Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp beamed from ear to ear at the final whistle as the Reds claimed the Carabao Cup.
The Reds lifted the trophy tonight, beating Chelsea in the silverware showdown in the capital in a penalty shoot-out after the close game ended 0-0, and Klopp kept going. praise for both parties.
“There were two lions fighting each other,” he said, reflecting on the victory. “It was absolutely crazy.
“It’s a big blow for us because it’s the first time for this group but the ninth time for the club which is important. The fans were happy with everything tonight. The game and the atmosphere were exceptional. We we liked it.
“We don’t get nervous when things aren’t going well. The start to the game was clearly better from Chelsea, then we were in the game, then we let them run. The second half was around 63% possession – against Chelsea it’s not easy.
Reflecting on the ‘wonderful story’ that led the Reds to the final, the German hailed the role of those who weren’t in today’s starting line-up and their role in helping the Merseysiders establish a new record in the competition.
“Today I had to make some tough decisions; I said, ‘this is my team,'” he continued. “The whole trip was absolutely exceptional. Without Takumi [Minamino] and Divock [Origi] in this competition, we wouldn’t be here. The penalty shootout was one of the most spectacular I have ever seen. The whole trip was a team trip and that’s what I like the most.
And the head coach couldn’t hide his joy for stopper Caoimhin Kelleher after giving the keeper the go-ahead to start between the sticks in today’s final at Wembley Stadium.
The Irishman kept a clean sheet and then scored the decisive penalty that would see Liverpool lift the trophy.
“It’s been quite a story since the first time I saw him as a boy and the first time as the man he is today,” he gasped. “He’s an incredible talent. He had an incredible game.
“The goalkeepers are very often separated, but I see them in the decisive moments. The game he played tonight was absolutely amazing. I remember at least two amazing saves, probably more, so he proves the decision to field him was absolutely right and then in a very spectacular shootout. He showed the full range of his skills. He finished one with his really dexterous feet.
“Kelleher is the best number two in the world, especially with the way we play. The life of a number two is all you have to do is be ready when you are called.