Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed his side’s performance in the 3-0 romp past Manchester City on Wednesday night as brilliant but rued the failure to kill of the Uefa Champions League quarter-final tie.
Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mané scored in the opening 31 minutes as Liverpool’s high pressing up the pitch, led to City giving away the ball on numerous occasions in the first 30 minutes of the game, directly leading to two of Liverpool’s three goals.
“The first half was brilliant. It was how football should look,” Klopp said afterwards. “We knew about the quality of City but also about our quality as well.
“But we needed to play more football in the second half. City did not have a lot of chances but we didn’t play much football ourselves.”
Referring to City’s 5-0 demoltion of Liverpool in the Premier League in Manchester in September, Klopp added:
“It is only half-time. We are 3-0 up. We defended their passes really well. But I wanted us to play more football. I am not angry. It is all good.”
It was not a good night for City boss Pep Guardiola who once again got his tactics wrong in an important Champions League tie. Guardiola’s plan of playing Gundogan over Sterling back-fired as City were not used to playing a 3-2-4-1 formation with both Sane and Jesus ineffective in the final third.
“We started with enormous personality but they scored a goal,” Pep said. “They had 10-15 minutes in the first half when they were better.
“In the second half we tried everything but we couldn’t find a goal. For their first two goals, we had control of the game but they scored. I don’t have too many regrets or complaints.
“They had two attacks and scored two goals. That was tough but for the rest of the game we were so, so good.”
Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities away from home this season have been well documented, which is one reason why Reds fans are still nervous about next week’s return leg at the Etihad. But the importance of that clean sheet is something that cannot be overstated because now if Liverpool get one goal on Tuesday, City will need to score five in order to progress.