'Never had a group like this': Klopp hails 'special' Liverpool as title race goes to wire

Reds come from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 on Tuesday to move within one point of the leaders heading into the final day

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Jurgen Klopp said he has "never had a group" like this Liverpool squad and called on his players to fight until the very end after a 2-1 win over Southampton on Tuesday ensured the Premier League title race will go down to the final day of the season.

A Liverpool side featuring nine changes to the team that won the FA Cup on Saturday responded to going behind to Nathan Redmond's 13th-minute opener with goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip, moving the Reds to within one point of leaders and defending champions Manchester City.

After the exhaustive 120 minutes and penalty shootout win over Chelsea at Wembley, Klopp said he had no choice but to ring the changes, and the German expressed his pride at the players who stepped in and kept alive the club's title bid.

"It's unbelievable, what they've done makes it even more special," Klopp said. "Outstanding. What can I say about this group? It's a crime Minamino doesn't play more, Harvey [Elliott] didn't play for a long time. Curtis [Jones] didn't play much. They deliver, it's unbelievable. Making nine changes and this performance is exceptional.

"We would have had much more problems today if we'd played the guys who played 120 minutes on Saturday.

"I ask for a lot. I saw them enjoying the game and playing football. We conceded a goal out of nothing, It looked like a foul. I'm really proud of the boys. Since January we only drew three times. We had corona outbreaks.

"I never had a group like this. They push each other constantly. Tonight is really special. It worked out because of the boys."

Southampton v Liverpool player ratings

Having secured both domestic cups - Liverpool also beat Chelsea on penalties in the League Cup final in February - and with a Champions League final against Real Madrid on the horizon, the Reds can still secure an unprecedented quadruple. However, they will need to beat Wolves on Sunday and hope Aston Villa prevent a City victory at the Etihad Stadium, and Klopp has said Liverpool will keep believing until the last moment.

"Of course it is unlikely because City play at home against Aston Villa, who play only on Thursday," Klopp said. "But it is football. I think the time when City became champions [in 2019] it was because of 11 millimetres. If someone wants us to be champion then we have to win first and Aston Villa need to get a point at City.

"It is possible, not likely but possible. That is enough."

Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopphave both urged Liverpool to keep fighting for the title. PA

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson echoed his manager's sentiments and said there is no time to rest or lose focus, with two potentially season-defining matches to come.

"The aim was to take it to the end. We knew it would be difficult. A lot of changes. The lads were brilliant. They kept going right to the end and got the reward," the England midfielder said.

"We've done that really well all season, the lads who haven't played as much as they'd like took their opportunity. You need everyone in a Premier League season.

"We're used to it, we're constantly in cup finals every game. It's normal, you get on with it. We can all celebrate or relax at the end of the season after the Champions League final."

Updated: May 18, 2022, 5:57 AM
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