Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager says win at Stoke was massive
Liverpool's comeback win at Stoke to stay on course for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification was "massive", says boss Jurgen Klopp.
Jon Walters put the Potters ahead but half-time substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino turned the game around in two second-half minutes.
The Reds are third in the Premier League, nine points above fifth-placed Arsenal, who have three games in hand.
"We have won a few games this year, but this was really special," said Klopp.
"You could feel it immediately in the dressing room. Everybody was like, 'that's very important'.
"Of course, we have to keep on proving it, but it feels outstandingly good in this moment. This was massive, it's absolutely massive."
The German boss reacted to an unmarked Walters heading in Xherdan Shaqiri's cross just before half-time by turning to Brazil forwards Coutinho and Firmino.
The pair had started on the bench, with Klopp saying Firmino had been suffering from fatigue after recent exertions for his country, and Coutinho had lost three kilograms (6.6lbs) in the past week due to illness.
But they were deemed fit enough to play the whole second half, replacing 17-year-old Ben Woodburn - making his first Premier League start - and 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold at the break.
"At half-time it was a difficult decision to make because it was not clear that Roberto and Phil would be ready for 45 minutes," added Klopp, whose side have now won 18 league games this season and are 12 points better off than at the same stage last term.
The Reds' next league game is at West Brom. They do not face any teams in the top six during their final six matches of the season.
Analysis - 'Liverpool's most important three points'
Former Manchester United and Everton defender Phil Neville
"Having seen Liverpool's starting XI, I fancied Stoke to win this because their opponents were missing their front four of Coutinho, Firmino, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana.
"They were all over the place in the first half. The Stoke goal was a poor one to give away.
"The game changed after Klopp brought the Brazilian pair on. Liverpool started to dominate possession.
"This was the most important three points of the season for the Reds."
'Comeback kings' - the stats
- Liverpool have won more points from losing positions than any other Premier League team this season (18).
- There were just 126 seconds between Liverpool's first and second goals.
- Walters has scored seven times against Liverpool in the Premier League, more than he has against any other side.
- Wijnaldum has provided six Premier League assists this season, one more than he registered for Newcastle in 2015-16.
- Klopp's side won their first away Premier League game of 2017.