LONDON — Time and money are the two most crucial commodities when it comes to building a football team, and Jurgen Klopp has used both wisely since seeing his Liverpool side crushed 4-1 by Tottenham at Wembley last October.
Eleven months have passed since an inspired Spurs, led by Harry Kane, tore apart Liverpool last season in a game that left Dejan Lovren’s reputation in tatters and left question marks over many of Klopp’s players. Yet on Saturday, Liverpool returned to the scene of their humiliation and avenged that defeat with a convincing 2-1 victory that extended their 100 percent winning start to the season and moved them to the top of the Premier League.
So what has changed?
A quick look at the teamsheets offers the first insight into the evolution of Klopp’s team, compared to the lack of change at Tottenham, since that day last season. Only four of Klopp’s team last October — Joe Gomez, James Milner, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino — started Saturday’s fixture while six of Mauricio Pochettino’s players started both games.
Not much difference on the face of it, but look deeper and you see that only Gomez remains from last season’s Liverpool defence that was given such a torrid time by Kane. Gomez, who played at right-back that day, played alongside Virgil van Dijk in Saturday’s win, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson as full-backs. Simon Mignolet has been replaced in goal by the £66 million summer signing Alisson Becker, while Lovren, Joel Matip and Alberto Moreno have all been dislodged in the months since.
Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho have since left Liverpool, too — Coutinho’s sale raised in the region of £142m — while Jordan Henderson started this game on the bench, with Klopp selecting £52.75m summer purchase Naby Keita ahead of his captain.
Spurs, meanwhile, were missing the injured Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli on Saturday — both players would almost certainly have started if fit — with the other starters from last season’s game, Davinson Sanchez, Heung-min Son and Serge Aurier named on the bench.
But while Klopp has been able to bolster his team by the signings of Alisson, Van Dijk and Keita, Pochettino’s only possible change from last year was winger Lucas Moura, who started this game ahead of Son.
Source: ESPN Footballhttp://www.espn.in/football/english-premier-league