Jurgen Klopp admitted Manchester City’s tactics against his Liverpool side were slightly surprising as he used a video to inspire his players for their second-half comeback.
City started the better of the two sides, taking the lead through Kevin De Bruyne, but Diogo Jota equalized soon after with Liverpool’s first attack. Gabriel Jesus had City back ahead before half-time, before Sadio Mane equalized within a minute of the restart to claim a point for Klopp’s men.
The Liverpool boss revealed how City’s unexpected approach inspired some half-time tweaks that involved a focus on Jota’s goal to motivate his players.
ALSO READ: De Bruyne sends Man City Premier League title reality check
“I think we can describe it as a boxing fight, both arms down for a second and you get a massive knock,” he said, outlining how he was surprised by some aspects of City’s play.
“I liked a lot of things. I thought we were closer than ever. In all moments, controlled the game and played simple passes and let them run. That’s how we scored the goal. The second-half start was much better. City really tried obviously to use things like balls in behind – I can’t remember them playing so many balls in behind but they did it.
“It makes sense when you have these smart runs. In moments when we tried to breathe a little bit, another one comes. We were lucky with the offside goal. It was a great game and the result, we have to live with and can live with. We could do better but in a lot of moments we did really well. The intensity of the game is crazy. It was good fun, I liked it.”
With Liverpool starting the second-half so well, Klopp explained that it was a case of showing his players how to improve, rather than telling them.
I explained: “We showed [our] goal because it was a really good football situation which if we did more we would have chances. I was convinced we could win this game. They were much more direct than us today. They had a more direct idea than us and we wanted to let them run when in possession.
“Defensively we were sometimes in a rush, they put us under pressure and we can defend these situations better. The second-half was really intense, they needed breaks as well, but their counter-attacks are not bad. Their decision-making is really good and they always pick the right player.
“I think it is a completely fine and deserved draw. We wanted to make sure they see my boys are exceptional as well.”
Expanding on the unexpected nature of City’s approach, Klopp added to Match of the Day: “We will use the game. I’m already in the Benfica game but of course we will try to understand the moments. City were more direct than usual and we were less. We will see what they do next time and us. It’s really fine for today.”
Goalscorer Jota also gave an insight into Liverpool’s tactical approach, telling BBC: “We tried to condition their game the way they wanted but they are obviously very good at what they do so it’s not easy. You know sooner or later you can steal one or two balls and it’s a football game so you need to take advantage of your chances.
“We were losing so we needed to change a little bit and it’s nice to have a break to go again [at half-time]. We had a very good beginning. It’s a draw in the end and now we need to believe from here until the end.”
Sign up to our City newsletter so you never miss an update from the Etihad Stadium this season.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.