Jurgen Klopp conceded his Liverpool side were not at their best against Manchester City on Sunday and would like to see them produce a better performance in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Pep Guardiola’s side.
The two Premier League title rivals played out a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium, leaving City a point clear at the top of the table.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of his first FA Cup semi-final since arriving on Merseyside in 2015, Klopp said while City were “really strong”, he feels his players could have found other levels.
Having also drawn 2-2 at Anfield earlier in the season, Klopp was asked whether the two teams could still surprise each other.
“Not just surprise, I think we all think a lot about these games, we have to,” he said.
“I think City were really strong last week and we were not at our best. So, I would like to see a game where we are at our best as well. That would be interesting, so let’s give it a try.
“The boys did a lot of good stuff in the game, but I really think in a couple of positions we are able to perform on a completely different level, so I think we should give that a try.”
City and Liverpool have met twice before at Wembley Stadium, with both games ending in a 1-1 draw before going to penalties. The Citizens eventually emerged victorious on both occasions in 2016 (EFL Cup final) and 2019 (Community Shield).
4 – Jürgen Klopp has reached the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League for the fourth time as a coach, with no German manager achieving this more (Heynckes and Hitzfeld also 4 times). In his first three semi-finals, Klopp progressed to the final each time. Omen. #LIVSLB #UCL pic.twitter.com/J3UH7LtgGx
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 13, 2022
Klopp was also asked about his decision to start Mohamed Salah on the bench in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Benfica in their Champions League quarter-final second leg, with Liverpool winning 6-4 on aggregate.
The Egyptian was brought on before the hour mark, but Klopp explained it was a decision made to try and give Salah some rest.
“The reason for Mo not starting is easy,” he said. “Yes, he played against City, but we have after that hopefully 12 games. That’s why when we have the opportunity to change, that’s all. Even if Mo would have scored four goals last game, he wouldn’t have started yesterday, so that’s how it is.”
The Reds boss also gave an update on Diogo Jota, who picked up a knock against Benfica, but the Portugal international is expected to be fit for the weekend.
“I said last night that Diogo got a knock – that swelled up slightly directly after the game, obviously while I was in the press conference,” Klopp said.
“Good chance he will be alright, but we need to have a closer look tomorrow. That’s it.”
Liverpool have progressed from eight of their last 10 FA Cup semi-final ties, only failing to do so in 1989-90 (v Crystal Palace) and in their most recent appearance at this stage in 2014-15 (v Aston Villa).
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