The return of 'gegenpressing'
We as a club came of age at the Bernebau and sent a message out to not just the English teams but the Top teams in Europe that we are finally back at the top seat of European Football.
Compare last season`s European campaign against this one. The leap in performances was as big as Leicester`s performances that led to their Premier League win. Poch has raised the bar and all the other major 5 Premier League teams will have seen that performance and realised that we can mix it with the best. If we had been thumped by Real Madrid on Tuesday this article might have been a very different read.
We didn`t get thumped though, instead we showed everyone what a class act we are and Klopp will have seen that. The press and punters alike have said Hugo Lloris was the hero of the night and big up to Hugo he pulled off a "worldy" but the man of the match for me was Vertonghen. Verts pretty well shut down the left-hand side of the pitch and reduced any attacks coming in to corners, his concentration and timing of tackles was awesome. But what about Harry? not Kane, but Winks. Talk about a Star is born! He can only get better and what a fantastic successor to Dembele he will become.
So here we go, another game, another day at Wembley and all our feet had better be firmly on the ground for this one cos its 'gegenpressing' time as Maribor found out to their cost. The Pools win in Slovenia was defined by their high pressing game. As Klopp said "We were really in the right situations on the pitch, causing them problems and we're a really good football team and they couldn't cope with us tonight.'
Liverpool are the only team Poch has failed to beat in the league since he joined Tottenham in 2014. So, just as we put one monkey to bed this week we have another one to get off our back on Sunday. We may have found our confidence but Pool will be buzzing after their victory in Slovenia. It will now be down to how we contain Philippe Coutinho; Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and how our midfield will cope with the pressure Pool will put on us.
Liverpool are not great at the back and it will be interesting to see how much man power they allocate to keep Kane quiet. Liverpool have conceded from 18.5 per cent of shots faced in the Premier League this season - the worst record in the division. They have faced as many shots as Tottenham (65) but have conceded seven more goals. Kane has taken 50 shots this season, 18 more than any player in the division and is currently averaging roughly 6.4 shots per game. Which means Lovren has a job to do.
The Stats suggest that Liverpool are better when Lovren is part of their back four than when he is not in the side. Liverpool are looking to improve their away form with only one win in their last five league outings. In fact, their recent run has placed question marks over Klopp`s management. Losing 5-0 to City drawing 1-1 at home to Burnley were not the best start but they ran United close and you can see the Reds are improving so this game will be a battle of wills and another big test especially as its at Wembley.
Who Poch picks for this one will also be interesting especially the formation Poch wants to use. Poch wants us to dominate our opponents but sometimes that possession game doesn`t work, we have to be prepared to give the ball to the opposition and create some space behind them. Pool will be in our faces if we try to keep the ball too much. Given that Danny Rose may start we may have a different option to watch. If Rose does start then I can see Aurier being started over Trippier, but Poch has some serious work to do with Aurier. I described him earlier this season as the new Benny brilliant and rash all in one game!
The thing is who is hitting their form the best, us or the Pool? If Pool have started to become a goal machine and, let`s face it, we struggle to score Goals at Wembley Poch has to get his tactics right. So will Poch use the same formula against Pool as he did against Real Madrid? I doubt it - with Dele Alli back and possibly Rose the dynamics will change again and I expect to see Moussa or Wanyama on the bench with Winks starting as the engine room in the middle of the park. Sissoko may get the nod rather than the bench but as the walking wounded start to return Poch is starting to get some very good options to play with.
We need to make a statement on Sunday we have to get another performance out of the team mentally we have gone above that insecurity we showed last season. We must now build on that Real result if we lose against the Pool it will feel like we just undid everything we worked so hard for in Spain'