EPL

Klopp happy for half-time opportunity as Liverpool boss praises 'world-class' Salah

By Sports Desk October 03, 2021

Jurgen Klopp acknowledged it was a tale of two contrasting halves for Liverpool after they fought out a pulsating 2-2 draw with Manchester City at Anfield.

City, the reigning Premier League champions, were the dominant team before the break, Phil Foden twice denied by Alisson while Kevin De Bruyne wastefully headed over.

Pep Guardiola's side had a strong claim for a penalty when Foden was clipped by James Milner, but some half-time words from their manager helped Liverpool finally come alive after the interval.

The home team twice went ahead, Sadio Mane opening the scoring before Mohamed Salah's wonderful solo strike made it 2-1, but Klopp felt a point was "completely fine" after City pegged them back on each occasion.

"Thank god a football game has two halves. We are really happy about the second and not so happy about the first, for obvious reasons," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"We did a lot of things wrong in the first half and City did a lot of things right, that result we could see. We never got really into the game, never played enough football. 

"I was really happy, perhaps I was the most happy in my career about the half-time whistle. It was never planned that we played like this.

"We needed half-time and we used half-time, then played a really good second half."

He added: "Man City with the ball is a proper team. There are ways to defend it – you have to close down the spaces, and to do that you have to step out in specific moments.

"I'm not sure I've seen many games where City can pass so easily through the half spaces. They had chances, but they didn't score from that.

"We had long balls, which didn't make sense. All these things we changed in the second half immediately. You could see how we set up – we were higher, more aggressive.

"The message was to play the extra pass, which we didn't do that in the first half at all. I'm really happy. Do we want to win a game like this? Yes. But we have to admit today, because the game has two halves, the point is completely fine."

Foden cancelled out Mane's goal and while Salah put Liverpool back ahead, ending a glorious run with a right-footed strike from a tight angle, Kevin De Bruyne levelled matters again, his attempt getting beyond Alisson after taking a deflection off Joel Matip.

Liverpool appeared set to go back ahead once again when Fabinho was presented with an empty net, only for Rodri to make a crucial block with goalkeeper Ederson out of position.

"I think the biggest chance we didn't take. I have to see it back, but I've no idea how he blocked the ball. For me the ball was in," Klopp continued.

"For our first goal, top passing, top movement. Goal number two, individual quality which you only see when you're really lucky.

"If Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo scores that goal, the whole world says, yes, because they are world-class. Mo Salah scores that goal, it's because he's world-class.

"He's one of the best players in the world, that's how it is."

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