Juergen Klopp on Saturday hailed his “mentality monsters,” as Liverpool held their nerve to win the FA Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Chelsea kept the quadruple chasers’ history bid alive.
Klopp’s side won 6-5 on penalties at Wembley Stadium as Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero with the decisive kick, after Alisson Becker kept out Mason Mount’s effort.
A hard-fought final had finished a 0-0 draw after extra-time, setting the stage for a nerve-jangling shoot-out that featured misses by Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, whose shot was saved by Edouard Mendy when he had a chance to clinch the trophy.
For the second time this season, Liverpool emerged victorious against Chelsea on penalties, having already beaten them 11-10 following another 0-0 draw in the League Cup final in February.
Liverpool’s first FA Cup triumph since 2006 keeps them in the hunt to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in a single season.
With two prizes already secured, the Reds will hope for a slip from Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are three points clear of them in the title race with two games left for both teams.
“It was an incredible, intense game. Chelsea would have deserved it exactly the same way, but that’s how small the margins are,” Klopp said.
“We are mentality monsters, but there were mentality monsters in blue as well,” he added. “Chelsea played outstanding, but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today.”
Even if Liverpool are unable to win a second English title in three seasons, they could still cap an astonishing campaign by winning the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.
City were yesterday to play West Ham United before Liverpool return to action at Southampton on Tuesday, and Klopp wants his squad to drag a final effort from their weary limbs in what will be their 61st game of a marathon season.
“The quadruple, it’s outstanding that we can talk about it, it’s crazy,” Klopp said.
The quadruple chase might have been dented after Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were unable to finish the final due to injuries.
“I think they will both be fine, for Tuesday we will see. We will train on Sunday and if they are available I will take it,” Klopp said.
He also revealed that Liverpool’s penalty success was in part due to their work with a company who specialize in neuro science.
“The penalties are a lottery, but we did it again. We work with a neuro company, they got in contact a few years ago,” Klopp said.
“They said: ‘We can train penalty shooting.’ I said: ‘That sounds interesting, come over.’ We met, we worked together. This trophy is for them, like the League Cup,” he said.
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