Chelsea vs Liverpool: Why was the Carabao Cup triumph the ‘most special trophy’ won by Jurgen Klopp?

Liverpool showed real character to match Chelsea toe-to-toe and got their reward in the 118th minute through a Virgil van Dijk header from a corner.

Jurgen Klopp in a file photo; Credit: Liverpool FC Twitter
By Karthik Raman | Feb 27, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Liverpool remarkably won the Carabao Cup after scoring a late goal deep into the extra time of the action-packed final. The Reds, suffering from a lot of injuries, fielded a youthful side against a Chelsea team that is slowing starting to find their feet in the league. Considering the massive injury crisis suffered by the Merseyside outfit, not many fancied them against the London outfit that had more or less the main team available.

However, Liverpool showed real character to match Chelsea toe-to-toe and got their reward in the 118th minute through a Virgil van Dijk header from a corner. A delighted Jurgen Klopp explained why this Carabao Cup triumph is the “most special trophy” he has won. When asked about his emotions before the late winner, Klopp, quoted on the club’s website, said in his post-match press conference, “That would be cool if I could see goals coming, I would relax [in] a lot of moments of my life. No, I loved it. I think that was the moment where everything just felt, ‘Come on’.”

Jurgen Klopp on Carabao Cup win

He added: “What we see here today is so exceptional, we might never see again and not because I am on the sideline, because these things don’t happen in football. I got told outside that there’s an English phrase, ‘you don’t win trophies with kids’ – I didn’t know that. Yeah! There are longer careers than mine but in more than 20 years, [it’s] easily the most special trophy I ever won. It’s absolutely exceptional. Sometimes I get asked if I’m proud of this, proud of that, proud of that, and it’s really tricky. I wish I could feel pride more often, I just don’t do. Tonight there’s an overwhelming feeling, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on here?’ I was proud of everybody involved in everything here.”

The Liverpool manager showered praise on holding midfielder Wataru Endo for his development across the season after he moved to the Merseyside outfit last summer. “A good development, huh? Yeah, I said it a couple of times we were lucky. We bring him in and obviously Wataru, I’m pretty sure in three [or] four years Wataru will sign another long-term contract at Liverpool just because he might be 30 or 31 on his passport but he’s not. He’s a machine. He is footballing-wise exceptional. His defensive brain is outstanding. He gives us a lot of freedom for a lot of things. Yeah, top development. Very helpful, very helpful,” he said.

Jurgen Klopp on Virgil van Dijk

Klopp then shifted the attention to the match-winner Virgil van Dijk and feels that the defender will always remember this triumph due to the circumstances surrounding it. “Virgil van Dijk from the first day since he stepped into Liverpool FC is absolutely outstanding. But you anyway in his lesser-good moments go for him like he didn’t want to perform. ‘Why is he like that?’ Sorry, they’re human beings, it happens from time to time. That we are not spot on probably happens to you as well,” he explained.

The manager added: “Yes, thank God, he’s absolutely spot on, top shape, we need him; we need them all. I think he learned an important lesson tonight for himself. Not that he needed to learn it, but we gave him the opportunity to learn it. Whatever happens, you always can win the game whatever. Yeah, he will not forget, not because it was the first trophy as Liverpool captain, [but] just because [of] the circumstances.”

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