Jurgen Klopp has revealed what James Milner said to him during the pair’s touchline exchange shortly before the hour-mark of Liverpool’s win over West Ham.
James Milner didn’t look thrilled at being replaced by Curtis Jones in the first of three substitutions made by Jurgen Klopp in the 3-1 win over the Hammers.
Moments after Milner left the pitch, however, Jones played a crucial role in setting Mo Salah up for the game’s opening goal and the veteran midfielder made his way back to Klopp to acknowledge that the manager had made the right call.
Salah makes it 1-0.
Wait for Klopp and Milner at the end! ? pic.twitter.com/jjODcep8jN
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) January 31, 2021
Klopp insisted there was no anger from Milner when he initially came off and that the exchange stemmed from a half-time misunderstanding between the two.
“He was not unhappy, it was a little bit my English!” Klopp said in his post-match press conference.
“At half-time we changed the offensive formation. Millie was slightly deeper, a double six with Gini and Thiago slightly higher.
“We told Millie, because he had his hamstring stiffen up slightly, we told him to be controlled with more passing than running.
“But it was clear we would take him off – we just waited until Curtis had a proper warm-up.
“Then I saw the last long, long sprint Millie had and I thought we missed the moment and was really, really worried.
“Then he came off and said ‘you told me I had to play deeper and now I run less and now you’ve taken me off.’
“But then he left and came back and said ‘yeah, by the way, good point, good decision!’ All fine.”
Jones brought a new energy to the Reds when he came off the bench for his 11th Premier League appearance of the season.
And Klopp revealed that he’d instructed the 20-year-old to express himself on the ball, although the Liverpool manager didn’t expect Jones to do so immediately.
“The last words I told him were ‘please be cheeky, be cheeky, try something, be active’ and things like that,” Klopp explained.
“I didn’t think he’d start with that with his first touch! But it was good.”