What Jurgen Klopp didn't like about Liverpool against Man City as half-time message to Mo Salah revealed
Jurgen Klopp admitted that he had to remind his Liverpool troops that they could yield a result against Manchester City only if they 'played well'.
The Reds earned a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium, although they were put on the back foot for much of the encounter. City took the lead through Erling Haaland in the 26th minute, with Liverpool failing to really threaten when they managed to get into decent attacking areas in the first half.
And while the visitors did not create a bevy of goalscoring chances after the break, they did improve - with Trent Alexander-Arnold firing home the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.
Liverpool remain a point behind Pep Guardiola's troops in the Premier League table, while the champions' streak of 23 successive home victories was curtailed.
Klopp, speaking at his post-match press conference, felt that his troops did not press City keeper Ederson well enough in the opening 45 minutes and allowed Bernardo Silva to get on the ball too frequently. However, he was delighted that Liverpool displayed the character to share the spoils.
The Anfield chief said: "I told the boys [at half-time]: 'Imagine we would play good, how that game could look' because we had good moments in the first half but we didn’t feel them properly. It was not that we [thought]: ‘Ah OK, let’s try it again like this'.
"But all their good moments had a real impact, I could see that in the body language and stuff like this, we lost compactness. We were a bit in a rush in the first line to press Ederson with nothing around. That opened up the half-spaces. Even when we were more together, they found Bernardo too often.
"We told between Dom [Szoboszlai] and Mo [Salah], better communication, that doesn’t happen. Then the last line always against City has to step in and defend into midfield, so that was then either Trent or Joel [Matip]. And it was a bit tricky. In the second half, we made that a bit clearer how we want to do that, with Trent more in that position already and taking the risk in the last line but not in between the lines."
Liverpool almost gifted City an opener when Alisson Becker's misplaced pass found Phil Foden but the forward failed to capitalise. The Reds also pondered several times inside their own box, as well as lacking their usual cutting edge in the final third in the first half.
And while Liverpool's resolve to pick up a point will get plaudits, Klopp was scarcely impressed by the body language that was on show.
He added: "Mentality is a big word. When I speak about body language, it’s a bit similar to mentality. I didn’t like it too much in the first half. But it’s really difficult, we are still in the early stages with the team.
"Before the game I had to, in the press conference, talk about: can Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] play as a six? Yeah, he can. He can, definitely. And everybody who saw the game could say he can play as a six – but how was it around? How compact were we around? That’s then the problem, and that was not as great. We went through a lot of tough moments this season already and this today coming here is a tough one.
"I know it’s part of the circus and all these kinds of things but preparing the most difficult game of the season away at the Etihad with one session is really a challenge. Maybe I’m just not good enough! That’s absolutely possible. But it’s really tricky to do that in 30 minutes on the pitch and 45 in the meeting. So, we needed the first half maybe to understand even more about that and we improved in details, which makes a difference, and we scored a goal and brought it over the line and I am very happy about that."