Five positives from Jurgen Klopp's first match against Tottenham

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The performance wasn't quite Shankly-esque, but there were certainly some positives for Liverpool fans to take from the draw against Spurs.

1. Emre Can

It shouldn't be a surprise to see a midfielder playing well in midfield. However, Can finally was allowed to respond to the hype that has surrounded him since he joined a year ago.

Can was often forced to play at centre-half and right-back by Brendan Rodgers, a decision which made Liverpool supporters want to pull their hair out.


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He was easily bullied and made needless mistakes, yet the most frustrating part was the fact it wasn't actually the German's fault.

Can has displayed glimpses of the talent he possesses. Cool and composed, bursting runs from midfield - dare I say likened to that of Steven Gerrard. Nonetheless, playing in defence highlighted his deficiencies and nullified his strengths.

Against Tottenham, Can demonstrated his ability to work in tandem with Lucas, something that the Liverpool midfield has been desperately seeking since the days of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso. Many players have been experimented, Gerrard and Lucas; Gerrard and Joe Allen; Jordan Henderson and Lucas. None of which worked.

The German international showed enough discipline to support Lucas as well as enough creativity to avoid isolating the forwards.

2. Set-piece defending

A quarter of Liverpool's goals conceded last season were from set pieces as per Squawka. That, in fact, is actually flattering considering how poorly the Reds usually defend from dead-ball situations.

Despite only having a few days to work with the team, Jurgen Klopp has seemingly managed to improve the organisation amongst the defence.

This was highlighted by the fact Liverpool's centre-back pairing won 11 aerial duels. The away side also won 59.4% of their aerial duels compared to Tottenham's 40.6%.

Nearly two years to the day, Rodgers said after a 2-2 against Newcastle: “It’s something that we need to address, for sure," after responding to a question on defending set-pieces. The improvement was never shown and a month later the Reds conceded two set-pieces in a 3-3 draw against Everton.

Admittedly, Christian Eriksen was surprisingly poor from corners, so it could be too early to judge whether there was any real improvement. However, the early signs are encouraging.

3. 'Gegenpressing'

Loosely translated, it means pressing high up the pitch and regaining possession. There was a lot of discussion before the match about how much Klopp wanted his Liverpool side to run and boy was it justified.

Immediately the signs were clear. Every Liverpool player was right in all of the Spurs' faces and in fact, Liverpool became the first side to outrun Tottenham this season.

Towards the end of his tenure, Rodgers seemed to abandon his pressing methods, the catalyst for Liverpool's success in the 2013/14 season. Signing Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert last summer didn't help, and neither did signing Christian Benteke this year.

Energy and fight is the key. If the new Liverpool manager wants to recapture the Anfield atmosphere, he's going the right way about it.

4. Mamadou Sakho

The standout man of the match in my eyes. Aggressive yet composed, he made more clearances (nine) than any other player on the pitch.

The criticism for Sakho has always been his passing. However, when he isn't pressured, the Frenchman is one of the best passers of the ball, almost becoming a creator from the defence. But when under pressure, his composure disappears.

There were a few nervy moments on Saturday when he was careless with his passes. Nonetheless, he showed all the attributes of a strong, commanding centre-half. Winning headers, making crucial interceptions and a dominant leader at the back.

Sakho is a fan favourite at Liverpool, but he still needs to prove to the rest of the footballing public what the fuss is about. This performance was the right way to go about it.

5. Passing tempo

Under Rodgers, Liverpool were known for their retention of the ball, supposedly. It ended up being a philosophy of completing a few risky passes in the opposition box, only to give it away again.

The passing was much crisper and a lot of more threatening against Spurs. The visitors also had a better passing accuracy and completed more passes than the home side.

Liverpool attempted to force the attacks more frequently, without just hoofing it into space. The tempo of the passing was much quicker as they tried to shift the organised Tottenham defence out of place.

The early suggestions are positive for Liverpool fans. There are still a few problems to be ironed out, of course, but the future is certainly bright under Klopp.

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