Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he “could not be prouder” of his quadruple-chasing side after they beat Chelsea on penalties to win the FA Cup.
The Reds replicated their shootout win over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final by triumphing 6-5 on spot-kicks after a goalless 90 minutes and extra time.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my boys, the shift they put in, how hard they fought,” Klopp told BBC Sport.
“It was an incredible game, a nerve-wracking shootout, my nails are gone.”
Klopp, 54, became the first German manager ever to lift the FA Cup after edging out compatriot Thomas Tuchel in a Wembley final for the second time in less than three months.
As in February’s final, the shootout went to sudden death with Alisson’s save from Mason Mount handing Liverpool the advantage before Konstantinos Tsimikas slotted home the winning penalty.
“It was intense – Chelsea would have deserved it exactly the same way we did, just like in the Carabao Cup – that’s how small the margins are,” added Klopp.
“Chelsea played outstanding but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today.
Jurgen Klopp’s side repeated their Carabao Cup final victory in February, the decisive moment coming when Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson saved Mason Mount’s spot-kick, leaving Kostas Tsimikas to secure Liverpool’s second trophy of the season.
The Reds are still in the Premier League title race and have the Champions League final to come against Real Madrid.
Liverpool had the better of an eventful final, with the outstanding Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson hitting the woodwork, although it may come at a price with Mohamed Salah going off injured in the first half and Virgil van Dijk going off after 90 minutes.
It is a devastating blow for Chelsea and manager Thomas Tuchel to lose in this manner yet again as they had chances – with Marcos Alonso hitting the post and also being denied by Alisson – but become the first side to lose three successive FA Cup finals.
When Edouard Mendy saved Senegal team-mate Sadio Mane’s penalty in the shootout, when the Liverpool forward only needed to score to win the FA Cup, it just seemed for one moment that the Reds’ assault on four trophies might just be interrupted.
Alisson put Liverpool back on course when he saved from Mount, who was inconsolable as Tsimikas sent the Liverpool fans wild by converting the final penalty.
Once again Liverpool had prevailed against fiercely disciplined and determined opponents, even though they lost Salah to what looked like a muscle injury before half-time and Van Dijk did not emerge for extra time.
It remains to be seen how serious those problems are but at present it looks like Liverpool can overcome most obstacles put in front of them, even though it once again took penalties to claim their first FA Cup since 2006.
Diaz was the game’s outstanding player, running Chelsea ragged and peppering Mendy’s goal with efforts until he was substituted, exhausted, to a standing ovation.
Klopp refers to his players as “mentality monsters” and this illustrates why. Players from both sides gave so much that they were almost out on their feet at the final whistle.
Manchester City remain favourites in the Premier League, three points ahead and with a superior goal difference, and this was a strength-sapping occasion that will have taken much out of Liverpool before they face Southampton at St Mary’s on Tuesday.
What we do know, though, is that Liverpool possess remarkable powers of resilience and recovery as they continue their march on histo
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