Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp explained the thinking behind the changes he made at half-time as Liverpool came from 3-1 down to force a penalty shootout victory over Leicester in the EFL Cup quarter-final.
Second-choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saved two penalties in the shootout which Liverpool won 5-4 against Leicester to send them into the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Substitute Diogo Jota struck the winning spot-kick – having come off the bench to score in the second half – but the real hero was Takumi Minamino who made it 3-3 with seconds remaining of six added minutes.
Minamino then crashed his penalty against the bar before Jota won it 5-4 in sudden death.
But it was three changes at half-time which helped Liverpool turn the tide.
James Milner, Diogo Jota and Ibrahima Konate were all introduced at half-time with Billy Koumetio, Tyler Morton and Conor Bradley making way.
“I am really happy with the performance, spirit and mentality. Difficult for us in the first half and I had to make changes. Neco can play offensive role but with Conor in there, it didn’t work out that well.
“Tyler we changed because of a yellow card. Billy because Konate was there to play 45 minutes.
“At half-time, we told the boys I like the game apart from the mistakes around the goals. We needed to switch it more often, play in half spaces and accelerate it more often.
“Bringing on Jota helps, Milly as No.6 helped. Naby came on…what a game he played!
“Caoimh is an outstanding goalkeeper. With his feet, his understanding, all the goalkeeper skills, John and Jack did an outstanding job with him. Not the first time he’s been in a spectacular game. He saved our lives.”
Klopp speaking about Minamino, said: “Top goal, top performance. He played a really good game. So cool for him he could score that in the best possible moment, he deserved his goal for all he did.”
Klopp, talking about Williams, added: “Neco played a good game. On that side we’re used to Mo Salah. With long balls to him it was too easy to defend for their left-back.
Rodgers unhappy with referee
“Second half was better. He’s played wing-back before, right-wing is not his top position but he played really well.”
The Reds boss was also asked about his side’s busy schedule.
“The only thing I do with my messages is create headlines. We have a Premier League meeting. I haven’t spoken about player welfare [just] this year, it’s been six years. I would prefer only one semi. We play at Arsenal, fine with that. Let’s see who is better and go for it,” added Klopp.
Klopp’s counterpart Brendan Rodgers was not happy with the referee.
“I thought the referee was poor all night. I don’t normally comment on referees,” said Rodgers.