Klopp is blown away

After “by far the most special trophy” of the Jürgen Klopp era, they no longer want to let the successful German coach go at Liverpool FC. “It may be a hopeless task, but how can they just let him ride off into the sunset now?” wrote the Liverpool Echo. The newspaper called on the club owners on Monday to pick up the phone and change the team manager’s decision to leave the club in the summer after almost nine years.

Klopp led the Reds to Champions League triumph in 2019 and a year later gave the club their first English championship in 30 years. But the 1-0 coup on Sunday in the final of the relatively insignificant League Cup against Chelsea FC was probably his personal masterpiece. “It is an evening I will never forget. If no one else sees it that way, no problem. For me it’s a really nice memory forever,” said the 56-year-old at London’s Wembley Stadium.

“Oh my God, what’s going on here?”

Eleven stars, including striker Mohamed Salah, goalkeeper Alisson Becker and national player Trent Alexander-Arnold, were unavailable. Number twelve was added with the early injury of former Bayern professional Ryan Gravenberch. Klopp had to rely on his young talent from the academy. The little-known Conor Bradley (20), Bobby Clark (19), James McConnell (19), Jayden Danns (18) and Jarell Quansah (21) were used during the 120 minutes.

“Klopp’s kids against the blue, million-dollar bottle jobs,” mocked TV pundit Gary Neville. In England, players who fail under great pressure are often referred to as bottle jobs. The former Bayern coach Giovanni Trapattoni once came close to this expression in Germany when, in his legendary angry speech, he spoke of players being “weak as an empty bottle”.

“Sometimes I get asked if I’m proud of this, proud of that, and that’s really difficult. “I wish I could feel pride more often, but I just don’t,” said the emotional Klopp: “But tonight I have the overwhelming feeling: ‘Oh my God, what’s going on here?’ I was proud of everyone who was involved in everything here.”

The former Dortmund master coach had rarely been seen so emotional. “Can you create stories in football that are guaranteed no one will forget? It’s so difficult because everything has happened before. But tonight, a story where academy players play against a top team and still win is something I’ve never heard of.”

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But the decisive goal was scored by one of the few stars left in the team. Dutchman Virgil van Dijk scored with a header in the 118th minute of a thrilling and fast-paced final. This makes the first title on Klopp’s farewell tour perfect, with three more to come.

In the English football championship, Liverpool leads the table just ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal FC, and the club can also win the more valuable FA Cup and the Europa League. In the summer, the former Dortmund and Mainz Bundesliga coach will leave his club after nine seasons. Liverpool won the League Cup during his term in 2022 – also in the final against Chelsea.

“I don’t care at all about my legacy. I’m not here to do one thing,” said Klopp about his remaining tasks: “As a manager of a football club, you’re there to do your job.” That’s why it’s not a problem if the coach leaves. “If these people left – our fans – that would be a problem. But as long as they are the way they are, Liverpool Football Club will be fine – and that is the most important thing,” emphasized Klopp.


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