It was certainly a game of two halves, which Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp outlined in his post-match interview.
The first half dragged and it felt as though Liverpool were hanging on by their fingernails. There was complete disconnect and sloppiness across the board. The Reds were fortunate not to be a goal or two down at the break.
In the second half, however, they looked a completely different side as a Sadio Mane strike put them ahead. City, though, were quick to respond through Phil Foden. They did so again with Kevin De Bruyne after Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the lead a second time.
James Milner was a major talking point post-match after escaping a second yellow card. Pep Guardiola was certain it was another yellow and that Milner ought to have been sent off. Jurgen Klopp said he didn’t see the incident with Bernardo Silva.
The points were shared and it was a result Klopp was ‘fine’ with, given his side’s first-half showing.
Jurgen Klopp on his Liverpool team’s performance vs Manchester City
The Liverpool boss went into a detailed tactical breakdown after the final whistle. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said “First and foremost when you play Man City, Man City are a proper team, so there are ways to defend it but you have to close down spaces and for that, you have to step out in specific moments.
“That’s what City want to do, play through the centre, that’s the first idea. But if the centre’s closed – they leave the two wingers high and wide, pass the ball there, it’s a big switch or just a pass. One situation in the box these kinds of things, I’m not sure I saw a lot of games where City could pass the ball that easy through half-spaces, so between our winger and our eight, it was constantly ‘pff’. So what was the reason for that?
“We in our last line (were) too passive, we called the midfield line back so neither Jordan Henderson nor Curtis Jones could step out when needed, when necessary, so we were passive; they passed through us we turned and go. They had chances, they didn’t score from that but what that gives you is a bad feeling, this bad feeling leads to not playing football, so then we had those long balls which made no sense, one or two of them may be made sense – all the rest I didn’t see the reason for.”
An improved second half performance says Klopp
“All these things we changed in the second half, immediately you could see we were higher, more aggressive, we felt closer, more compact so they couldn’t play in the way they wanted – we were now in the game, we scored wonderful goals.
“The message was ‘play the extra pass and we didn’t do that in the first half at all. I’m really happy, second half I’m really happy with the strong opponent we want them in a game like this yes, but we have to admit today because the game has two halves the point is completely fine.”
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