Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his half-time speech inspired his side to produce a memorable comeback in the Europa League quarter-finals against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday night.
The two teams went into the quarter-final, second-leg tie with the scores tied at 1-1. Dortmund established their dominance early on with two goals inside the opening 10 minutes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
However, Liverpool came out guns blazing after the interval and Klopp reveals that he referenced Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final victory over AC Milan after they trailed 3-0 at half-time, to motivate his players.
“At half-time, there was a good atmosphere to be honest because I was satisfied with the game – not with the goals, but with the game in general,” he said.
“I told the lads, I was not there but a few Liverpool players who are a little bit older and work now as experts for television, they were 3-0 down at half-time but won a Champions League final.
“So even when it’s not really likely, it is for sure possible and we should try it.”
Divock Origi ignited the comeback with a goal three minutes into the second half, followed by goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Loveran in the final half-hour of the match.
“The players did it, it was not the team of Istanbul,” Klopp added.
“It’s easy to say it. I’m a football fan so I saw the game [in 2005] and to be honest at half-time I did not think, ‘Oh it looks like Liverpool will strike back’.
“I only told them that it’s possible, but it’s much more difficult to do it than say it. They showed that they have potential, real potential, and I’m completely happy.
“Forget the story about ‘these could be heroes’ – give us the time to play the semi-final against probably a really strong [team]. They are all pretty strong so we don’t need to compare this. This, tonight, was brilliant in itself.”