LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, December 19, 2016: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren kicks away a red flare as the Reds score an injury time winning goal against Everton during the FA Premier League match, the 227th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DEJAN Lovren has revealed that Jürgen Klopp instructed his side to be more direct during his team talk which helped Liverpool to a dramatic Merseyside derby win.

Liverpool weren’t at their best in the first half but managed to secure all three points in injury time after Daniel Sturridge’s shot rebounded off the post and left Sadio Mane with a tap-in.

And Lovren insists it was the manager’s half-time feedback that inspired the team to push forward with more purpose after the restart.

He said: “We missed something in the first half, but we had a good quality talk from the manager at half-time and he was asking us to play more direct football.

“If you want to win you need to be more offensive and ask for the ball. In the second half we showed our real face and deserved it.”

That win saw Liverpool close the gap on league leaders Chelsea to six points, leapfrogging Manchester City into second.

– Here is The Pink our immediate post-match reaction to the win over Everton, free this week as part of the TAW Christmas Hamper.

The Croatian defender claimed that the Reds’ defence will be the key to sustaining a title challenge, and hopes their form in that department will continue.

He added: “There are a lot of games in front of us and it will change many times, but games like this you need to win if you want to stay in the race for the title.

“We are in second so we can say yes (we are title contenders).

“It is about the team’s defensive qualities. We have been working very hard together and just now we are in good form and we need to keep going like that.”

Sturridge returned from injury yesterday, coming off the bench to provide the crucial moment and Lovren praised his team-mate’s impact.

“It was unlucky for him he didn’t score because he has been working hard to come back.

“In these moments you need to be calm and I think we showed our quality and especially the changes, Daniel Sturridge gave us that ‘thing’.”

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