James Milner credited Jurgen Klopp’s half-time team talk as being key to Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Leroy Fer’s early goal gave Swansea the lead and there were few signs of a Liverpool fightback before the interval, while a groin injury sustained by Adam Lallana provided further disruption.
But Liverpool improved after the break, with Roberto Firmino heading in the equaliser before the Brazilian was fouled in the box in the last few minutes, Milner stepping up to score his fourth penalty of the season.
The former England international, who continues to fill in at left-back for Liverpool, said Klopp’s words at half-time helped to turn the game around in Liverpool’s favour as they won their fifth game in a row in all competitions.
“It needed to be better, I think we all knew that,” Milner said. “Big credit to the manager and all the boys.
“The manager knew it, he was angry but he kept most of it in, said what needed to be said and got us going.
“I think you saw in the second half it was more like how we’ve been playing in getting about the ball. In the first half, we weren’t really at the races and Swansea are a good team.
“We gave ourselves all the work to do but showed a lot of character to come back from a goal down away from home and get three points.”
Milner played down his own role in Liverpool’s win despite converting a third penalty in his last two Premier League games to seal the victory.
“As long as they end up in the back of the net, that’s all I am bothered about,” said Milner.
“It was a big moment in the game. We’d had chances in the second half, so it was important we took that [opportunity] and thankfully it went it in the net and we’ve got the three points.”
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also paid tribute to Klopp’s intervention at half-time, adding: “In the first half, we weren’t playing to our standards – especially in the first 25-30 minutes.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks quickly enough and Swansea punished us from a set piece.
“It was disappointing, but I thought in the last 10-15 of the first half we got going again and found our rhythm. We came in at half-time and the manager had a few words to say – and I thought in the second half we came out and we were brilliant.”