Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his side got carried away by their own football after a topsy-turvy 3-2 victory over AC Milan in their opening Champions League Group B clash on Wednesday.
With fans inside Anfield for a Champions League match for the first time in 18 months, Liverpool began in electrifying fashion and threatened to run riot after Fikayo Tomori’s own goal handed them a ninth-minute lead.
Liverpool had 13 goal attempts in the opening 15 minutes but incredibly found themselves trailing at halftime as Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz struck for Milan shortly before halftime.
But goals by Mohamed Salah, who missed a first-half penalty, and Jordan Henderson’s 69th-minute piledriver secured an important three points in a daunting group that also includes Porto and Atletico Madrid, who drew 0-0.
“We started incredibly well. We played a super, super game. An intense game but football wise as well“, Klopp said of Liverpool’s barnstorming start to the clash of the European heavyweights — only their third ever meeting.
“We got punished in the last few minutes of the first half but it started earlier. We got carried away by our own football. We didn’t keep it simple anymore, offensively and defensively we were not organised anymore“.
“But it did not feel like we cannot come back. It was clear that we had to immediately get back to how we started and then we scored wonderful goals. It is deserved but we had 10 minutes where Milan nearly changed the whole tie“.
After the empty stadiums for last season’s Champions League campaign, Klopp revelled in a return to the special atmosphere created by the Kop on European nights at Anfield — punching the air repeatedly after the final whistle.
Asked if he had enjoyed it, Klopp said: “Yeah, apart from those 10 minutes! It’s the football I want to see to be honest, in most of the moments“.
For seven-time champions Milan it was a frantic return to the competition after a seven-year absence and while their inexperienced team were in danger of being overwhelmed early on, coach Stefano Pioli took plenty of positives.
“Liverpool played a great game especially in the first 25 minutes. Then we overturned it, the regret is the two goals conceded in the second half, also due to our mistakes“, he said.
“It was a game that will make us grow a lot in terms of intensity and quality. We go home with the awareness that the team can grow and that the Champions League level is really high, we will have to try even harder“.