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Jurgen Klopp: What I told my players at half-time against Arsenal


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he had to adjust his tactics on the fly after a very poor first half performance from his side against Arsenal.

The Reds needed a brilliant free-kick from Philippe Coutinho to restore parity before the end of the first half.

And they were ruthless as they took a 1-4 lead early in the second half.

Arsenal responded in style as they scored two goals to reduce the distance but it wasn't enough as the Reds register a very important win at the Emirates.

"Scoring four goals is wonderful, conceding three is the opposite of that emotion," Klopp told reporters.

"We didn't start well in the game. I saw what we spoke about, but I saw we did it with 50 per cent of being convinced about what we had to do.

"We had a high formation, but not a compact formation and that meant it was much too easy to play football between our rows in the spaces we gave them.

"The formation we chose was to close spaces, but what we did was [have] open spaces. That makes absolutely no sense and they [Arsenal] felt better and better and better and we [felt] not very good. We asked for the goal [against] and we got it. Then we came back in the game, had more direction and were even more compact.

"This was a really intense game for both sides and Arsenal made something like a little break in their game. We used it for being more of a threat to them.

"We needed 45 minutes-plus to get the free-kick and it was the genius of Phil [Coutinho]. At half-time, I was really happy about having it because we could speak about everything and it was clear – our mistakes were so big so it was easy to speak about them because the players already felt it, but couldn't change it in the game.

"I told my players at half-time there's no reason to be hectic in our game, but obviously here it's a little bit hectic!

"We changed our way of defending and we showed and told them where the spaces were, where we could go. Arsenal were better in the first half, of course, but the goal and the penalty was after we'd lost the ball.

"When we had good orientation, used the wings and used the width of the pitch, Arsenal had to run and today it was really difficult to do this for 90 minutes.

"We came out, scored wonderful goals and then I made a big mistake as I was involved in celebrations – that will happen one or two times in my life hopefully, but not so early in a game because it was the wrong sign for all of us. It felt for everybody in that moment 'that's it' but then you have a look at the watch and see there's still half an hour to go and that's not too good.

"Arsenal fought back, showed character, scored the goals, we defended not so good, but then after their third goal we were back in the race and compact again.

"We could change three players and the first two [substitutes helped us be] better in the deep space. We unfortunately did not really have counter-attack moments, which would have helped a lot, so there was pressure but not the highest pressure from Arsenal – I cannot remember big chances apart from the goals. So, it was hard work but a deserved win in the end. It feels brilliant at the moment, actually."

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