Berliner Tageblatt - Klopp backs 'massive quality' in Liverpool squad to launch title fight

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Klopp backs 'massive quality' in Liverpool squad to launch title fight
Klopp backs 'massive quality' in Liverpool squad to launch title fight / Photo: © AFP

Klopp backs 'massive quality' in Liverpool squad to launch title fight

Jurgen Klopp said his decision to trust the depth of his squad had been rewarded after a 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday took Liverpool level on points with Premier League leaders Arsenal.

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Klopp left a number of key players, including top scorer Mohamed Salah, on the bench with the trip to west London coming less than 72 hours after their Europa League exit to Atalanta in Italy.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota scored on their first Premier League starts for two months, either side of Ryan Gravenberch's first goal in the English top flight to keep Klopp's men alive in the title race.

The destiny of the title remains in Manchester City's hands with the defending champions one point behind the top two with a game in hand.

However, Liverpool and Arsenal have put the pressure on Pep Guardiola's men by bouncing back from shock defeats last weekend.

"All of these boys have massive quality. Sometimes the momentum is there, sometimes not, but the quality is insane," said Klopp.

The German made five changes to the side that won 1-0, but failed to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit against Atalanta.

Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Curtis Jones and Ibrahima Konate also dropped the bench alongside Salah.

"It's helped everybody," added Klopp on the importance of fresh legs after his side looked jaded in losing at home to Crystal Palace a week ago.

"For the boys, it's tough. You have to get through this.

"I liked the performance, I liked the options. It's a good squad situation. We need all of them, we need to fight through games and we have the (Merseyside) derby to focus on."

Klopp said ahead of the game that the return of Alexander-Arnold and Jota from injury was what gave his side "a chance" at clawing their way back into the title race.

Alexander-Arnold showed the quality the Reds have been missing when he curled in a stunning free-kick to open the scoring on 32 minutes.

Liverpool failed to hold onto the lead until half-time as the defensive lapses that have cost them in recent weeks reappeared.

Timothy Castagne swept home a loose ball into the far corner after Rodrigo Muniz's header was blocked.

Klopp had his stellar cast of substitutes warming up after a sluggish start to the second period.

But one wayward pass from Alex Iwobi cost Fulham.

Harvey Elliott intercepted on his return to Craven Cottage and teed up Gravenberch to curl in from the edge of the area.

Jota then made the points safe with his 100th goal in English football when his low effort had too much power for Bernd Leno 18 minutes from time.

Two more away trips at local rivals Everton and West Ham await Liverpool in the next six days.

But with just five more games of the Klopp era to come, they remain at least in the hunt to give his transformative time at Anfield a glorious goodbye.

L.Janezki--BTB