LONDON, April 11 — Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren revealed his half-time rant inspired the Reds as they killed off Manchester City to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were in danger of blowing the lead against City after falling 1-0 down at Eastlands yesterday while trying to protect a 3-0 first leg advantage.
But Lovren issued a stern warning to his team-mates at the interval, telling them to be more aggressive, and the Croatian’s blast settled Liverpool’s nerves.
Second half goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino secured a 2-1 win that sent Liverpool into the last four for the first time in 10 years.
“To be honest, I was shouting a bit at half-time. I told the lads to wake up because it was not good enough and I said we were sitting too deep,” Lovren said.
“Of course, Klopp said ‘Yes you are sitting too deep because you are not pushing up’. He wanted me and Virg (Virgil van Dijk) to be more compact and push the team up, but it was quite difficult to push up when City had the ball.
“It was all positive, there was nothing negative, but I needed to remind the guys that we had 50 minutes to be in the semi-finals of the Champions League and we needed to give more.
“The first 10-15 minutes wasn’t good enough. When you see the second half, again they had a couple of chances but nothing too serious.”
Having seen off the Premier League leaders, Liverpool’s task won’t get any easier as they chase a sixth European Cup.
Roma are through to the semi-finals after staging an epic fightback to eliminate Barcelona, while 12-time winners Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are favourites to complete the line-up.
Lovren admits avoiding holders Real would be a major boost to Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the final.
“From a personal point of view, I don’t want Real Madrid in the semi-finals. They have a lot of experience in the Champions League, a lot of records and over the past three seasons it is always them,” he said.
“But whoever we get will find it difficult to come to Anfield and score some goals.
“People talked from the beginning about Manchester City being favourites and they were favourites, but I think after this there should be more respect for Liverpool.” — AFP