Jurgen Klopp, the self-proclaimed ‘Normal One’ left White Hart Lane with what he labelled a ‘normal result’ as his new Liverpool side drew 0-0 with Tottenham.
Much had been made of the German’s arrival in the Barclays Premier League as replacement for Brendan Rodgers but, with main striker Daniel Sturridge not risked due to a minor knee injury, he could not start his much-heralded reign on Anfield with a victory.
Divock Origi, with only 17 minutes of Premier League football to his name, started in place of Sturridge and came closest to winning the game for the visitors – who had goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping a clean sheet.
Liverpool had won their previous five meetings with Spurs, including 5-0 and 3-0 wins here under Rodgers in their last two visits to north London – but Mauricio Pochettino, whose arrival to these shores in 2013 as manager of Southampton came without the fanfare given to his counterpart.
As it turned out, Pochettino’s side did enough to win the game and, after the opening 30 minutes, were more than a match for Klopp’s Liverpool.
Nacer Chadli was forced off in the early stages as he went down after defending a Liverpool corner, with Clinton Njie replacing him.
The Reds nearly took advantage of Chadli’s absence as, with Spurs momentarily down to 10 men, Emre Can flicked on James Milner’s corner and Origi’s header came back off the crossbar with Hugo Lloris beaten.
Klopp had been stood on the touchline since the opening moments from where he watched his new charges dominate the opening 25 minutes – although they nearly fell behind after a sloppy pass from Adam Lallana.
The midfielder gifted the ball to England team-mate Harry Kane, who did well to pick of Njie on the edge of the box – with the Cameroon international drawing a great save out of Mignolet.
Spurs were now starting to pass the ball as well as Liverpool had been doing earlier in the half and Christian Eriksen saw a shot deflected behind for a corner as they looked to break the deadlock.
They came closer with two efforts shortly afterwards as Eriksen’s threaded pass found Kane, who drew another smart stop out of Mignolet, with Mamadou Sakho on hand to keep out Dele Alli’s follow-up attempt.
Klopp returned to his seat just in time to see a mix-up between Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel allow Njie to nip in an arrow a shot just over the bar as Tottenham continued to force the issue.
The second half started much more evenly with neither side enjoying the dominance they had both sampled in the opening 45 minutes.
Milner was lucky to remain on the pitch after charging into Danny Rose, with referee Craig Pawson not even awarding Spurs a free-kick as Liverpool countered and forced Lloris into a save from Origi.
With seven minutes remaining Kane was played in on the edge of the box by Eriksen, only to see Mignolet once again keep his effort out.
Can fired wide in the closing stages as Klopp’s first match ended in the kind of stalemate the 48-year-old had deemed ‘normal’ at his pre-match press conference.
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