Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed the first-half performance of his side after a 5-1 Premier League mauling of Hull City on Saturday, insisting: “That was how football should be.”
Klopp’s men were rampant, racking up a fourth win in a row in all competitions, with Adam Lallana giving Liverpool an early lead, which was soon doubled from the spot by James Milner after Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off for handball.
The goals continued to flow, with Sadio Mane on target and a wonderful strike from Philippe Coutinho adding the fourth, while another Milner penalty rounded off a victory that thrilled Klopp.
“All good. Actually, the first half was brilliant,” said Klopp. “That was how football should be if you are able to do it. You have to show this.
“In the first few minutes you could really see how strong Hull could be in counter-attacks – really good, really strong and difficult to defend. We showed it in analysis, but I saw there was a little bit of a surprise about the speed and power of Hull in these situations.
“Nothing happened and then we played football. We were really strong in possession, but the most impressive thing was the counter-pressing in the game, with this big number of possession.
“I think it was the best game in counter-pressing that we have played until now. That was very important, because we scored the goals right and all that stuff, but winning the ball back in these moments is so important and it becomes really difficult for the opponent to increase confidence.”
Liverpool have scored 71 goals in the Premier League since Klopp’s appointment in October 2015, more than any other side, with the German believing there is still more to come from his team.
“I was really pleased with the performance in the first half,” Klopp said. “The second half was not [as] exciting, but still good, maybe not at 100 per cent concentration.
“I don’t know how many times in my life, and I’ve had four or five hundred games as a manager, that I’ve won 5-1 in this kind of [way].
“It’s all good and I don’t want to criticise, but I think we could have done better in the second half, honestly. It was good, even in the second half, but not as good as it could have been. I am really happy – really happy.
“I’m quite a thankful person usually, so I am really thankful for the first half! In the second half, a little bit better would have been nice.
“We have a lot of things to improve and one of the things is if you are brilliant, you need to be brilliant for 95 minutes. We were brilliant first half and second half we were still good, but not brilliant anymore. It’s all good and only my problem.”
Coutinho’s brilliant goal was arguably the highlight for Liverpool, with the Brazilian continuing his excellent form, and Klopp said it was typical of the playmaker’s class.
“I saw a lot of them when I was still in Germany, to be honest,” the former Borussia Dortmund boss added. “I think he always scores goals like this!
“I would like to take the credit for his shooting ability, but I’m not responsible for this. It’s very good. In this moment it was the perfect finish, the absolutely perfect finish for the situation.”