Liverpool's Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal...

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at City ground in Nottingham, England, Saturday, March 2, 2024. Credit: AP/Rui Vieira

Exhausted, injury-hit and relying on a bunch of academy prospects, Liverpool continues to pull off victories in the business end of Jurgen Klopp's final season in charge.

No English Premier League win by the Reds has been sealed as late as the one at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez came off the bench and glanced home a header in the ninth minute of stoppage time to sink Forest 1-0 and move Liverpool four points clear.

It was a sixth straight win in all competitions for Liverpool — and a fourth in an 11-day span that included an extra-time victory over Chelsea in the English League Cup final.

“If you’d told me 12 days ago we would win all four games, I would have said no chance — it was impossible," said Klopp, who will be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after nearly nine years. “In the circumstances, winning the games is ridiculous.”

Second-placed Manchester City will look to restore the gap to Liverpool to one point by beating Manchester United at home in the derby on Sunday. Then, next for Liverpool and City in the league: A seismic meeting at Anfield on March 10.

Even though Liverpool's injuries are relenting somewhat, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones are still missing. Klopp started 19-year-old Bobby Clark in midfield alongside redeployed defender Joe Gomez. Jayden Danns, an 18-year-old forward, came on as a second-half substitute for his league debut.

Liverpool's Cody Gakpo, center, duels for the ball with Nottingham...

Liverpool's Cody Gakpo, center, duels for the ball with Nottingham Forest's Harry Toffolo, left, and Nottingham Forest's Ryan Yates during the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at City ground in Nottingham, England, Saturday, March 2, 2024. Credit: AP/Rui Vieira

"What the boys have squeezed out was special,” Klopp said.

“This game didn’t go easy for us. We didn’t have a great rhythm and the boys felt the intensity for the first time."

There were angry scenes among Forest players and coaching staff after the final whistle, with even club owner Evangelos Marinakis coming down to the touchline to express his unhappiness and later approach referee Paul Tierney.

Eight minutes of time added on was officially awarded by the referee, which was perhaps the cause of Forest’s complaints along with unhappiness that the hosts did not get the ball back when play was stopped after Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate sustained a knock to the head at a Forest corner just before the goal.

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp looks out from the bench before...

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp looks out from the bench before the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at City ground in Nottingham, England, Saturday, March 2, 2024. Credit: AP/Rui Vieira

Tierney blew with Forest in possession on the edge of Liverpool’s area. After Konate quickly recovered, Tierney dropped the ball to Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who then started the attack that eventually led to the goal.

“The law states that, if the referee is going to stop the game — which he is entitled to for a head injury — the ball has to go back to the team that has possession," said Mark Clattenburg, a former Premier League referee who has become a referee analyst at Forest.

Arsenal, a point behind City in third, visits last-placed Sheffield United on Monday.

NO LOVE FOR POCHETTINO

Chelsea couldn’t give Mauricio Pochettino a victory on his 52nd birthday. Instead, the Argentine manager found himself at the receiving end of the ire of the fans in a 2-2 draw at Brentford.

When Yoane Wissa put Brentford 2-1 ahead with a spectacular overhead kick in the 69th, Chelsea’s away contingent began singing the name of former manager Jose Mourinho as well as calling for Pochettino to go.

“I was asked before if I feel the love from the fans — no,” Pochettino said after the game. “I’m not worried. We need to accept this relationship. You win your relationship through winning games.

“I will continue to work and try to change this perception. We need to manage some reality. We are working really hard to try to win games, the team is fighting.”

The Blues rescued a point through Axel Disasi’s header from Cole Palmer’s cross in the 83rd but there was little for them to celebrate, with the team languishing in 11th place.

BATTLE FOR FOURTH

Aston Villa responded to Tottenham's come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace by scoring an 89th-minute winner at Luton to stay in charge of the race for fourth place.

Lucas Digne headed in the clinching goal for Villa in a 3-2 win at Kenilworth Road after the visitors squandered a 2-0 lead.

Villa is in fourth place, five points above Tottenham but having played one game more.

Fifth spot could yet earn a Champions League qualification berth for next season, depending on English clubs’ record in European competitions in the upcoming months. Spurs are six points ahead of Man United in sixth.

Tottenham produced a dazzling spell of three goals in 11 second-half minutes against Palace after falling behind to Eberechi Eze's curling free kick in the 59th.

Timo Werner — with his first goal for Tottenham — Cristian Romero and Son Heung-min netted for the hosts.

Ollie Watkins scored in the 24th and 38th minutes for Villa to move onto 16 goals in the league, behind only Man City's Erling Haaland on 17. Third-from-last Luton replied with goals by Tahith Chong and Carlton Morris.

OTHER RESULTS

There were 3-0 home wins for Newcastle and Fulham against Wolverhampton and Brighton, respectively, while West Ham won at Everton 3-1 thanks to two stoppage-time goals.

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