Jurgen Klopp revealed details from his half-time team talk against Manchester United last Sunday. Liverpool were 4-0 up at the time.
Honestly, we’d have taken 4-0 at Old Trafford. 3-0 would have been good, too. But 5-0? It’s outrageous, really.
What’s crazier is that it might have been more but both teams slowed down in the second half. After Mohamed Salah made it 5-0 and Paul Pogba got sent off, anyway.
It was a historic match for Liverpool and one we’ll remember forever. And we knew that was the case at half-time, given the Reds were 4-0 up. We’d never seen anything like it – no one had.
So what does a manager say to his players at 4-0 up in the home of their biggest rivals? What do you say when absolutely everything has gone your way?
Jurgen Klopp actually let us know on Friday in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Brighton game. It wasn’t really what you expect, however.
Klopp on his United team talk
“I know how it sounds but the world is a bit like this: you win 5-0 against United and everything is perfect, but it was not. It was not,” said Klopp, per Liverpoolfc.com.
“United had clear-cut chances which we gave them and we shouldn’t rely on luck or [Alisson] or stuff like this in these moments, so we could have done better.
“That’s how we spoke at half-time, being 4-0 up, because it’s necessary. I told the boys, ‘Now, in this moment it’s really important that you believe me: we have to play better, otherwise we open up the game for them because they score one, they score two, whatever.’
“Things like this can happen.”
He’s right – United did have some chances in that first half. They just didn’t take them, nor were they as consistent or clear-cut as Liverpool’s. And there is always a sense that conceding once at United could leave to another two – maybe three.
But at the same time, with the players on that kind of high and clearly levels above their opponents, it makes sense to tone things down a bit as there’s no real need to boost spirits. Klopp tried to refocus his players and make sure they went out and performed in the second half.
And they did just that, robbing Pogba and creating a chance for Salah within five minutes. That one completely killed the game.
Safe to say Klopp nailed his team talk that day, then. Just like he and Liverpool did with everything else.