They are not to be scoffed at and many fans found Brendan Rodgers’ dismissive attitude to the competition not only bewildering, but short-sighted. By making just one change to the side that played at Tottenham in the Premier League last weekend, Klopp showed he will take the tournament seriously as he aims for some much-needed silverware in his first season.