Klopp spent just two days working on Liverpool’s fab four unleashed against Man City

Mohamed Salah Diogo Jota Roberto Firmino Sadio Mane
The Reds boss has revealed that he left it late to piece together an adventurous starting XI that secured a hard-fought point at the Etihad Stadium

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he spent just two days working on the front four approach that left many observers surprised in the Reds’ trip to Manchester City.

Much of the build-up to a heavyweight Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium had been dominated by a supposed selection poser that pitted Roberto Firmino against Diogo Jota.

Liverpool’s established No.9 has been struggling for a spark of late, putting his position under threat from a summer signing that has hit the ground running at Anfield.

Many had Jota getting the nod for a meeting with City, but Klopp had other ideas and opted to field an even more adventurous staring XI against fellow title hopefuls.

That decision paid off as the Reds burst out of the blocks and into an early lead, but they did tire as the game went on and – after seeing Kevin De Bruyne miss a penalty for the Blues – were happy to make the short journey back to Merseyside with a 1-1 draw.

Klopp told Liverpool’s official website of tweaking his approach and taking a point: “Top game. Top, top level [from] both teams. Energy level outstanding from both teams, two really good football-playing sides battle against each other. It was outstandingly interesting to watch.

“I loved our start, obviously we played a different system and you saw that in the game - in moments we had still to adapt to it. We had two days’ time to work on it, we did that but in the end, under pressure from a proper opponent, it’s slightly different. But the boys did incredibly well, I liked really a lot of situations, a lot of football parts, how we defended City was really good.

“They had their 10 minutes when we weren’t as compact as necessary after the quick start. That’s where they came back, that’s the quality of City, but then it was again equal or level or whatever you want. So, I’m really fine with a point.”

Defending champions Liverpool have positioned themselves among the early frontrunners in 2020-21, and have arguably their toughest test out of the way after getting through a trip to the Etihad, but Klopp is eager to point out that there is still a long way to go.

The German added with 30 Premier League games still to take in and trophy bids to be sustained across multiple competitions: “Look, in the Premier League all opponents are tricky to play, unbelievable, so I don’t make really these kind of assumptions or think, ‘OK, we played them already and we played them already’.

“We have to play them again and wherever it is it will be difficult. It’s a tough period and for the boys it just goes on. They go now and play two, some of them three, games for their national teams and yeah, it’s a tough time.

“That’s why we have to make sure with the boys [that] we give them time, at least a few days when we can do it, to recover. Apart from that, the boys were ready to go again [against City] and I couldn’t be more happy about that.”

Liverpool will return to action after the international break with a home date against table-topping Leicester on November 21.