Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has given an insight into how manager Jurgen Klopp inspired his team’s second half comeback against Villarreal in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final last night.
The Reds won the first leg of this tie 2-0 at Anfield, but found themselves 2-0 down at half time of the second leg, with Unai Emery’s side fighting back well to make it 2-2 on aggregate and threaten a memorable and shocking comeback.
However, the tie flipped on its head again in the second half of last night’s match, with Liverpool looking much better after being given a talking to by Klopp at the break.
Goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane ensured Liverpool won 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate, setting up an appearance in this season’s final.
When asked what Klopp told his players to improve the performance, Van Dijk suggested the message was a pretty simple one.
“Play football!” the Dutchman said, as quoted by the Daily Mirror. “Play the Liverpool way how we’ve played all season!
“Get on the ball, have a lot of movements with the ball and in behind the last line. With the speed we have we need to mix that up as well, and we needed to show how much we wanted to go to the final. Second-half we played so well.”
“We didn’t play football enough (in the first half). When we had the ball there wasn’t a lot of movement so we made the wrong decisions,” he added.