Jürgen Klopp: players came up with Cardiff corner routine at half-time

• Liverpool manager praises initiative that led to opening goal
• Cardiff left pitch in ‘dangerous’ state to unsettle us, says Klopp

Jürgen Klopp praised his players for showing the initiative to come up with the set-piece routine that paved the way for a 2-0 victory over Cardiff that took Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table.

The Liverpool manager revealed that a discussion among the players in the dressing room at half-time led to the short corner that Trent Alexander-Arnold cut back for Georginio Wijnaldum to convert the first of their two goals, with James Milner adding a late second from the penalty spot.

Liverpool are now two points ahead of Manchester City, who play their game in hand against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. “We used a set-piece in a fantastic way, the boys were so smart, they used the experience from the first half from a corner,” said Klopp. “It’s not from the training ground; it’s from the dressing room at half-time, when the boys decided to do that. I love that.

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“We put a lot of emphasis on set-pieces. We know Cardiff is outstandingly strong on offensive set-pieces, but from time to time they have some problems with defensive set-pieces. Some of the boys obviously found that out. And if you make all these runs on the pitch, no camera angle is as good as your own view. They decided to play that ball [short], Gini made the run with all the blocks [on the other players] – it’s man-marking – so he was free in that moment. But then you still have to hit that ball like this. A brilliant goal, I loved it.”

Klopp was far less impressed with the playing surface at Cardiff, which he described as dry and dangerous. “The ball didn’t roll like normal. Everybody saw it,” he said, who explained that his players had trained on a “bone-hard” pitch for 70 minutes the day before in preparation for what they expected in Cardiff. “Dry pitches are dangerous for the players injury-wise and you know why people leave the pitch dry – the ball doesn’t roll that quick and it’s difficult for the fluency of the game.”