Liverpool (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp saluted Liverpool’s “brilliant” 3-0 thrashing of Manchester City, but the Reds boss admitted his side should have killed off the Champions League quarter-final tie.
Liverpool tore City apart with three goals in the opening 31 minutes of the all-English first leg clash at Anfield.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane had the Premier League leaders reeling in a frenzied atmosphere.
But, while some will believe that goal spree is enough for Liverpool to start looking forward to the semi-finals, Klopp insisted his players had missed an opportunity to seal the victory ahead of next week’s second leg at Eastlands.
“The first half was brilliant. It was how football should look. We knew about the quality of City but also about our quality as well,” Klopp said.
“The result is not what we expected but we needed to play more football in the second half.
“They did not have a lot of chances but we didn’t play much football ourselves.”
Well aware that City demolished Liverpool 5-0 in the Premier League in Manchester in September, Klopp added: “It is only half-time. 3-0 up, good. We defended their passes really good.
“I wanted us to play more football. I am not angry, it is all good.”
The only clouds on a golden evening for Klopp were a muscle injury to Egypt star Salah and a booking for Jordan Henderson that rules the Liverpool captain out of the second leg.
“We lose one player to injury and another – the captain – to a yellow card so it does not feel good. Mo said he feels good but we will have to see about that,” Klopp said.
It was the first time City had failed to register a shot on target since October 2016.
City boss Pep Guardiola conceded his team could have no complaints after a rare limp display.
“We started with enormous personality but they scored a goal. It is tough. They had 10-15 minutes in the first half when they were better,” he said.
“In the second half we tried everything but we couldn’t find a goal. The first two goals, we had control of the game but they scored.
“I don’t have too many regrets or complaints.
“They had two attacks and scored two goals. That was tough but for the rest of the game we were so, so good. We had to score a goal but they defended more.”
Guardiola was adamant his players still believe they can pull off an incredible comeback in the return leg.
First, City must focus on Saturday’s derby against Manchester United, when a win will give them the English title.
“Nobody believes but we have another game,” Guardiola said.
“We have to accept it and now we have United at home and then Liverpool at home.
“We see what happens. Of course it is difficult but we believe.”