Liverpool came from a goal down in dramatic fashion to beat Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday night, trimming Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to a single point with one match left to play in the 2021-22 season.
Jurgen Klopp picked an XI with significant changes from the side that beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final on Saturday, with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah out nursing injuries and Sadio Mane left off the team entirely.
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Nathan Redmond put the hosts in front early with an exquisite individual effort, cutting in from the left flank and curling a shot that took a slight deflection off Liverpool’s James Milner fits Allison.
Defender Joe Gomez, whose Liverpool career has been hampered by injuries, had to be substituted at the interval after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury just before the break.
Joel Matip scored with the unlikeliest of headers to give Liverpool the lead on 67 minutes, leaning over his defender and redirecting a deflected corner kick past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to put his team on course for the three points.
It was a weak effort by Southampton, and Liverpool had little trouble seeing out the rest of the game and setting up what could be a tense final day.
Milner, the 36-year-old Liverpool utility player who was given the captain’s armband in a rare start of late, praised the back-up players for the way they took on the game.
“The guys are incredible. The guys who may not have played as much but you see it in training every day the level they put in and you can see it when they need to step up,” Milner said. “It is a special group of players and a special football club. We fight to the end and keep going. All we can do is take it as far as we can.”
The result leaves defending champions Man City needing a win on Sunday against Aston Villa — managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard — to ensure a fourth Premier League title under Pep Guardiola.
Should City lose or draw, though, the door would be open for Liverpool, who were 14 points behind in the table on Jan. 15, to take over first on the final matchday of the season with a win over Wolves at Anfield.
Liverpool also have a Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 in Paris to contend with as their hopes of ending the season with four major trophies remain alive.