Jurgen Klopp brought his remarkable Liverpool reign to an end with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Wolves at Anfield, capping a memorable Premier League tenure with the Reds.

Klopp announced back in January his intention to leave Liverpool – who finish third in the league this term – and Sunday's triumph marked a fitting farewell for his nine-year stay on Merseyside.

Nelson Semedo's first-half dismissal opened the door for Liverpool to capitalise as Alexis Mac Allister, who was scythed down by the right-back for the red card, struck first after 35 minutes.

Jarell Quansah doubled the hosts' lead soon after in the opening 45 minutes as Liverpool eased to a final-day victory, with this defeat ensuring Gary O'Neil's Wolves end the season 14th in the table.

The Anfield crowd entered the stadium unusually early to create a roaring atmosphere for Klopp's farewell, but Liverpool were slow to get going after the emotional pre-match build-up.

A nervy opening almost proved the home side's undoing as Hwang Hee-Chan arrowed narrowly wide, with Virgil van Dijk denied at the other end just moments earlier.

Yet Wolves' encouraging showing was turned on its head when Semedo was shown a straight red card – following a VAR check recommending a review – for an over-the-ball lunge on Mac Allister's ankle.

Making use of that one-man advantage, Harvey Elliott floated into right-wing space before curling for Mac Allister to flick a neat header into the top-left corner.

Wolves suffered another blow just six minutes later as Mohamed Salah volleyed from Cody Gakpo's flick-on before Quansah prodded home with a simple finish from point-blank range.

The one-way traffic continued in the second half as Luis Diaz missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0, smashing against the crossbar with the goal gaping after Gakpo had rounded Sa.

Mac Allister deflected narrowly over soon after Sa had thwarted Gakpo in a one-on-one situation, while Van Dijk blocked an open goal for Matheus Cunha in a rare Wolves chance on Alisson's target.

Matt Doherty thought he had sliced the deficit with five minutes remaining, but the Wolves substitute was caught fractionally offside as Klopp signed off with a comfortable victory.

Klopp's Kop farewell

Liverpool's Kop End at Anfield stood in unison for one final time, waving goodbye to their great manager Klopp, who guided the Reds to eight trophies across his impressive spell.

His trophy-laden spell ends with Champions League glory and a Premier League crown as the most memorable moments of what was a storied tenure on Merseyside.

Klopp leaves Liverpool with 209 wins from 334 Premier League games, with his Reds scoring 714 goals and conceding just 331 across his successful period at Anfield.

Super Salah

Klopp's impressive tenure was aided by the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah as part of a fearsome front three – though the Egyptian is the only one who remains with the club.

Salah made his 250th top-flight appearance for Liverpool here against Wolves, while he has scored 155 Premier League goals for Liverpool under Klopp, with only Thierry Henry (175 under Arsene Wenger) netting more under a single manager in the competition.

The Reds forward also has the second-highest combined goals and assists tally by any player in their first 250 appearances for a single club in the competition (223 – 155 goals, 68 assists) – behind only Henry for Arsenal (243 – 171 goals, 72 assists).

Jurgen Klopp was lamented his side's late mistake as Liverpool gave up a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.

The Reds were on top after a quick start as Emiliano Martinez gifted them an opener inside the first 61 seconds. Though Youri Tielemans equalised for Villa, Cody Gakpo and Jarell Quansah put Liverpool back in control.

Jhon Duran scored twice late on, netting in the 85th and 88th minutes to deny Klopp’s side three points.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the German admitted that though they could not see out the win, he was proud of his team’s performance.

He said: "It got away from us. We played really good football. We were really good, played a lot of good stuff and caused a lot of problems.

"Before we changed, we gave them too many chances. It was very intense for the boys. They created too much. They were too often in our box, and we made the changes. Then we made a mistake. It happens but in that moment, it opens the door.

"They scored an equaliser, and I don't even know how. The character from the boys tonight was outstanding in our situation. We wanted to win the game. In the moment, when we gave away the 3-2, that was really tricky. That's it, that's the story of the game."

It looked like Quansah’s goal would be the winner for much of the second half, with the young defender heading in his first goal for Liverpool.

"I've been waiting for that moment," he told the BBC. "I don't score too many goals, so when it goes in the back of the net you just saw the emotion come out I guess.

"I just tried to get the best contact on it as I could. I'm thankful it went in.

"The way the crowd celebrated was a surreal moment, definitely one I'll never forget."

Unai Emery has praised "special" Jhon Duran after his late brace secured Aston Villa a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday.

The Reds looked to be on their way to a 3-1 despite Youri Tielemans’ strike after Cody Gakpo and Jarell Quansah added to Emiliano Martinez’s early own goal.

However, Duran's 79th-minute introduction changed the game as the Colombian scored twice in three minutes to salvage a draw.

Villa needed a win to secure a Champions League spot, but a point keeps their fate in their own hands despite Tottenham having a game in hand against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Emery was full of praise for his forward, acknowledging how important his goals could be by Sunday.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "Jhon Duran is a special player. We have to try and help him. He is a good guy, and he needs a team behind him. He is getting our demands better. He was very clinical and today was important for him.

"Today we are celebrating with our supporters, we have to push it and keep working and be consistent. We were consistent all the season. The team was being mature and always consistent in our mind. Inch by inch we did it.

"We are very proud of the season. It is not enough at the moment to get fourth. Even after we scored the two goals, we had chances. We are celebrating the season here with our supporters in Villa Park.

"We are only thinking of us. We will prepare for our match on Sunday, everything is in our hands."

Villa were on a three-game losing run going into the Liverpool contest, and John McGinn highlighted the team’s strong mentality to avoid another defeat.

"It's a brilliant effort towards the end. We got a bit of luck. It's been a tough few weeks with lads coming back and playing through the pain barrier. This place got us going," he told Sky Sports after the game.

"There's some of us that have never been close to the Champions League in our life. The manager has a no-excuse mentality. People have written us off and we've floated under the radar. We'll have our Man City tops on tomorrow.

"Big Jhon [Duran] is a bit nuts and is a nightmare to have in your team, but he's got quality. We need to keep his feet on the ground over the next couple of days."

Jhon Duran's dramatic late double earned Aston Villa a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool at Villa Park, but the hosts will still have to wait before they can be sure of sealing a top-four Premier League finish.

Duran came off the bench to score in the 85th and 88th minutes to help Villa avoid what had looked set to be a fourth straight defeat in all competitions.

Emiliano Martinez's own goal gifted Liverpool the lead two minutes in on Monday and Cody Gakpo restored that advantage for the visitors after Youri Tielemans had Unai Emery’s side level.

It looked like Jarell Quansah's first goal for the Reds early in the second half had sealed the victory, but Duran’s late intervention ensured Villa emerged from the game with a valuable point.

Villa remain in fourth place, now five points clear of Tottenham, their rivals for a Champions League spot. Spurs have a game in hand but must beat title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday to take the battle to the final day. Liverpool stay third on 79 points.

Emery’s men found themselves behind just 61 seconds into the game with a moment to forget for Martinez as he failed to hold onto Harvey Elliott’s cross, letting it roll over the line.

Despite Liverpool’s bright start, Villa equalised against the run of play – Ollie Watkins pulled it back to Tielemans, who drilled a first-time shot into the bottom-left corner.

Gakpo restored the Reds’ lead in the 23rd minute, meeting Joe Gomez’s low cross to fire into an empty net, with the on-field decision confirmed after a VAR review for an offside in the build-up.

Diego Carlos should have dragged Villa level again before the break, but with an open net to aim for at close range, he could only guide his shot wide of the far post.

Liverpool started the second half brightly, with Quansah netting his first goal for the club with a towering, unmarked header into the top-left corner before offside decisions denied both sides more goals.

Watkins thought he had scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season when he guided it past Alisson, but it was disallowed following a VAR review as Leon Bailey set off too early in the build-up.

Minutes later, Elliott skipped in front of Mohamed Salah to poke Luis Diaz’s cross past a stranded Martinez, but the flag was up against the Colombian.

Duran’s introduction flipped the momentum back in Villa’s favour, as the substitute scored twice in three minutes to salvage a draw – he drilled the first into the bottom-corner after dispossessing Alexis Mac Allister before perhaps fortuitously flicking Moussa Diaby’s pass over Alisson and into the net.

Home comforts for Villa

Villa knew a win here would confirm fourth spot and Champions League football, and while they did not quite achieve that, this was a small and significant step towards securing it.

Though they were not helped by Martinez's mistake in the second minute, with the goalkeeper scoring the earliest own goal since Antolin Alcaraz (54 seconds) for Everton against Southampton in April 2014, Villa kept fighting to get a result.

The Villans are now unbeaten in their final home game of the season in each of the last five campaigns since their promotion back to the top-flight in 2019, winning three and drawing two. They have Duran to thank for that record extending, and they will now watch Spurs’ match against City with great interest.

Quick starts boost Reds

In Jurgen Klopp's penultimate game in charge of Liverpool, his side showed signs of their free-scoring best once more.

Quansah's header was the 140th goal across all competitions for Liverpool this season - it is their second-highest scoring campaign in the club's history after 2021-22 (147).

They made bright starts to both halves and were rewarded with goals inside the opening three minutes each time to put themselves in control.

However, another defensive lapse at the back, similar to the one they had against Tottenham, ultimately cost them two points. The Reds finish their season at home to Wolves on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp has promised his Liverpool players will show a reaction to their shock 3-0 Europa League home defeat to Atalanta when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool’s hopes of ending Klopp’s reign with a showpiece European final in Dublin are in real jeopardy after Atalanta punished a lacklustre display to inflict the Reds’ first home defeat in 14 months.

The second leg of the quarter-final tie will be played in Bergamo next week, but before then Liverpool’s attention returns to the intense three-way fight at the top of the Premier League, and a match against Oliver Glasner’s Palace side.

Asked how he could ensure there would be no hangover from Thursday’s result going into Sunday, Klopp said: “First and foremost, I cannot ensure that, never could. But still, it’s the job I have to do.

“I don’t think it was a general low point but performance-wise it was a low point. But the really good thing about a really bad performance is you can play better. Start from there.

“This must feel bad and it does, so let the boys take it home, sleep on it and then come together and recover and go from there.

“On Saturday we will start preparing for Crystal Palace. We have to show a reaction, definitely, 100 per cent clear, but I cannot plan the reaction (straight) after the game…But we will show a reaction, I can promise.”

Klopp made six changes for Thursday’s game, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Curtis Jones all coming into the side.

It was a first start since February for Jones, who has made two substitute appearances since injury, while Diogo Jota came off the bench for his first appearance of any kind in almost two months.

Long-term absentees Stefan Bajcetic and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among the substitutes, although Klopp said there was “no chance” of Alexander-Arnold ever playing and he had only been named in the squad because UEFA regulations allow him to select up to 23 players.

With no let up in the schedule and Liverpool still fighting on two fronts, Klopp is eager to get his squad back up to full fitness.

“There is no pressure (to manage the injured players’ returns), that’s just the situation,” he said.

“My job isn’t the easiest job in the world but it’s not the most difficult. But it’s about the players, you need to make sure you get them on the pitch and then it works out somehow.

“We’ve played different line-ups and played really good football and (on Thursday) we didn’t and that’s the reason we lost. That can be the headline. It didn’t work out and that’s absolutely fine and right.

“But we need them all and we need them all aggressive, fit, going for it, a bit angry and full of desire and not so much dealing with your own situation, ‘I need rhythm, I didn’t play for ages’ – try to avoid that.”

Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo believes their strength in depth is bolstering the club’s Premier League title bid.

The Netherlands international came off the bench for the 19th time in 44 appearances to score his 14th goal in Thursday’s victory over Sheffield United.

This season Jurgen Klopp’s substitutes have been involved in 24 Premier League goals (12 goals, 12 assists) which equals Manchester City’s record from 2011-12, with Gakpo combining with fellow substitute Andy Robertson for the third goal against the Blades.

It has also contributed to Liverpool winning 26 points from losing positions and Gakpo, the team’s third-highest scorer this season, attributes that to the attitude within the squad.

“That’s what this team is all about. We have so much quality, and the manager can only start 11,” he told the club’s website.

“Everybody is eager to perform well for himself, for the team and for the fans when they are coming on.

“At the beginning of the season everyone had the belief that, ‘OK, I’m not starting today but when I come on, you never know what is going to happen, and if I put all of my energy out there then beautiful things can happen’.”

With just eight league matches remaining the focus is getting sharper with every week but Gakpo said no-one was thinking ahead as that leads to scrambled thinking.

“Obviously we are aware of the situation but we just try to approach every game and stay calm,” he added.

“Obviously your mind can go all over the place if you are thinking about the end of the season, but we just have to take it game by game.

“We are doing it pretty well at the moment and we just need to stay calm and stay focused.”

The team return to Old Trafford on Sunday, where only three weeks ago they lost a pulsating FA Cup quarter-final 4-3 after Manchester United scored a winner in the final minute of extra time.

It was only the third domestic defeat of the campaign but losing to their arch-rivals, ending the hope of an unprecedented quadruple, was painful.

“Of course, we were very disappointed. Losing is never good. Especially the way we lost that day, it hurt for 24 hours after the game,” said Gakpo’s international captain Virgil van Dijk.

“We have to do better against them. They started the game well, had the crowd behind them and that gave them a push. Conceding the goals was disappointing.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk)

 

“We controlled the game but kept them alive. They made use of it in the best way possible. That’s credit to them but we are going there on Sunday to turn it around and make sure we get the three points.

“We want to win every game and that’s the focus anyway at Liverpool. We know how much this match means and how big it is for the outside world but we are in a phase where we can’t drop points and lose points.

“It never matters what happened the game before results-wise. It is on its own. We have one goal: go there and try to win the game, we will give everything.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Alexis Mac Allister’s “wonder goal” for turning around their fortunes in the 3-1 win over Sheffield United.

After Conor Bradley’s own goal early in the second half cancelled out Darwin Nunez’s 17th-minute opener – courtesy of an error by Blades goalkeeper Ivo Grbic – the tension at Anfield increased as a return to the top of the Premier League came into doubt.

However, Mac Allister, Liverpool’s best player over the last month, smashed home a brilliant strike reminiscent of Steven Gerrard’s winner against Olympiacos in 2004 to ease the nerves and Cody Gakpo added a late third.

“We needed Macca’s wonder goal to turn it around,” said Klopp on the Argentina international, who is the first Reds midfielder to score or assist a goal in six consecutive appearances in all competitions since Gerrard in January 2013.

“The third goal was like it should have been before. This kind of moment, Robbo (Andy Robertson) at full speed, wonderful cross, sensational header.”

Mac Allister started the game back as the defensive midfielder, a role he performed for most of the first half of the season, as Wataru Endo was rested, but moved further forward in the second half.

Klopp has fielded questions about the World Cup winner’s best position throughout the campaign but admits he is better in a more advanced position.

“I understand 100 percent that (question) is coming but he played a good game already, it is not him in the wrong position,” added the Reds boss.

“You can play that with a footballing six but all the movements around were not as they should be. You talk is he better as an eight or a six – his defensive part is really good but people were doubting can he be this kind of defensive player.

“I prefer him in an eight but we are not playing in dreamland, we had a problem in the position and it worked out.

“We changed (in the game) and then changed back to a double-six. I don’t know if he scored in the double six but the impact he can have is massive.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admits once they had squandered a couple of good early chances the Premier League’s bottom side were always up against it but did not think it would have made that much difference.

“I am not sure scoring early against Liverpool is the greatest of ideas,” he said.

“We knew we would have to give up the ball and be structured and organised and connected. We knew we would have to suffer, stay in the game, take the game deep.

“We were against the best press in the division and hopefully ride your luck and things fall for you, hopefully it becomes the night you get something.

“Yet again Liverpool are finding goals late on. From our point of view it is quite a difficult thing to take.

“You want the players to give everything they have got but physically the gap, it hurts, it cost us tonight.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Alexis Mac Allister’s “wonder goal” for turning around their fortunes in the 3-1 win over Sheffield United.

After Conor Bradley’s own goal early in the second half cancelled out Darwin Nunez’s 17th-minute opener – courtesy of an error by Blades goalkeeper Ivo Grbic – the tension at Anfield increased as a return to the top of the Premier League came into doubt.

However, Mac Allister, Liverpool’s best player over the last month, smashed home a brilliant strike reminiscent of Steven Gerrard’s winner against Olympiacos in 2004 to ease the nerves and Cody Gakpo added a late third.

“We needed Macca’s wonder goal to turn it around,” said Klopp on the Argentina international, who is the first Reds midfielder to score or assist a goal in six consecutive appearances in all competitions since Gerrard in January 2013.

“The third goal was like it should have been before. This kind of moment, Robbo (Andy Robertson) at full speed, wonderful cross, sensational header.”

Mac Allister started the game back as the defensive midfielder, a role he performed for most of the first half of the season, as Wataru Endo was rested, but moved further forward in the second half.

Klopp has fielded questions about the World Cup winner’s best position throughout the campaign but admits he is better in a more advanced position.

“I understand 100 percent that (question) is coming but he played a good game already, it is not him in the wrong position,” added the Reds boss.

“You can play that with a footballing six but all the movements around were not as they should be. You talk is he better as an eight or a six – his defensive part is really good but people were doubting can he be this kind of defensive player.

“I prefer him in an eight but we are not playing in dreamland, We had a problem in the position and it worked out.

“We changed (in the game) and then changed back to a double-six. I don’t know if he scored in the double six but the impact he can have is massive.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admits once they had squandered a couple of good early chances the Premier League’s bottom side were always up against it but did not think it would have made that much difference.

“I am not sure scoring early against Liverpool is the greatest of ideas,” he said.

“We knew we would have to give up the ball and be structured and organised and connected. We knew we would have to suffer, stay in the game, take the game deep.

“We were against the best press in the division and hopefully ride your luck and things fall for you, hopefully it becomes the night you get something.

“Yet again Liverpool are finding goals late on. From our point of view it is quite a difficult thing to take.

“You want the players to give everything they have got but physically the gap, it hurts, it cost us tonight.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Mohamed Salah’s relentless drive to score goals will never end.

The Egypt international scored in the 6-1 Europa League demolition of Sparta Prague to bring up his 20th goal of the season, becoming the first player in the club’s history to reach that mark in seven successive campaigns.

“In seven years together with him, the one problem we never had was consistency,” said Klopp after the Egypt international’s first start since New Year’s Day after a hamstring injury.

“Mo is just delivering and delivering and delivering, his desire doesn’t stop, his quality is there and his desire to score doesn’t stop.

“He has improved in so many aspects since he started here. That’s how it is, he will not stop.

“I’m less surprised than maybe some others, I thought it had already happened to be honest, but he was injured for a while, otherwise he would have done it in January or February.

“But great, very good, and great to have him back.”

Salah also provided two assists for Bobby Clark and Cody Gakpo, who scored twice, with Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai also on target.

He completed his first 90 minutes in two months but Klopp admitted he had wanted to rest him earlier.

“It was not the plan he plays 90 minutes, the plan was to take him off when we brought on Mateusz (Musialowski) but Bobby Clark said (he felt something) and Mo is experienced enough that he recovers during the game.

“I told him not to defend any more – I never told a player that before.”

Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals 11-2 on aggregate after an early blitz ruled out any remote hopes of a comeback from the Czech champions.

“The boys started the game incredibly well and 4-0 up in 14 minutes is really strange. From then on it became a strange game because how can you now stay greedy?” said Klopp.

Sparta boss Brian Priske accepted his side had been totally outclassed.

“Big respect to Liverpool how they played these two legs, the level from Sparta to Liverpool is massive. It is a completely different level,” he said.

“We never faced something like this. Liverpool is a Champions League team and they should be playing in the Champions League.”

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk admits the team was probably guilty of trying too hard to compensate for the absence of a host of star players in the 4-1 victory over Luton.

Forwards Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah were the latest added to an absentee list, which had grown to 11 senior players and left manager Jurgen Klopp short of options, certainly of match-winners, as his bench comprised three defenders and four academy players.

The likes of Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo, and to a lesser extent Luis Diaz, all struggled up front in the first half, but four goals in an impressive second-half comeback after going behind in the 12th minute re-established a four-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Klopp’s side have won now 22 points from losing positions this season, more than any other team.

“First half with the very first chance (for Diaz) we could have changed the game, but we were a bit rushed in the final third,” said Van Dijk.

“Obviously the way we turned it around was credit to the boys.

“Staying calm is the most difficult thing to do, especially in the situation where we are at; everyone wants to show themselves and play their best game ever, and you have to try to stay calm and find the right solution.

“The first half was a bit rushed and that’s why we struggled a little bit in that sense. Being 1-0 down is never nice, but the way we bounced back is good to see.”

Elliott, on his 100th appearance, scored the team’s 100th goal of the season with the late fourth to end his night on a high after coming in for some vociferous criticism from the crowd.

However, Klopp – who remonstrated with a fan who appeared to target Elliott after yet another pass went astray in the first half – defended the 20-year-old.

“Top performance. And Harvey is a top player; 100 games for Liverpool FC in not the worst period of the club’s history, where you cannot afford players who (just) play the position, that’s a proper sign,” he added.

“He had not a great first half. There was a pass with Lucho (Diaz); I saw he wants to play the pass instead of maybe he can go in a one-on-one situation.

“But the reaction in the second half is the main difference, that’s the thing. That made this performance the performance and I’m so happy for him.

“I don’t lose patience in these moments, I know that it’s a challenge for young boys.

“When everything is great, they are super talents. When things don’t go well, you have to show up. And that’s what he’s learning more and more.

“And with 100 games under his belt, we all know he will definitely play another 100, 200, 300 – if you ask him, 500 – for this club.”

Mohamed Salah scored on his Premier League return as Liverpool eased to a 4-1 win at Brentford.

Coming off the bench for his first appearance since injuring a hamstring on duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, he netted his side’s third goal moments after making a brilliant assist for Alexis Mac Allister to make it 2-0.

Darwin Nunez had opened the scoring with a superbly-taken chip to cap a wonderful counter attack in the first half as Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders ensure they would finish the weekend still on top.

Ivan Toney continued his goalscoring form since returning from his gambling ban to briefly give Brentford hope at 3-1.

It was a fleeting moment of optimism, quickly extinguished when substitute Cody Gakpo stroked home Liverpool’s fourth in the closing minutes.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his belief is endless in his forwards whether they score or not after Darwin Nunez had an impactful but not ultimately decisive role in the 2-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg win over Fulham.

After coming off the bench in the 56th minute, the Uruguay international provided the assist for Curtis Jones’ deflected equaliser and then the cross from which fellow substitute Cody Gakpo swept home the winner.

On another day Nunez, who has scored just once in the last 16 matches, could have had a late hat-trick after being denied by goalkeeper Bernd Leno which would have virtually put Liverpool in the final ahead of the second leg in a fortnight.

“He plays outstanding, I have to say it. There are so many things I love about his game,” said Klopp.

“The first year was a year to adapt and he scored here and there but now he contributes in all games.

“The boys don’t start because they score or not score. My belief and trust in them, as long as they behave properly, is endless. They deserve it because of the effort they put in.

“I don’t know how to explain the Darwin situation. I’m so happy about Darwin’s reaction and how he takes it but you cannot be more unlucky in these finishing situations, that’s not possible.

“He does absolutely everything right, yet ball not in. And then he still sets up the other goal. I think that is really special to do that again.”

Liverpool’s substitutes have contributed 15 goals and 15 assists in all competitions this season, 12 better than any other Premier League team, and Nunez has been responsible for three goals and four assists.

His contribution was crucial as Klopp had no other options as the six other outfield substitutes were all academy graduates, the oldest of whom was 21-year-old left-back Owen Beck, recalled from a loan spell with Dundee.

The players currently absent, either with injury or international duty, are Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Wataru Endo, Kostas Tsimikas and Stefan Bajcetic.

“We have more players available usually but the boys who came on have real quality, obviously, already,” added Klopp.

“That we can bring Cody and Darwin from the bench, that is a proper change. On top of that, we changed the system and the formation and the set-up.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva was grateful to still have a chance in the second leg after they failed to capitalise on Willian’s 19th-minute opener.

“Two different halves. It wasn’t our best performance, even so first half we had a plan. We were ruthless from the first moment and really good from Willian when we scored,” he said.

“The second half was different, we struggled a bit more. We should manage them in a different way.

“They were a bit lucky the first goal, a deflection that changed completely the game, and the only thing that is disappointing is the way we managed the next 10 minutes.

“In a competition where we are playing two legs we cannot concede a fast attack like that. Liverpool had one or two chances to score the third and the reality is that Leno kept us in the game.”

Substitutes Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez came off the bench to help turn around Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at home to Fulham and ensured they will take a 2-1 lead to Craven Cottage.

The pair were introduced early in the second half with the hosts trailing to Willian’s 19th-minute goal after a Virgil van Dijk error.

Liverpool were struggling for creativity without the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold – who helped turn a 3-2 Fulham lead into a 4-3 Reds win in last month’s Premier League meeting – but as at Arsenal in the FA Cup at the weekend Jurgen Klopp’s changes altered the game.

Nunez added a directness which had been lacking while Gakpo brought the composure and control to midfield Ryan Gravenberch had not before he was replaced by his Netherlands team-mate.

And the pair combined for Gakpo to score in the 71st minute, just three minutes after Curtis Jones’ deflected equaliser.

The last team to win at Anfield was Real Madrid in February. Before that it was another side in white, Leeds in October 2022, and Fulham – in their first League Cup semi-final – must have been encouraged by the start they had.

Klopp made six changes from the weekend and while that saw 20-year-old Conor Bradley deputise for Alexander-Arnold in only his second start of the season, it also included the return of Van Dijk.

The Netherlands captain was back after illness but his decision to head a ball aimlessly sideways on the edge of his area proved costly.

Andreas Pereira nipped in behind and cut the ball back to the penalty spot where a couple of neat touches from Willian opened up the space for him to fire through the legs of the recovering Dutchman and give goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher little chance.

Moments later Van Dijk was booked for catching Pereira in the face with an arm as his travails continued.

But his personal difficulties were matched by his team, who were too one-paced in their build-up.

Harvey Elliott was given Mohamed Salah’s position on the right wing but his role often seemed to require filling the space usually occupied by Alexander-Arnold, which meant dropping deep with Bradley pushing forward as an orthodox over-lapping full-back.

But apart from an early Jones attempt straight at Bernd Leno and a Diogo Jota narrow-angle shot across the face of goal chances were rare with Fulham having more on target in the first half.

The tempo increased after the break with Gravenberch shooting wide and Jota delaying a fraction too long having created space for himself with a square run across the penalty area allowing Antonee Robinson to block.

But as the hosts pressed for the equaliser Fulham were able to expose the space opening up in Liverpool’s defence and Kelleher got down low to parry a Bobby Decordova-Reid shot.

Alexis Mac Allister’s cross was turned over by Leno but the equaliser had an element of good fortune when Jones took aim from distance and went in off Tosin Adarabioyo’s back.

Leno was beaten again when Gakpo turned home Nunez’s near-post cross after linking with Jota.

Liverpool’s all-action Uruguay international could have all-but sealed Liverpool’s passage to Wembley before the return leg but a full-stretch Leno tipped over his header, pushed away a fierce drive and blocked his close-range effort.

Mohamed Salah believes Liverpool can win the Premier League after his inspirational display fired the Reds to a crucial yet hard-fought win over Newcastle.

Salah recovered from a first-half penalty miss to score twice and set up another as Jurgen Klopp’s side won a New Year’s Day thriller 4-2 at Anfield to move three points clear at the top.

It was his final game before joining up with Egypt ahead of the upcoming African Cup of Nations.

Salah told Sky Sports: “It’s a great result for us. The game was very intense and we managed to pick up three points and now we are top of the table. We need to stay calm and win every game.”

Asked about his side’s title chances, he added: “We believe a lot. We need to work hard and express ourselves on the field. If we manage to do that and work hard then we can keep winning.”

Salah was pleased not to be signing off from club duty on a low note after seeing a spot-kick – the first of two he had during the game – beaten away by impressive Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

He said: “I missed the pen – I didn’t want to leave with national team with that performance.

“The first one I was confused because the goalkeeper moved, but the second one I did like I did in training.”

Salah opened the scoring with a tap-in early in the second half. That effort was quickly cancelled out by Alexander Isak, but Liverpool took control through Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo.

Sven Botman pulled another back, but Salah wrapped up the win the hosts – who racked up 34 shots – deserved after a foul by Dubravka on Diogo Jota.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “Nobody should be really surprised that Mo can change a game. The more goals you have, the more you are used to missing chances and understand what you have to do to keep going and improving, and that was what Mo did.

“It was a super game from start to finish, super high intensity. I loved so many aspects of the game except the goals we conceded.

“It was an unbelievable game with and unbelievable atmosphere.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admitted his side were fortunate to get in goalless at half-time, but he had issues with both spot-kicks given against them.

“I’m still confused over the penalties we conceded. The second one especially didn’t look like a penalty,” he said.

“There are two ways to look at it: the challenge on Sean Longstaff (in the second half) was a pen for me and that changes the game massively and then they go up the other end and it wasn’t (a penalty).”

A fifth defeat in six league matches, and one win in 12 away games, has left Newcastle struggling to stay in reach of the top four.

“We have to do everything we can to protect that confidence so that is why I think we need not to over dramatise things,” Howe added.

“It was a really good performance from Liverpool, they made it very difficult for us – we did well to come in 0-0.

“Take away the penalty moments, the goals we conceded were disappointing.”

Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo is confident the forward line will step up to cover for the pending absence of Mohamed Salah.

Darwin Nunez ended a run of 12 matches without a goal, while Diogo Jota came off the bench to score after a month out injured in Tuesday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Burnley which took Jurgen Klopp’s side top of the table.

Salah has one more game – at home to Newcastle on Sunday – before he departs for the African Nations Cup with Egypt and the 16-goal winger is likely to be away for a month.

Therefore, Jota’s timely return boosts the numbers up top, while Nunez’s confidence has been lifted by his first Premier League goal since October.

Gakpo himself has seven for the season, the latest coming in last week’s Carabao Cup romp against West Ham after he was denied a goal at Turf Moor when referee Paul Tierney adjudged Nunez to have committed a foul in the build-up, and he believes they have enough firepower to see them through in Salah’s absence.

“For every attacking player who didn’t score for a few games, it’s always nice to get back on the scoresheet and Darwin did it with a very good goal,” said Gakpo.

“For Diogo as well. When you are injured and you come back and score that’s always nice and good for the confidence. So really happy.

“Mo is gone after the Newcastle game so we need the goals. Of course, I think I can contribute even more.”

Liverpool captain Virgil Van Dijk is also of the opinion they can handle Salah’s expected lengthy absence despite the Egypt international being their main threat for so many seasons.

“It’s always important for the guys up front to score goals. I am delighted for Darwin. Diogo, it’s the same story. It’s good to see the boys back on the scoresheet,” said the Netherlands defender.

“I also want to say that Cody was outstanding, in the first half especially. It’s good to see. Everyone has to keep pushing each other. That’s the only way we can get better.

“Others have to step up anyway. We have to deal with losing Mo and we have the players up front who can make the difference. Let’s see how we deal with it.”

Liverpool’s return to the Premier League summit probably has more significance to the outside world than it does within the squad, who are refusing to look beyond their next game.

“The table is not looking in a bad place but we have to take it one game at a time, don’t let our heads go everywhere all over the place, just stay focused and keep doing what we are doing now and even improve more,” added Gakpo, who is enjoying his first taste of the English festive programme.

“It’s the first time I played with this intensity – a lot of games in a few days – and it’s nice as if you play a good game you can play again and if you play a not-so-good game, you can make it good in the next game as it’s coming nice and quick,” he added.

“Everybody wants the three points – also the opponents – so you have to work really hard every game and you have to be able to win games different ways.”

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.