(Reuters) – Juergen Klopp gambled by making nine changes to his side for Tuesday’s crucial Premier League game at Southampton but the Liverpool manager was left impressed by his fringe players after their 2-1 win kept the title race alive.
The victory took Liverpool to within a point of leaders Manchester City ahead of the final round of matches on Sunday.
Klopp, already without Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk due to injury, made a raft of changes to the side that beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final on Sunday.
“After making nine changes, if it didn’t work out it was my responsibility, now it worked out it’s the boys’ responsibility. I thought they did exceptionally well,” said Klopp.
“I’m so happy about the performance it was a bit touching. It’s like having Ferraris in the garage.”
Takumi Minamino, one of the players brought in, cancelled out Nathan Redmond’s early strike as Liverpool came from behind to pick up the win.
“That Takumi doesn’t play more often, that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is in outstanding shape and is not part of the squad very often, Harvey (Elliott) didn’t play for a long time, Curtis (Jones) didn’t play for a long time and all these boys deliver, it’s unbelievable,” added Klopp.
“It is really tough for the boys, but whatever happens this year happens because of this group. It is exceptional and tonight they showed it again.”
Liverpool, who are chasing a quadruple of trophies, host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday while City take on Aston Villa.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)