Liverpool came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary's with a much-changed line-up; Jamie Carragher believes the strength in depth is a credit to Jurgen Klopp and the mentality that he has created at the club...
Wednesday 18 May 2022 08:29, UK
Jamie Carragher hailed the spirit that Jurgen Klopp has created after Liverpool made nine changes and still beat Southampton to keep the Premier League title race alive.
Liverpool went one down at St Mary's but goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip turned the game around and ensure that Manchester City still have work to do on the final day of the season.
It was achieved with a back-up line-up that did not include Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and numerous other key players, but Carragher believes that is a testament to Klopp.
"There is something that Jurgen Klopp has created and it is not just about how good the first-choice eleven is," Carragher told Sky Sports.
"We know who the first-choice eleven is, they weren't playing tonight. But when you have something special at a club it almost feels at times that you can put any set of players on and they play that way.
"I go back a couple of years when Liverpool beat Everton with almost an under-23 team in the FA Cup. It is almost a mentality that goes right through the club no matter the line-up.
"We know they are good players but let's not kid ourselves, the reason they are not the first eleven is because they are not as good as those players. But what he has created right through this club is the standard that he expects, that spirit, that mentality. He is just an absolute revelation.
"What he went through last season with the injuries - and all teams get injuries, I am not making excuses, but it was all in the one position and it was a really tough season. He lost his mother through Covid and he said it was the toughest season of his life.
"To come back and be in the position Liverpool are in after signing one player in the summer, who was a squad player, who was absolutely unbelievable tonight and at the weekend, Konate, and to be in this position where they can do something that has never been done before.
"Yes, the players deserve unbelievable credit, but it is all down to that man. Liverpool have a very, very special man at the top of their club."
Jamie Redknapp believes that Klopp's ability to integrate those fringe players has been a key part of his success.
"The hardest thing in management these days is to keep the squad happy," Redknapp told Sky Sports. "Can you keep the players happy who think they should be starting, maybe aren't getting the game-time that they want, maybe think they are better than they are."
Roberto Firmino was named man of the match by Carragher and epitomises the squad's spirit - adapting to a new role after being a guaranteed starter for so long.
"I thought he was brilliant," added Carragher.
"He came on at the weekend in the cup final and he wasn't great, actually, in that. You can understand these players not being up to speed sometimes. But in the first 10 to 15 minutes tonight when Liverpool weren't at their best, he and Harvey Elliott were brilliant.
"When you think what he has done for this football club. He wasn't signed by Jurgen Klopp, he was signed by Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool weren't sure what to do with him.
"Does he come from the side or does he play in the pocket, is he a No 10? Jurgen Klopp then plays him as a No 9.
"In some ways, it was the last place you would think he'd play because he hasn't got great pace and he is not the biggest really. But what he has done for this club, the miles he has run and the job he does.
"You can say the quality he has, but it is what he brings to this team in the past, maybe not so much now, but we are talking about players who accept their role in the team and then come in and make a difference, he is right at the top of that list.
"When you talk of the great players of the Jurgen Klopp era, and go right through the spine of the team, he is right at the top."
"The lads who haven't played as much as they would have liked, had to come in and show what they could do, I thought they all did that," Klopp told Sky Sports.
"It is pretty much a crime that Takumi Minamino doesn't play more often. Harvey didn't play for a long time. Curtis [Jones] didn't play for a long time. And all these boys deliver and deliver and deliver. It is unbelievable.
"Making nine changes and then this kind of performance is exceptional, I have to say. I am 100 per cent sure, although we will never know for sure, but we would have had much more problems here if we had played the guys who had 120 minutes on Saturday.
"I never had a group like this. When you make a line-up and you are not involved, you can imagine. I was not happy, I was angry as a player, I wanted to play football. But of course because we win a lot of the time there are not a lot of things you can really argue about.
"But there are two opportunities for how you can deal with it. You can give up or you can just play your role within the group. And this group pushes each other constantly.
"In the end, it is absolutely outstanding."