Liverpool still a work in progress
Klopp needs to enforce consistency to realise his master plan for Reds
TOTTENHAM v LIVERPOOL
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
It has been only 10 months since Juergen Klopp entered the gates of White Hart Lane for his first Premier League test.
The rematch with Tottenham Hotspur tonight will present the German with the chance to show how far his side have come.
Klopp-mania has gripped the red half of Merseyside since day one and it shows no signs of abating.
The Kop see in the former Borussia Dortmund coach a leader with an aptitude for success.
Klopp, who last month signed a new six-year deal to extend his stay at Anfield to 2022, was happy to talk the talk.
In an interview with BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker earlier this week, he said: "I would like to celebrate in six years, six times, after each season.
"Something that would be great, not a small thing.
"Really celebrate something, driving on a big bus, through Liverpool celebrating with six, seven hundred thousand people, I would love to do."
Then, pausing for a while as if to let the scenes run through his head, he added: "Yeah, would be nice."
Putting into practice his blueprint for success, however, has proven to be a less enjoyable process.
His seven months with Liverpool last season produced a mixed bag.
The bad almost invariably followed the good.
There were highs, like the emphatic wins over Manchester City, Villarreal and Everton, and the dramatic victory over his former club Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
But defeats by the likes of Crystal Palace, Watford and Newcastle would puncture the euphoria, and pose questions the team seemingly had no answer to.
Many feel that Klopp didn't have enough time to mould the team he wanted to.
Entering the fold halfway through the campaign, the flurry of Premiership, domestic cup and European games ate into his opportunities to iron out the creases on the training pitch.
The popular belief is that he needed a full pre-season with the players and, crucially, his own players to make his system work.
New additions such as Saido Mane, Joel Matip, Loris Karius and Georginio Wijnaldum have arrived to shore up the squad.
They also had a busy run of friendlies which took in nine matches, including against Roma, Chelsea, AC Milan and Barcelona, before the real action began.
But the early results haven't been entirely convincing.
The Reds opened their campaign with a superb 4-3 away win over Arsenal to suggest they had finally gotten into the groove, with new signing Mane looking particularly impressive.
Then came a humbling 2-0 loss to newly promoted Burnley at Turf Moor last week. Back to square one.
"These mistakes shouldn't happen any more," an irate Klopp, 49, said afterwards.
Earlier this week, Liverpool romped to a 5-0 victory over Championship side Burton Albion in the second round of the League Cup.
If high-pressing, attacking football is now staple fare at Anfield, so is the tendency to blow hot and cold without warning.
The match against Spurs tonight will be a good barometer of their progress, for a number of reasons.
There are similarities between the two sides.
Both Klopp and his Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino advocate the pressing game, with an emphasis on attacking the opponents before they get the chance to do so themselves.
Likewise, the faith in youth, which has seen both clubs invest primarily in raw talent rather than established names.
The main difference is, Pochettino has already done the business with Spurs (well, sort of), while Klopp is still searching for a tangible reward for his team's occasional brilliance.
For a long spell last season, Spurs were widely regarded as the best footballing side in the country, until a disastrous final couple of months saw them slip out of the title race and eventually finish third.
The consolation prize for Spurs was significant though - Champions League football.
Klopp, meanwhile, continues to raise the hopes of the Anfield faithful with his visions for the future.
However, no one can say for sure how much they have improved.
How they fare against Spurs tonight will be a good benchmark.
Games between Tottenham and Liverpool have produced nine premier League own-goals, more than any other fixture.