Jurgen Klopp wants to see a brave Liverpool team willing to risk making mistakes in his first game in charge against Tottenham on Saturday.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach’s eagerly awaited maiden Premier League assignment is a tough one at White Hart Lane, with Spurs unbeaten since their 1-0 opening-day loss at Manchester United.
Despite claiming just one league win since August – a run of results that paved the way for Klopp to replace Brendan Rodgers after their 1-1 derby draw at Everton – Liverpool can climb above their opponents with victory in north London.
Klopp is keen to banish the air of negativity that surrounded Anfield during the final weeks of Rodgers’ reign and has called for plenty of ambition from his new players.
“The bravery is to make mistakes,” the German said on Thursday. “This is a fantastic game, football. We all love it because it can be spectacular, fast, hard.
“But it doesn’t work without faults. We all, as human beings, think about them, but it’s not important to think about how many mistakes you make.
“You can always get better, if you accept that mistakes will happen. It’s not the biggest thing in the world.
“We have to be compact, close together tactically, and if you are close then you have options to play with. You don’t always have to try the most risky ball if you are compact.
“You have to run, to fight, until the moment, and then… bang, you take it.”
Klopp will be without young defender Joe Gomez, who is facing a lengthy absence with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury he sustained while playing for England Under-21s this week.
His attacking options are also shorn of Christian Benteke (hamstring) and Roberto Firmino (back), while captain Jordan Henderson (foot) remains sidelined.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s match comes too soon for Tottenham trio Son Heung-min (foot), Ryan Mason (knee) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle).
Eric Dier is suspended having collected his fifth booking of the season against Swansea City last time out, but Dele Alli enters the contest in high spirits having made his first England appearances against Estonia and Lithuania during the international break.
Alli told Tottenham’s official website: “It was obviously really exciting to play for England and I’m happy I got some minutes.
“Now we’ve got Liverpool at home and I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously they’re a good team, they’ve got a new manager in so they’ll all be up for it and they’ve got a lot of young players like us.
“On their day they can beat anyone but so can we so we’ll just focus on ourselves, try to play as well as we can and hopefully we’ll do well. I think it will be a good test.”
Key Opta Stats
– Gerard Houllier is the only Liverpool boss to win his first PL game in charge at the club (2-1 v Southampton in 1998, when he was joint-manager with Roy Evans).
– Tottenham are the only team in the Premier League not to taste defeat since the opening weekend.
– Liverpool have won the past five matches between the clubs. The last time Tottenham lost six consecutive Premier League matches to the same opponent was against Newcastle United between 2006 and 2008.
– Liverpool have won only one of their past nine league away games (D4, L4)
– Daniel Sturridge has failed to score in four PL appearances for Liverpool against Tottenham having scored three in five versus Spurs prior to moving to Anfield.