Jurgen Klopp lauded Liverpool’s second-half display as the introductions of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah helped spur a 2-1 victory over Man City on Thursday.
The Reds produced another mixed pre-season display as they took on their Premier League rivals at East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium.
After struggling for fluency in the first half, a series of changes at the break and on the hour mark provided Klopp’s side with the boost they required.
Most influential was the involvement of Liverpool’s key wingers, Mane and Salah, who showed no signs of post-holiday blues as they found impressive form immediately.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Klopp praised the Reds for their improvement as the game played out, particularly with Salah scoring “after pretty much 35 seconds.”
“He had a big impact together with Sadio and Dom [Solanke], and the midfield with Marko [Grujic], Pedro [Chirivella] and Ben [Woodburn] played fantastic,” he said.
“Both full-backs were then really involved in the offensive situations, which we didn’t have too much in the first half.
“Both centre-halves were there. Nat Phillips on this level is surprised by himself, that’s really cool; Raggy [Klavan] did well; and Caoimhin [Kelleher] had a nice save.
“So it was really a nice second half which helped us a lot because we all see it’s still there, it’s all good.
“We only need to keep on working and make sure that in two weeks we have fresher legs than tonight.”
Klopp discussed Joe Gomez‘s ability to play at both right-back and centre-back, insisting though he is now gaining experience in his favoured role “it’s absolutely possible he’ll play the next game for example at full-back.”
The poor pitch in New Jersey, the ramifications of a pre-season win over the reigning champions and his ambitions for the campaign ahead were also on the agenda.
“The boys have to enjoy their football, we have to enjoy our football, otherwise it makes no sense,” he said, enjoyably.
“We cannot only go for a 1-0 here, 1-0 there—I know if you win silverware in the end then people are probably happy, but the whole year was still rubbish.”