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Liverpool’s League Cup The ‘Most Special’ Trophy I Have Won – Klopp

While Klopp hopes Liverpool's success boosts their bid to stay top of the Premier League and win the FA Cup and Europa League, Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino was left to urge his players to embrace the pain of defeat.


Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates with the trophy following the English League Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley stadium, in London, on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s League Cup final triumph against Chelsea as the “most special” trophy of his career as the German learned he can win with kids.

Virgil van Dijk clinched Liverpool’s 1-0 win with a dramatic header two minutes from the end of extra-time at Wembley on Sunday.

Liverpool’s victory was especially sweet for Klopp as it came during an injury-hit period for his club that forced him to field a remarkably inexperienced team.

The Reds boss started with 20-year-olds Conor Bradley and Harvey Elliott in his side and brought on Bobby Clark (19), James McConnell (19), Jayden Danns (18) and Jarell Quansah (21) from the bench.

Injuries had deprived Klopp of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez, Alisson Becker and Joel Matip among others, while Ryan Gravenberch was stretchered off in the first half.

In the circumstances, Klopp ranked the seventh major trophy of his nine-year Liverpool reign as the most memorable of his career.

“In more than 20 years it is easily the most special trophy I have ever won. It is absolutely exceptional,” he said.

“Sometimes people ask me if I’m proud of things and it’s really tricky, I wish I could feel pride more often but tonight is an overwhelming feeling.

“I was proud of everyone involved in everything here. I was proud of our academy, I was proud of my coaches, I was proud of so many things. It was completely overwhelming.”

READ ALSO: Liverpool Win League Cup As Van Dijk Strikes Late To Sink Chelsea

Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen famously criticised Alex Ferguson’s decision to blood a host of Manchester United youngsters, including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, by saying “you can’t win anything with kids”.

It was a turn of phrase that came back to bite Hansen as United’s kids dominated the Premier League.

Klopp had never heard Hansen’s quote until the aftermath of Sunday’s triumph, when it struck a chord with the emotional German.

“I got told there is an English phrase you don’t win trophies with kids. I never knew that,” he said.

“I loved it. Can you create stories in football that never happened before? It is so difficult. If you can find any story about a group of academy kids coming on against a top team like Chelsea and winning, it’s incredible.”

 ‘A Memory Forever’ 

Wreathed in a bewildered grin in the moments after Van Dijk’s goal and at his fist-pumping best in the post-match celebrations, Klopp revelled in every moment of what might be his last visit to Wembley after his recent announcement that he will leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“I couldn’t care less about my legacy. I’m not here for that. It had nothing to do with maybe my last game at Wembley,” he said.

“It was about seeing the faces of the kids. For me it’s a really nice memory forever.”

Asked when he knew Liverpool’s cadre of rookies were ready to step up on the big stage, Klopp said: “Obviously age is not a problem at all. It was clear in training, these were the boys we would take (to the final). We needed fresh legs.”

While Klopp hopes Liverpool’s success boosts their bid to stay top of the Premier League and win the FA Cup and Europa League, Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino was left to urge his players to embrace the pain of defeat.

Pochettino’s side paid for wasting a series of chances to kill off Liverpool towards the end of normal time.

“We didn’t get the reward we wanted. They need to fill the pain. We played for a trophy we didn’t get. There is nothing you can tell me to feel better,” said Pochettino, who remains without a trophy in English football.

“They need to realise we need to work more, do better things, to compete at this level against a team that has been doing big things for many years.

“Liverpool lost the finals in the past, but they kept moving and kept believing. That is an example to us.”

AFP