Liverpool’s young forward Dominic Solanke has revealed manager Jurgen Klopp’s instructions before he entered the pitch as a second-half substitute against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield last week.
The Reds produced a fantastic attacking display in the first-half that saw Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane score to stun Man City. Around the 70th-minute of last Wednesday’s spicy encounter at Anfield, Klopp felt it was the right time to introduce fresh legs.
The Liverpool gaffer brought on Solanke and took off Roberto Firmino. Solanke played his part and he reveals what it was like to go out there on the field. When asked about the instruction that Klopp gave him before he got on the pitch, he said (quoted by Liverpoolfc.com):
“To just hold up the ball, really. Make sure that we keep the pressure on, don’t let them get too much of an advantage. We knew that we were a big scoreline up so we wanted to keep that for the second leg. We managed to keep a clean sheet so it worked.”
On Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate with Everton, where he played the full 90 minutes, he said:
“I think those games are difficult.
“Everyone worked so hard and when it’s a scoreline like that they’re always going to be applying pressure, so we needed to try to make sure they didn’t break through and we managed to do that so I hope I helped with that.”
After Liverpool’s eye-catching attacking display in the first half that stunned City, Klopp’s men showcased fantastic defensive organisation and rigidity to shut out City after the break.
Solanke feels that the clean-sheet earned due to the team’s top defensive display against City leaves Liverpool in a commanding position ahead of the return leg at the Etihad Stadium.
“It shows that we can go and attack – our attacking quality is crazy and we know that we’re always going to score goals – but for us to defend like that as well shows that we’re ready for that,” he explained.
“It’s not going to be easy but I’m confident we can get the result.”
As far as Solanke is concerned, he was given a chance by Klopp against Everton but the 20-year-old’s performance at the Goodison Park was not great. However, the England youth international must now stay positive and wait for more opportunities.