Liverpool may have progressed to the Capital One Cup final on Tuesday evening, but it was far from a vintage performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Reds were beaten 1-0 by Stoke City on the night but managed to book their place in next month’s final after a 6-5 win in the penalty shoot-out.
Every member of the Liverpool squad, and Klopp, was obviously euphoric after the final whistle. However, Adam Lallana has revealed the players - and manager - exchanged some strong words at half-time following a below-par team performance in the opening 45 minutes.
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"In the first half we were poor and there were a few strong words at half-time. Not just from the manager but from ourselves. We knew it," the England international was quoted as saying by Goal.
"We told each other we had to be more composed on the ball, to want the ball and play out from the back, rather than hitting it long, which we did a few too many times.
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"I thought we settled down in the second half.
"It was always going to be a scrappy game and a battle, particularly the longer it went on. We held our nerve in the penalties, which was the most important thing."
City book their place in the final
Liverpool will face Manchester City in the final at Wembley on February 28 after Manuel Pellegrini’s side beat Everton 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Ross Barkley put the Toffees 3-1 up on aggregate with a superb solo effort, but goals from Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero secured a dramatic 4-3 aggregate victory for the Citizens.
Raheem Sterling reunion
This result means that Liverpool will find themselves up against one of their former stars in the final.
Raheem Sterling, though, admits he will be fully focused on helping Manchester City lift their first trophy of the season.
“I might get one or two [messages from Liverpool players] but it's strictly business at Wembley,” the winger was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “It's why I came here, we're lucky enough to be in the final. It's really well done to Liverpool because they got to the final.
“We'll meet in the final and may the best team win on the day.”
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