Jurgen Klopp ‘overwhelmed’ as Liverpool squad players step in: ‘I’ve never had a group like this’

Liverpool have made nine changes to the squad that beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah completely dropped from the squad for the trip to St Mary’s.

Nathan Redmond put Southampton ahead early on, but goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip ensured Manchester City would not celebrate the title win full time.

It leaves Liverpool a point behind Pep Guardiola’s side going into the final day of the season, a result Klopp was delighted his players were able to achieve as he admitted his frustration at not being able to give some of the players more minutes of his team on the field.

“Incredible, [being] 1-0 down makes it even more special,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“What can I say about this band that I haven’t already said? It’s kind of overwhelming and really touching what the boys have done.

“It’s pretty much a crime that Takumi Minamino doesn’t play more often, that a fit Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t make the team very often, Harvey [Elliott] hasn’t played in a long time, Curtis [Jones] didn’t play for a long time and all these boys deliver and deliver and deliver. It’s incredible.

“To make nine changes and to have that kind of performance is absolutely exceptional.”

There were rare appearances from the start for Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Minamino, while Roberto Firmino impressed in his first league start for six weeks.

Liverpool’s rotation this season has often extended to one or two players as centre-back and in the forward line alongside Mane or Salah, leaving a number of players sidelined for much of the season.

Klopp paid tribute to those who played key roles in the background.

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“I’ve never had a group like this,” Klopp said.

“I do the line-up and the players are not involved – I was angry when I was a player, I didn’t like it. I was a footballer to play football.

“But because we win a lot of times, there are not things you can really argue about. There are two possibilities to deal with it: you give up or you play your part in the group.

“This group is constantly pushing and uplifting. Tonight is really special because it worked thanks to the boys.

Liverpool are now counting on Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa side to do them a favor at the Etihad on Sunday, with the Reds needing to secure all three points against Wolves at Anfield.

“We are there, we will not give up and we will try,” Klopp said.

“Obviously it will be quite difficult against Wolves, but we will try anyway. It’s our home game, our last league game of the season, the atmosphere will be exceptional and we will try to use it.


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