In Liverpool’s first game under the Jurgen Klopp, his philosophy was clear, Liverpool will outrun every team they play this season.
The Liverpool players ran a combined 116km at White Hart Lane, more than in any other game this season. This was particularly impressive as Klopp’s side became the first to outrun Spurs this season.
The Reds also made 614 sprints, 30 more than their previous season’s best and 140 more than their average over the first eight games under Rodgers.
Former Fulham defender Tim Hoogland, who played for Klopp at Mainz told FourFourTwo magazine that players would be set specific running targets by their manager.
You have to run. That’s it,” Hoogland said. “I think this is one of the important things you have to know about him. The whole team has to run 120 km (74.5 miles) collectively every game. 120km minimum.”
Patrick Owomoyela, who spent five years under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, backs up Hoogland’s claims, and says players would be given rewards if they hit their individual targets.
“In his first year he said he wouldn’t guarantee anything apart from that when we reached 120km per game then it would be much harder for us to lose,” he said.
“He actually offered us a day off when we reached that target. He thought that if we reached that then we would win the game. And from then on it became easy because we understood that his plan would work.”
The best time to develop fitness levels is obviously pre-season which is not an option for Klopp. To complicate matters for the Liverpool boss has to deal with midweek games in the Europa League and League Cup over the next three weeks, which will slow his ability to get his side’s fitness levels up.