- Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to ensure Quadruple hunt marches on
- Injuries to Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk had made it a difficult afternoon for the Reds
- Klopp says the removal of Salah was more of a precautionary measure
- Sadio Mane misses fifth spot-kick, but Kostas Tsimikas wins the Cup for the Reds
Liverpool claimed the second leg of a potential historic Quadruple by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup Final – but only after they nearly blew the penalty shoot-out with some dodgy advice from manager Jurgen Klopp.
Both Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk went off injured during the goalless 120 minutes before Kostas Tsimikas struck the winning penalty though Liverpool are confident both will be fit to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the end of the month.
Klopp, who has become the first manager in Liverpool’s history to win the European Cup, League Championship, FA Cup and League Cup, admitted his blunder had almost cost his team.
Liverpool’s quadruple hopes are still alive after victory over Chelsea on penalties in a dramatic FA Cup final at Wembley
When Sadio Mane stepped up with Liverpool’s first chance to win the shoot-out, Klopp urged him to change his usual finish against Senegal international team-mate Edouard Mendy – and Mane’s effort was saved.
‘Sadio’s penalty is 50 per cent my responsibility. I told him the goalie knows exactly what you normally do so do it the other way round. How often in my life is it better to shut up!
‘But we still made it after an incredible game. We work with a neuroscience company (neruo11) who said they could really do train penalty shooting. This trophy is for them as well.’
Kostas Tsimikas declared himself the Scouse Greek after the shootout win in which he notched the winning penalty
Apart from Mane, all Liverpool’s takers were successful in a 6-5 shoot-out win that left Chelsea the first team to lose three consecutive FA Cup finals.
All attention will now be on Liverpool’s bid to make history by sweeping up the Premier League and Champions League. They are currently three points behind Manchester City in the league with two matches left for each team with City facing West Ham today (Sunday) and Liverpool likely to meet Southampton on Tuesday without Salah, who was replaced after 33 minutes yesterday with a tight groin, and van Dijk, who felt a twinge behind his knee.
‘We had to change Mo early but it was a precautionary move. He said he felt something but could carry on.
Mohamed Salah’s cup final was over with little over half an hour played, as he limped off the pitch after suffering an injury
‘I have spoken to both already. Both are really Ok, it’s not a big thing but we play the next game on Tuesday. They might be fine but I would be surprised. The best physiotherapy is winning football games.’
Luis Diaz was voted man-of-the-match, ‘what a boy, what a player, but he should have scored,’ quipped Klopp.
And though Liverpool are long odds to win all four titles with City also carrying a superior goal difference, Klopp will never completely give up on his players.
Sadio Mane appeared gutted after his miss – although Kostas Tsimikas saved his blushes
‘My team knows exactly what I think about them,’ he said. ‘It is outstanding that we can even talk about the Quadruple. But we sit here on Saturday night and we play again Tuesday in Southampton and I have no clue who is ready. I think we will have to make a few changes.
‘The quadruple is on if you want but off as well because of the situation we are in. But I was probably the only one who thought we could close on City when we were 14 points earlier in the season.’
Like the Carabao Cup final between the teams that also finished 0-0 earlier this season, there were plenty of chances at Wembley with Marcos Alonso hitting the bar for Chelsea and Diogo Jota for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp said Sadio Mane’s penalty miss was 50 per cent his fault after he had told the player to change sides
First blood in the penalty shoot-out went to Liverpool with Cesar Azpilicueta hitting the post but that was canceled out by Mane’s effort being saved. Then Alisson produced a great stop to deny Mason Mount allowing Tsimikas the glory even though he’s never scored a senior goal for Liverpool.
‘The manager asked me what kick I wanted and I said seven,’ said the defender. ‘I am not the Greek Scouser though, I am the Scouser Greek.’
Thomas Tuchel had no complaints about his side’s performance though they were robbed of Kai Havertz who had a hamstring injury with Timo Werner also making himself unavailable from the bench after feeling his hamstring in the warm-up.
‘We are sad but proud as well,’ said Tuchel. ‘I was sure until the last minute we would win but unfortunately that wasn’t right. We have played two finals over 240 minutes zero-zero against the best attacking team in the world.’
Mason Mount looked distraught after the penalty shootout after his miss proved decisively
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