First-half rampage brilliant, says Klopp

LONDON • Thirteen games played, seven won, one drawn.

No other manager has a record against Pep Guardiola anywhere near as good as that of Jurgen Klopp's and on Wednesday night, the Liverpool boss again showed he had the upper hand in their head-to-head record.

Klopp had called their Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield "an opportunity for football" - a chance for two forward-thinking Premier League teams to entertain the world.

His Liverpool players did not disappoint after beating Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson three times in 31 minutes courtesy of Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.

Klopp's plan was simple - to unleash the speed in his squad - and Liverpool's lightning raids from the outset caught out City, while their full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, showed verve and audacity.

Guardiola had targeted Alexander-Arnold as a weak link, with the cross-field ball behind him to Leroy Sane City's preferred route.

The 19-year-old's concentration, however, never wavered and he went on to relish the confrontation, playing a decisive role in the 3-0 win.

And while Roberto Firmino was not on the scoresheet, his fingerprints were all over the victory, having played a crucial part in the first and third goals.

Klopp said afterwards the performance had been a textbook illustration of the beautiful game.

"First half was brilliant. It was how football should look," he said.

"We knew about the quality of City but also our quality. We were very active in all parts of the game, perfect in the spaces, very lively closing the gaps."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2018, with the headline 'First-half rampage brilliant, says Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe