Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed the simple instruction he gave during the break that kicked his side into gear, and responded to the “outraged” Pep Guardiola after the Spaniard fumed at James Milner.
Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at Anfield despite twice taking the lead. A sluggish first-half display in which the Reds were lucky go into the break level soon gave way to a more vibrant performance in the second half.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane combined superbly to notch the opener before Phil Foden pulled the visitors level.
A moment of supreme Salah magic reminiscent of his famous goal versus Tottenham put Liverpool in front once more. However, the hosts could not hang on after a deflected Kevin de Bruyne strike restored parity.
Each side had chances to win it late, most notably Fabinho when remarkably failing to pull the trigger when presented with an open goal. Nonetheless, the scores remained level as the full-time whistle blew.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match Klopp said: “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. We did a lot of things wrong in the first half and City did a lot of things right in the first half so we never got really in the game.
“We weren’t much worse, we never played enough football. I was most happy in my career about the half-time whistle.
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“It was never planned that we played like this and we needed half-time and we used half-time and played a really good second half.
“Man City with the ball is a proper team. There are ways to defend it. They had chances clear but they didn’t score from that. It gives you a really bad feeling which leads to not playing football. We had long balls which didn’t make sense.
“All these things we changed in the second half immediately. We were now in the game and scored wonderful goals with the ball.”
Revealing the simple instruction he gave to his players that sparked a turnaround, Klopp said: “The message was to play the extra pass. We didn’t do that in the first half at all.
“Do we want to win a game like this? Yes. We have to admit today the point is completely fine.”
Klopp responds to Guardiola’s “outraged” Milner reaction
When asked about Salah’s wonder goal, Klopp was quick to make sure Mane wasn’t ignored for his contribution.
“Both were pretty good,” said the German. “The biggest chance we didn’t use. I have no idea how Rodri blocked the ball [Fabinho’s shot]. For me the ball was in, but it’s all fine.
“If Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo score that goal then the world says yes because it’s world class. He (Salah) is one of the best players in the world, that’s how it is.”
Asked if Milner was lucky to escape a second yellow, Klopp added: “Pep got a little bit outraged over that. I didn’t see but I saw Pep’s reaction obviously but I didn’t know exactly why he did that.
“Milly did incredibly well first half and it is not easy to defend these guys.”