Jurgen Klopp praised both Liverpool and Chelsea for being “mentality monsters” after an epic FA Cup final penalty shoot-out whilst Thomas Tuchel was “sad but proud”.
Liverpool completed a clean sweep of the domestic cups with another dramatic win over Chelsea on penalties at Wembley, as Kostas Tsimikas struck the decisive spot-kick after Mason Mount’s effort was saved by Alisson.
Liverpool’s success was tempered by injuries to Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, which could potentially damage their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple, with their Premier League pursuit set to continue on Tuesday at Southampton on Sky Sports and their Champions League final with Real Madrid on May 28.
klopp awning BBC Sports: “Outstanding, it was an incredible, intense game against Chelsea – they would have served it exactly the same way, like in the Carabao Cup. That’s how small the margins are.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my boys, the shift they put in, how hard they fought, the early changes. I think Virgil is fine, but his muscle was hurt.
“All of these things, missing good chances, overcoming good moments from Chelsea, then having really good moments ourselves.
“Then in the penalty shootout, it was nerve-racking, my nails are gone but I really feel for Chelsea. For the second time, 120 minutes and you get nothing, that’s too hard. But for us I’m pretty happy.
“We are mentality monsters but there were mentality monsters in blue as well – it was one penalty. Chelsea played outstanding but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today.”
Klopp praises Neuro11: This trophy is for them!
Klopp has also revealed the secret to Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out success as neuroscience.
The Reds’ German manager paid tribute to footballing neuroscientists Neuro11 as the secret weapon behind his side’s penalty acumen.
“In the end, we all know penalty shoot-out is a lottery, that’s how it is; but we did it again,” said Klopp. “We work together with the company Neuro11, four guys from Germany.
“They got in contact with us a few years ago. They are neuroscientists and they said ‘we can train penalty shooting’.
“We said ‘really? That sounds interesting, come over’. And so this trophy is for them, just like the Carabao Cup was.”
Klopp: If City lose, I’ll start thinking about Quadruple!
Klopp insisted that the clean sweep of the League Cup, FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League remains as much on as off – mainly due to Manchester City’s league dominance.
Pep Guardiola’s City lead Liverpool by three points in the league, but could double that advantage with a win at West Ham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
“The quadruple is on if you want, but it is off as well because of the situation,” said Klopp. “City is at this point three points up and seven goals ahead on goal difference.
“So now if they win tomorrow, with all respect to West Ham, if they win say 4-0, then it’s six points, before we start at Southampton on Tuesday, and 11 goals.
“Then we have to win both our games, they have to lose a game and; it’s silly. So let’s just see what happens tomorrow. If they lose against West Ham I start thinking. If they don’t, we will judge that and go from there. It’s absolutely outstanding that we can even talk about the quadruple. It’s crazy.”
Klopp: Outstanding Diaz fits like a glove
Klopp reserved special praise for January signing Luis Diaz, who followed up his eye-catching display in the Carabao Cup final with another outstanding performance at Wembley.
The Colombian caused problems for Chelsea throughout, attempting six shots on goal before being replaced by Roberto Firmino in extra time.
Speaking in his press conference, Klopp said: “What a boy, what a story, what a player… but he should have scored! He agrees, probably.
“Don’t forget he played on the side off [Trevoh] Chalobah and Reece James and getting in a situation like that, for the big chance he had in the first half, is unlikely.
“He should have scored in that moment, but what a player. He is outstanding. A fantastic boy.
“He gets our football 100 per cent. We thought we saw that at Porto and it’s really like this. I feel lucky.
“He fits like a glove to our football and that is really, really special.”
Tuchel: Sad but proud of Chelsea
The defeat for Chelsea meant a third straight FA Cup final defeat for the club and a second cup final loss this season after Liverpool’s Carabao Cup victory in similar fashion.
You could see what it meant to Tuchel during the penalty shoot-out where his emotions from despair to joy back to despair again were clear to see. Despite the defeat, the German could not fault his players for their effort and ability to take Liverpool all the way.
He said: “Like in the last final, in the Carabao Cup, it’s no regrets. I told the team I’m proud.
“We were sure that we would be competitive and make life very difficult for Liverpool. We did it again. We struggled in the first 15 minutes but then we were excellent for the whole match.
“We got to zero-zero against maybe the best attacking team in the world and we also created a lot of chances. We deserved it, as they deserved it as well, but again we lose on penalties.
“We are very disappointed of course. We are sad but at the same time proud.
“I was sure we would win today. I was sure before and I was sure during the match that momentum was on our side. I was sure until the very last minute but unfortunately I was not right.
“I have to digest it and keep on going. That’s life in sports.
“We have everything it takes to win trophies, we proved it. We have a Club World Cup and a European Super Cup and I don’t feel sorry this was at the beginning of the season and in winter.
“We were good in Champions League, strong in both domestic cups, we can produce peak performances and we have the mentality in the club to shape the mentality of the players, but Man City and Liverpool have shown you need this on a consistency.”
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures
May 17 – Southampton (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Wolves (h) premier league
May 28 – Real Madrid (n) champions league final
Chelsea’s remaining fixtures
May 19 – Leicester (h) premier league
May 22 – Watford (h) premier league