How Dominik Szoboszlai surprised Jurgen Klopp in chat before derby kickoff

As Liverpool secured their first Merseyside derby victory of the season, Jurgen Klopp revealed how Dominik Szoboszlai left him surprised before kickoff.

After dropping points against both Tottenham and Brighton in frustrating circumstances, Liverpool returned from the international break with a prime opportunity.

They toiled at Anfield, but eventually took that chance with a 2-0 win over Everton courtesy of two goals from Mo Salah.

Klopp fielded three Merseyside derby debutants in his starting lineup – and discovered shortly before kickoff that one of those, Szoboszlai, was playing in his first derby altogether.

“[It was a] difficult game,” Klopp told reporters.

“Even before the first whistle, it’s always like I don’t know 100 percent how we will be ready for that.

“When we had the finishing [drill] before, the warmup, Dom told me ‘I’ve actually never played a derby before’.

“[I said], ‘what do you mean?’. [He told me], ‘Salzburg doesn’t have a derby, Leipzig doesn’t have a derby, Hungary maybe has a derby but the countries who would be a derby we never played since I’ve played international football’.

“[I replied], ‘OK, good, no problem, you always give 100 percent, so you are ready for the game’.

“So you don’t know exactly what it is, and I liked what I saw.”

Szoboszlai was clearly not affected by the occasion, ending with the third-most touches of any player with 107, behind only Trent Alexander-Arnold (118) and Virgil van Dijk (114), as well as the most shots (five) and chances created (four), per FotMob.

It was, of course, not the first high-profile clash of his career, and in his own post-match interview, the 22-year-old showed his confidence.

“Probably I’m mostly with Trent,” he told TNT Sports.

“I asked him how it’s going to be, but everybody in the staff said it’s going to be really good.

“I just came out and [we] took the three points.”