LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 1, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Blackburn boss admits “you can’t play your own game” against Liverpool “machine”

Blackburn came to Anfield on Thursday and although it was merely a behind-closed-doors warm-up game, their manager noted the awesome power and quality in Liverpool’s team.

The Reds invited their Championship relatively-near-neighbours for the game to enable both to prepare for a return to league action, with Liverpool’s first match back the Merseyside derby next weekend.

Blackburn resume their own promotion hunt against Bristol City—the two sides are three and one points outside the play-off spots respectively—so it was important for them to have a competitive run-out, too.

Manager Tony Mowbray noted that despite the Reds triumphing 6-0, it was still a worthwhile exercise for his team—and points out the scoreline is merely a reflection of the fact that the Reds possess some of the greatest individuals in the game right now.

“An opportunity to play Liverpool is something that you can’t turn down, in my opinion,” he said to the club site.

“You can sit there, be clever and think about them being the best team in the world and it could knock confidence, but the mindset of the players is that they would all want to go and play at Anfield, they’d all want to test themselves against the best.

“The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane all played and it was a great experience for us. I think it highlighted to us where the very best are.”

As well as the players themselves, Liverpool’s team play and tactical cohesion is what has taken them to the top of the game: an unwillingness to let opponents settle in possession, the know-how of when to act in regaining the ball and an innate ability to unsettle even the best opposition.

Mowbray praised the relentless approach of the Reds “machine” and says opposite number Jurgen Klopp also saw the value in the fixture.

“We all saw that game and I have to be careful that I don’t judge my own players off the standard of that opposition, because they are a pressing machine.

“You can’t play your own game because Liverpool don’t let you have three passes.

“It’s amazing to watch the machine that they are.

“It was a competitive game of football and I spoke to Jurgen after the game who understands that it wasn’t just a friendly match.

“We’re both getting ready, we’re both intense and there certainly were benefits of playing the game for us.”

Liverpool’s next task will be the one that counts, against Everton, and hopefully the game to take us another step closer to finally ending the long wait for the Premier League title.