CHRIS SUTTON: My Premier League verdict: ditch the bad excuses, Klopp!

CHRIS SUTTON: Ditch the excuses, Jurgen (and that’s from a man who once blamed Beyonce for a poor pitch!)… PLUS, Newcastle are feeling the good vibrations – and where does Richarlison fit in at Spurs?

  • Jurgen Klopp should not use excuses to explain Liverpool’s draw at Fulham
  • Richarlison may find his game time at Tottenham limited despite squad rotation
  • Eddie Howe has helped to dispel the negativity that held Newcastle United back

Apparently me and Beyonce have beef — finally, the rivalry that football has been waiting for. 

I suggested her concert at Hampden Park left the pitch in a dire state ahead of Celtic against Rangers in the Scottish League Cup in 2016. 

It was all torn up, though, so I’d say that was a valid complaint. 

Jurgen Klopp blaming Liverpool’s draw at Fulham on a dry pitch is up there with the worst excuss in football 

But Jurgen Klopp suggesting Liverpool were held back by a dry pitch at Fulham is up there with football’s worst excuses. 

Like the time Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said the ball was ‘too light’ in a stalemate against Wolves in 2017, or Ukraine captain Vladislav Vashchuk blaming a 4-0 defeat by Spain at the 2006 World Cup on croaking frogs keeping the team awake at their hotel the night before, or Fulham’s former owner Mohamed Al-Fayed claiming the club’s relegation from the Premier League in 2014 was due to the removal of their ‘lucky charm’ — the Michael Jackson statue. 

I blamed Beyonce’s 2016 tour for a ‘torn up’ pitch for a cup match at Hampden Park, but that was a valid complaint!

Like many bosses, Klopp is armed with a list of excuses when things don’t go his team’s way. 

Sometimes, a head coach should just say it as it is. 

Fulham played well, frustrated them and got the least they deserved. 

Where does Richarlison fit in at Spurs? 

That display from Dejan Kulusevski at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was one which said: ‘Try dropping me now, boss.’ 

We know Harry Kane won’t be dropped by Antonio Conte. We know Son Heung-min won’t, either. 

Tottenham spent well in the summer, bringing in Richarlison from Everton for £60million. That’s a lot of money. 

He’s a fine, fiery player, the Brazilian. 

But Kulusevski is such a talented footballer who takes the team forward. He has got a really good football brain, knowing when to drive outside and when to come inside, and Southampton couldn’t live with him on Saturday. 

Richarlison is going to face stiff competition to get game time at Spurs, despite squad rotation

Despite Richarlison’s arrival, Tottenham’s best front three remains Kulusevski–Kane–Son. It will be interesting to see how Conte proceeds. 

It’s a squad game now more than ever. 

Managers can use five substitutes — and Conte was one of those to use his full allocation on Saturday. 

It’s good that Tottenham have strength in depth because they want to be fighting for the top four and silverware this season. 

Kulusevski wants to stay central to Conte’s plans and the best way to do that is by performing like he did against Southampton. 

Toon feeling the good vibrations

You may have seen the supporters’ banner at St James’ Park on Saturday. ‘It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for NUFC… and we’re feeling good,’ it read. 

That was in stark contrast to the start of last season when West Ham were winning 4-2 at Newcastle and boos were ringing round from the few fans that remained at St James’ Park. 

Getting off to a good start against Nottingham Forest was important. 

There’s expectation at the North East club now, and it is unusual for a manager to be handed a new long-term contract before a ball is kicked. 

Eddie Howe has helped to banish the negativity which hampered Newcastle United last season

That was a good show of faith from the board for Eddie Howe, who did incredibly well last season. 

Steve Bruce’s sorry reign is now very much a bad memory for their supporters. 

I’m slightly surprised they haven’t done more work in the transfer market. 

I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of Financial Fair Play but Howe is getting the best out of the group he has got. 

They hit the ground running against Forest and were playing front-foot football. 

The negativity of the past has been replaced by newfound positivity. 

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