Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfield with a bit of a reputation for sparkling in front of the television cameras, and he certainly lived up to the hype under the Saturday afternoon lights while his team demolished Manchester City 4-1 at the Etihad.
Speaking after the match to American television station NBC and their football pundits Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux Klopp revealed some of the tactical changes he made which will be of interest to all Liverpool fans, so please be sure to watch the revealing interview below.
During the interview he delves into the mind-set behind the result, and why it was not as perfect as people may think, while also explaining what he said to Emre Can and Roberto Firmino on the side-lines during the match.
Klopp on how proud he was of his team:
I don’t know if proud is the right word, but of course I’m really satisfied with the performance. It was far away from perfect, but it was in many moments really, really good.
Klopp on the tactics implemented:
What we had to do was disturb their build up play, because if you let them play how they want, you have no chance. That’s what we tried to do. This was the first step in this game. It’s really not easy because we didn’t defend perfectly, we had some problems at the wing, in the centre we didn’t move enough on the ball side. But when we got the ball, our counter attack was not too bad tonight, it was really good.
We made these three wonderful goals and then you let them play a little bit, and they’re back in the game because the goal of Aguero was not even a chance. Simon Mignolet had no chance. That’s what happens when you let them play.
Klopp on how far his side have come:
We are not at the end of this way, it’s a long way we have to go. It’s not easy because there is no time to train. When we have time, all the players are around the world with the national teams. We didn’t have more players this time but they came back a little early because of the things that happened in Europe. It was better for the training.
Klopp on the team’s character change:
The character of the team is really good, they want to work. I knew about the character, when you watch Liverpool you see they’re ready for work. But of course we have to work at the mentality, and it’s a different thing. I said to my players at half time, it looks a little like you’re surprised we’re 3-0 in the lead. We have to learn to win, to be in the lead. It’s far away from perfect, but it was a big step. The points, and style of play, we can do better and that’s very important.
Klopp on Manchester City’s goal:
They decided a second too late and Simon Mignolet has the ball, and he should have the solution for us, but that’s not okay because he can only shoot the long ball. He wants to play football, because he’s able to play football, but then hit shoots a [bleep] ball and everyone thinks he’s responsible. No, no, no. The rest are responsible because we think too late.
Klopp on Firmino and Coutinho’s on-field relationship and Benteke on the bench:
That’s more because they are both brilliant footballers. I’m sure they’re friends but they like Benteke and Sturridge too, there’s no problem between the lads. It was because they could train together, and Benteke was not with us. So he came back on Wednesday, and we had 10 days training and we knew we play against Man City and do a little bit of training, of course they both played together in training and so it was the decision.
Klopp on team selection:
The Chelsea game had no bearing, they’re completely different, you cannot compare. Christian, when he came in, was brilliant. Defended well, faster on his legs, so important for us.
To have Sturridge on the bench, and you don’t have to bring him in, because four days in training is nothing. It was more ‘come on Studge, feel it, you are with us’ and now he can make the next step, four more days training against Bordeaux, then another two. To bring him in the shape so he’s robust enough for the long season.
Klopp on Firmino:
Before the game, I told him he’s a striker who can sometimes be a midfielder – not the midfielder who is sometimes a striker. We need him as a target and he came very deep. So I said: ‘what are we doing here? We can’t play the ball in that direction when we have no one to play it to, please stay there.’
I have never told a player to stay there!
Klopp on Can:
Emre is a young lad, he’s full of emotion and everything but when you are tired in a game, then if you cannot make the way back, please don’t make the way forward. He opened space sometimes but it’s no problem, that’s my work, I try to help, it’s not so easy from outside but when you win 4-1, everything is okay.