Jurgen Klopp proud of ‘outstanding’ Liverpool response to first-half issues against Villarreal

·2-min read

Jurgen Klopp hailed his side’s response to a disastrous first 45 minutes as they sealed their place in the Champions League final.

Villarreal had levelled the tie up at 2-2 on aggregate when the sides went into the break, but goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory on the night as they booked a third Champions League final in five seasons.

The first-half was as rattled as Liverpool have looked for some times, but Klopp believes his side were more than capable of turning things around.

“It’s outstanding, because we made it pretty tricky for ourselves,” Klopp said.

“We knew before these kind of things can happen. It’s all about in life how you react when things don’t go your way.

“Conceding a goal after three minutes is obviously not what you wanted. Momentum was on their side, respect to Villarreal - unbelievable what they’ve set up. They put us under pressure over the whole pitch.

“We didn’t play football at all. I told the boys: ‘Yes they have momentum, but they don’t own it. With one situation we can get it back.’

“We have to force ourselves on them. All of a sudden we were in the game, scored goals and made it happen.”

While the Reds eventually found the solutions, the Liverpool boss admitted that finding positive footage at the break was a struggle for the coaching staff.

“The problem with half-time was that we knew what was wrong, it was so obvious,” Klopp said.

“We didn’t have a situation to show where we did it right. I told Peter Krawietz to find a situation where we do well and we can show it. We came in and he said, ‘don’t have it!’”

It will either be a repeat of the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid or an all-English clash with Manchester City in Paris at the end of the month. Klopp does not have a preference.

“Whoever it will be, it will be massive,” Klopp said.

“I won’t wish for one or the other. Whoever wins will deserve it and then we face each other in Paris.”

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