Jürgen Klopp reflected on Liverpool’s dramatic Merseyside derby victory over Everton by praising his team for their performance at Goodison Park - and their ability to learn the lessons from their first-half showing.

Sadio Mane was the Reds’ hero as he pounced to convert the rebound from substitute Daniel Sturridge’s shot that hit the post in the 94th minute.

The Senegalese forward’s eighth Premier League goal of the season was just reward for Klopp’s team, who dominated large parts of the 227th edition of this fixture - particularly in the second half, when Everton were forced back under relentless pressure from the visitors.

Post-match, Klopp was asked what he told his side at the break, for his view on the returning Sturridge’s display and whether this result means more to him than the 4-0 win Liverpool recorded in his first derby in charge back in April.

Read on for a full transcript of the boss’ press conference…

On what he said to the players at half-time…

You cannot be 100 per cent sure what the opponent is going to do. We had an idea of course, and it was pretty much like what Everton did; making a wide game of it, starting like they finished [the Arsenal game] - pretty wild and intense, with man-orientated defending. We did it in training to cope with this, but it is different when you have it on the pitch. The first touch in a game that each player has is very important because you open your passing options or you close your passing options. We didn’t play simply and quick enough in the first half. We had our moment when Divock finished a situation after the cross from Clyney. We showed the boys at half-time, it was two-and-a-half minutes or something, playing the ball then losing it when Adam lost it, counter-attack, coming back and then in the end, Clyney is free in the box, cross and Div could have scored. That’s the way we want to play and for this our positioning needed to be better in the second half. In position eight, we lost a little bit of patience and we were too early in trying to come into their box, with not really being an option. 

So, we spoke about football at half-time – and obviously it worked. The boys are more used to it, but obviously not enough otherwise we could have done it in the first half already. It is very important in a game like this, even when it’s a little bit wild as it was in the first half, that you don’t give a chance away – and we didn’t give chances away, I cannot really remember [any]. We didn’t have a lot actually, we had our moments and in the second half we had more, [we’re] much better and could have scored earlier. Then Daniel came, hit the post and Sadio finished the situation, so it was great, intense, how a derby should be, not the best football in the world, but you cannot ignore the intensity, you cannot ignore the importance of a game like this, you have to take it like it is. In the second half we took it like it should be.

LFCTV GO: Watch Klopp's post-Everton press conference

On the character of Liverpool to grind out the win…

I don’t know but I think we were the clear better team today. That doesn’t mean we had to win, but if we talk about a deserved win or not it would have been LFC, but of course everything can happen in a game like this – they could have scored one goal and then they are the deserved winner, but only in an open game. So of course it is [about] character, but I was never in doubt about the character – but it was the situation. The first half is really important for us because everybody has seen already that we can play really nice football, but in this first half we could not play nice football. It was not about a possession game because we were not clear enough. 
It’s really about one or two situations when Dejan took the ball in the direction towards the goal, he closed his own passing options with this move and it then was too easy to defend for them and so then everything was hectic. That was the problem, and sometimes Millie played too quick in this direction and all that stuff, we need to learn. We learned it in the game and that’s what I really loved tonight – that we did it so much better in the second half, that we learned from the first half. That’s really important, but in the end you need to fight for every single ball – and that’s what we did too. Good! 

On whether this win means more than the 4-0 victory in his first derby…

I don’t want to compare, I loved both actually! Of course the first derby at Anfield was different but I would actually prefer tonight because nobody is injured after the game. Better 1-0 and all players fit than 4-0 and one player out for the next I don’t know how long it was - too long. 

On the importance of defensive players coming into the team and performing well after successive clean sheets…

It’s very important but I am not surprised about it, that’s why these players are here. Just because a player doesn’t play from the beginning that doesn’t mean he is a bad player. They need to be ready for the moment and they were obviously ready. That’s actually all. That’s good how it is; it is 1-0 and not more and we have to be ready for Stoke again in a few days and then Man City and all that stuff, but for tonight that was all good. How I said, it was really important that we gave no real chances away with [Romelu] Lukaku up front – it’s really difficult but we did really well, how we defended these long balls, stayed cool in difficult situations with foul or not cool and these things. But staying cool when you are really emotionally involved is a real challenge for all of us, and the players did well so all good.

On how pleased he is with Sturridge’s contribution from the bench…

Of course! It’s like this, you have Daniel Sturridge on the bench you always think ‘okay, when is the time, when can we bring him? Is he ready for this?’ Because it’s not usual or normal that after two sessions a player can really help you, but he helped us a lot tonight in a very difficult game. He could make kind of the difference in this moment, but it was really important that we…I don’t want to be disrespectful so don’t misunderstand, but it was like in the first half we said ‘okay, now we are warm’ because it was not too intense for us and they had a lot to do so they are halfway tired and so when Danny comes in after 70 minutes, it was a real intense game and so then to bring in real fresh legs then, that’s a good thing to do.

On whether he feared the worst when Jordan Henderson went down under a challenge from Ross Barkley…

I saw it was a really harsh, harsh challenge but you saw it all so I don’t have to say anything about this. I think Ross is lucky and Hendo is lucky, nothing else happened.

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