Tuesday 20 March 2018

'I sat down so fans could see' - Jurgen Klopp savours win despite missing semi-final shoot-out

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after winning the penalty shootout
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after winning the penalty shootout Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

Chris Bascombe

Jürgen Klopp savoured the euphoria of a penalty shoot-out win but admitted he was unable to watch the decisive spot kicks as Liverpool secured their place in Wembley.

Klopp said an obscured view rather than superstition was to blame as Joe Allen stepped up to strike the winning penalty over Stoke City. The German coach even asking for clarification on how many saves Simon Mignolet made.

 “Was it two? Great,” said Klopp. “Usually I want to see them but people in the front row said they could not see because I am so tall. So I sat the front seat and could not see it. I had an ACL injury so I was not going to sit on the pitch. It felt good to be watching the crowd instead. I didn’t see one shot so I will have to watch them all.

“We only decided the first five penalty takers and then Joe took the ball. He is a good boy and a good lad. It’s not easy when you are in good shape and don’t play. He is a good character.”

 Although Liverpool struggled across the line, Klopp felt his side earned their Wembley date. “I’m really pleased for my players because they deserved it because there are so many things that have happened in the last few weeks and what has happened in this tournament,” he said.

“The first half was not too good. Stoke found a way back to their old style for one game. There were a lot of long balls and set-pieces. But we fought hard and had a useful amount of luck in the penalty shoot-out. It’s never easy to get to a final. It is always a fight. If you have the opportunity you have to fight for it. It was so special tonight.”

The whole of Merseyside will now be fixated on the second semi-final, Everton hoping to arrange the first city cup final between the clubs since 1989. “I’ve heard it would be really special for the city, but it would only be important if we win,” Klopp said.

 The Premier League Merseyside derby, scheduled for the day of the Capital One Cup final on Feb 28, must now be rearranged. Everton will hope it is merely relocated to Wembley.

For Mark Hughes there was only despair despite Stoke’s first win at Anfield since 1959. “We were the more dominant team but we are not going to Wembley, unfortunately,” he said. “The FA Cup is a bigger competition, anyway!”


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