Jurgen Klopp Says Carabao Cup Win Over Chelsea Is His Best Trophy Ever

February 26, 2024

Virgil van Dijk’s header in the dying seconds of extra time sealed Carabao Cup success for a battered Reds side at Wembley, marking the beginning of Liverpool’s bittersweet farewell to Jurgen Klopp in style. The German player called this accomplishment “the most special of his career.”

At kickoff, Klopp had just ten first-team players available. By the 28th minute, that number had risen to eleven as Ryan Gravenberch was carted off on a stretcher. Other notable absences included goalkeeper Alisson, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Dominik Szoboszlai, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, and Trent Alexander-Arnold.Just five players from Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea at Anfield less than four weeks prior made their Wembley debut, with six academy graduates aged 21 and under starting on the bench.

After the game, Liverpool’s 19-year-olds James McConnell and Bobby Clark, together with 20-year-old Harvey Elliott and 21-year-old Jarell Quansah, were still on the field. 20-year-old Conor Bradley had begun on defense.

“What we see today is so exceptional,” a beaming Klopp told a press conference post-match. “We might never see it again, these things don’t happen in football. Apparently, you don’t win trophies with kids, I didn’t know that.

“It is easily the most special trophy I’ve ever won. It’s absolutely exceptional. I wish I could feel pride more often, tonight that’s the overwhelming feeling – nothing to do with maybe my last game at Wembley. It was how everyone contributed.

“Seeing the faces of these kids. Nobody will ever forget this story – it’s so difficult. This tonight, if you find the same story with academy players coming on against a top side and still winning it, wow.”

Nevertheless, despite having nearly the whole starting lineup out of the game due to injury, Klopp’s team faced up against Chelsea, who was playing well and had an xG total of 2.28. Despite this, Chelsea was unable to score against Caoimhin Kelleher, the stand-in goalkeeper and key player.

Liverpool had the opportunity to give up under these circumstances, but they refused to give up and fought valiantly until Van Dijk’s winner, headed in from a corner in the 118th minute, completed an incredible comeback from adversity. Carabao Cup