Jurgen Klopp has summed up Liverpool’s first-half performance against Villarreal rather perfectly.
Liverpool booked their spot in this season’s Champions League final on Tuesday night after a comeback win over Villarreal in Spain.
Though, they did it the hard way, first giving up their 2-0 lead from the first leg within 41 minutes before rallying in the second half to score three.
The Reds put on one of their worst performances of the season in the first 45 minutes, struggling to break through the intensity of Villarreal’s press.
They were left stunned, and perhaps fortunate to even get into the break on level terms amid plenty of dangerous chances from the home side.
And nothing quite sums up the poor nature of Liverpool’s first half display like a story from Klopp via BT Sport.
The Reds boss said he asked assistant Peter Krawietz to find just one clip from the first half where Liverpool “did it the way he wanted” so that he could show the players at half-time.
And Krawietz came back and told Klopp: “I couldn’t find one.”
Reflecting on the first half to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp added: “I told them to play better than the first!” Klopp said. “Usually like this, when we don’t find a way into the game, we try to find a situation at half-time which we can show the players that explains it.
“I told [the analysis team] to find one situation of how we did it right in the first half and [assistant manager] Pete Krawietz said he couldn’t find any. It was clear, the start was difficult for us to take.
“We were impressed by that and we had no real build up. We didn’t play in the right spaces and all of a sudden we were just kicking long balls and trying to force it.
“We had a bit of a moment when we were kind of dangerous but never enough to get some momentum. We explained to the boys what we had to do to get stronger and move smarter. In the first half we didn’t move enough and couldn’t find the half-spaces in midfield.
“We were too fixed, there was no flexibility so we had to mix that up to cause them problems. We played into their hands, so that is what we had to do to change.”
Fortunately for the Reds, they did manage to change it, and they now have a third Champions League final in five years to look forward to.