LIVERPOOL have won every major trophy under Jurgen Klopp after their FA Cup triumph. – Sport Media News

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Can a German be an English national treasure? Jurgen Klopp has won the lot now in his time in England with Liverpool ensuring his sainthood on Merseyside yet his appeal spreads far wider. There have been few more charismatic football managers and if he is a better winner than a loser the latter happens so rarely we only usually get to see that toothy, hail-fellow-well-met grin.

On Saturday he became the first German to manage a team to the FA Cup, edging out his fellow countryman Thomas Tuchel despite losing two of his talismen in Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk during a draining 120-minute plus Wembley arm-wrestle.

The quadruple may end up being just beyond Liverpool this season but to have shaped a team still theoretically capable of winning it in the middle of May bathes Klopp in a glorious light. For the vanquished Tuchel the method of execution – penalties – was the same as the Carabao Cup final between these two sides in February. The outcome the same despite his decision to stick with Edouard Mendy this time rather than substitute his goalkeeper for spot-kicks.

Klopp and Tuchel go back a long way with this showpiece their 19th meeting as managers. Tuchel still has only three wins against Klopp on his CV. This was the two rivals’ first FA Cup tie against each other.

The competition might not hold quite the lustre of its past – it is a sad state of affairs when kick-off is tweaked to avoid a clash with Eurovision – but the weight of its 150-year history still lends the final a special resonance. For the respective managers it was a special occasion. Caps briefly off for the national anthem, they stood proudly with their teams before kick-off.

Klopp had the opportunity to deliver Liverpool’s first trophy in the competition for 16 years. While some of his previous selections during his time at Anfield may have led to justifiable questions over his level of interest in the competition, he had gone out of his way in the build-up to stress this was not just another match in Liverpool’s crowded quadruple quest.

It isn’t always the case but Klopp was Mr Cool in comparison to his neighbour in the Wembley technical area. There is something of the Basil Fawlty in Tuchel’s stressed-out touchline mannerisms, his angular frame contorting at every misplaced pass, a rant at a perceived refereeing injustice never far away.

Chelsea’s slow start had him ticking from the off and within 15 minutes Romelu Lukaku found himself in the role of the misfiring Austin 1100 Countryman being given a damn good verbal thrashing from the touchline. For his part Klopp spent most of the first half with his hands in his tracksuit pockets, a reflection of his contentment at his side’s dominance and the success of his ball-over-the-top to Luis Diaz tactic.

He was even relaxed enough to laugh out loud when Ibrahima Konate fired a ludicrous shot well over the Chelsea bar. But as Chelsea emerged from their chrysalis after the break, Klopp grew more animated as his men spurned chances and the game went into extra time, falling to his knees at one point as Sadio Mane went down under Antonio Rudiger’s challenge to beg for a free-kick that never came.

In the end, inevitably, it came down to penalties and as Mane had his spot-kick to win it saved, it was Tuchel’s turn to drop to his knees this time in grateful thanks. It was not to be though for Tuchel as Liverpool – and Klopp, who ran half the length of the pitch to embrace his goalkeeper at the end, prevailed again.

Thomas Tuchel admits he was convinced Chelsea would beat Liverpool in their FA Cup final – right up until the moment Kostas Tsimikas netted the winning penalty.

Tsimikas sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way to earn the Reds a 6-5 triumph on spot kicks after an absorbing goalless draw at Wembley on Saturday.

And having been denied in similar fashion by Liverpool in the League Cup in February, Tuchel believes the disruption caused by sanctions imposed on departing owner Roman Abramovich meant his team deserved better.

“I think like in the last final of the Carabao Cup, no regrets,” said the Chelsea boss. “I told the team I am proud – I was proud before and happy before the match to arrive with this group and we made sure we were competitive and made life very difficult for Liverpool.

“We struggled in the first 15 minutes and then we were excellent for the whole match if not 240 minutes of final time, and played 0-0 against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world. Created also a lot of chances. They (Liverpool) deserved it as we deserved it as well, and again we lose on penalties. We are disappointed of course and sad but at the same time proud.

“I was sure we’d win today, I was sure during the match momentum was with our team and I was sure until the very last minute and unfortunately I was not right. We thought we deserved it and were ready to take it and unfortunately we couldn’t.

“I was pretty impressed from the sideline by both teams, it was the way how to play and commitment to play in a final. I thought we deserved it a bit more given how we arrived here.”

Chelsea – who have become the first team to lose three successive FA Cup finals after defeats to Arsenal in 2020 and Leicester last year – have now drawn four times with Liverpool this season after a brace of Premier League stalemates.

And Tuchel added: “We showed four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them. All the results were deserved and could have gone in our way as well as their way. The difference is they can do it again on Wednesday and then Saturday and we struggle. That’s where the gap (to Liverpool) comes from. They have built their team over many years and the sanctions haven’t made it any easier to close it (the gap).”

Timo Werner remained an unused substitute throughout the game having injured his hamstring shortly before kick-off. And Tuchel explained: “Timo said during the warm-up he felt uncomfortable and cannot play. That was during the warm-up.”

Chelsea experienced Wembley heartbreak for the third time in a year on Saturday evening when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the FA Cup final. It followed defeats to Leicester in the 2021 FA Cup and then to the Reds in the Carabao Cup.

Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta and Sadio Mane were the three players to miss from the spot in the shootout, with Kostas Tsimikas the man to tuck away the winning kick to hand Jurgen Klopp his second trophy of the season. Despite losing Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injury during the clash, they still came out on top.

It is a defeat that leaves Thomas Tuchel’s trophy count on three during his time at Stamford Bridge. It was a game that did not leave the Blues unscathed either and with that in mind, takes a look at the latest injury news.

Timo Werner

Many supporters were left baffled as to why the German was not brought on during the 120 minutes of football, especially with Liverpool visually ragged after regulation time. But Tuchel revealed in his post-match press conference that Werner had suffered a problem in the warm-up and was not used as a result.

What Tuchel said: “Timo was injured and uncomfortable during the warm-up and said he could not play.”

Expected return: Unknown

Kai Havertz

Havertz missed training this week after suffering a hamstring injury. There was some debate in the build-up around who should start out of himself and Romelu Lukaku, but when he was nowhere to be seen as the line-ups were announced, it was assumed he was injured.

But it sounds like he is not far away from a return.

What Tuchel said: “Kai did not train yesterday because of hamstring problems and he thought if he trained he would injure himself. We left it until the last test this morning but it was not possible.”

Expected return: Leicester (H) – May 19

Thiago Silva

Silva went down with an injury with just 15 minutes on the clock but carried on to finish the rest of the clash, although was not called upon to take a penalty. He did go down once again in the second half with cramp but once again soldiered on.

When asked about the fitness of the Brazilian, Tuchel was slightly evasive, instead crediting the team as a whole for playing through the pain barrier when required.

What Tuchel said: “It was clear we would suffer against this team and we managed to stay in the match because of an excellent goalkeeping performance, then we dug in and got better and better and created chances ourselves. Everyone is in pain, there is no way you play this game without pain.”

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell underwent surgery on his torn ACL back in December but has stepped up his recovery this week by training with Chelsea’s under 23s. The England international last appeared for the Blues in their 4-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League group stage.

Speaking back in April, Tuchel said: “Ben will be able to join in team training with the youth, this will be his next step in the weeks. Hopefully, he can join our training at the end of the season.”

Return date: Pre-season

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has not featured for Chelsea since the 3-2 victory over Luton Town in the FA Cup fifth round back in March. Hudson-Odoi picked up an Achilles injury followed by an issue with his lower back meaning he has not played in two months.

The 21-year-old has not been spotted in first team training and is unlikely to feature again this season after Tuchel admitted he won’t be rushed back.

Tuchel said: “With Callum, we take things day by day and week by week but it is not possible for him to join in with team training just yet. We will not rush him either.”

Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante hope to be fit to face Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup final; Thomas Tuchel: “It’s the moment to take risks”; Chelsea boss admits he understood why Pep Guardiola said ‘everyone’ wants Liverpool to win the quadruple; Jurgen Klopp: “We know how good Chelsea are”

Pep Guardiola lit a fuse between his Manchester City side and Klopp’s Liverpool by claiming “everyone in this country” wants the Reds to pull off an unprecedented quadruple this season.

Liverpool could yet sweep the board of Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.

But Chelsea can thwart Liverpool’s bid to break new ground in English football by beating Klopp’s men in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

German managers Tuchel and Klopp will meet for the 19th time in top-level football this weekend, in a repeat of February’s Carabao Cup final when Liverpool prevailed 11-10 on penalties.

Blues boss Tuchel admitted admiration for Klopp’s ability to engender neutral support for the Anfield club.

“There are huge sympathies for Liverpool, I feel that as well, in the whole country and I can understand it,” said Tuchel.

“Of course it is also because of Jurgen, but in general what this club stands for and how they run the business, and how the fans push their team.

“You have the feeling it’s purely about football and this is like a huge history in this club and there is a huge sympathy for it.

“If you fight against it, like Pep for many, many years, I can understand his comment that it feels sometimes like this.

“But at the same time, I don’t think it’s only here. It’s in Germany like this and in France too.”

Asked where those sympathies come from, Tuchel said: “You know Klopp is the master of being the underdog.

“He can talk you into being the underdog against Villareal and against Benfica, and it’s a miracle, miracle how they even draw against them.

“He can talk you into it and he does it all the time, he does it a lot of times. That’s part of it, that’s also like from where the sympathy comes.

“There’s nothing to be jealous of from my side. Klopp is a fantastic guy, a funny guy, one of the very, very best coaches in the world and that’s what he does.

“When he trained Dortmund, the whole country loved Dortmund. So now he trains Liverpool and you have the feeling the whole country loves Liverpool.

“It’s big, big, big credit to him and this is what you deal with if you play a team against him, it’s always like this, but it’s always the fun part and so if we are the bad guys tomorrow, then no problem.

“If we take that role, no problem. We don’t want to have the sympathy of the country tomorrow – we want to have the trophy.”

Tuchel admitted Chelsea must stand firm in the face of Klopp’s charm that has created a tight-knit bond with Liverpool supporters.

“You have to stand up against it, just also be self-confident and do your thing and not get influenced,” said Tuchel.

“I was even the guy behind him, after him at Dortmund. It was another role to do this and not always easy.

“But I have nothing but the biggest respect for him for what he’s doing. But he is very charismatic.

“He is like one with the supporters and the club and he is the face, the charismatic leader of this development, of this huge club.

“It is a club with a huge, huge reputation, not only in Europe, but worldwide, so my players have to step up against it and I have to step up against it.”

Tuchel is hopeful Chelsea midfielders Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will be available for Saturday’s FA Cup final and admits he is prepared to gamble on the duo’s fitness.

Kovacic looked set to miss the encounter having been forced off with an ankle injury after Daniel James’ red-card tackle in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leeds on Wednesday.

But speaking at his pre-match press conference, Tuchel revealed Kovacic was expected to take part in Chelsea’s afternoon training session on Friday with a view to proving his fitness to face Liverpool.

“We will try it today, which is pretty surprising news,” he said on the Croatian international. “Mateo wants to try it and the medical department gave the green light to try it.

“The advantage is that the ligament is torn anyway from the last incident, so there is no new injury, but heavy pain. It was heavily swollen.

“We are hoping that maybe the time is enough that he makes it, but we will try it in training and then we will know more about it.”

Asked if Kovacic would require surgery at the end of the season to repair the damaged ligament, Tuchel added: “No. How I understood it as not an expert is that the high mobility [of his ligament] helped him to escape without a huge injury.”

Of Kante, who has missed Chelsea’s last three games with an unspecified injury, Tuchel said: “He is also trying. He tried yesterday in team training, hopefully now without a reaction.

“It was a reduced training session because of long travel and fatigue of the travelling, so it was not a high-intensity session. But he is keen to make it and hopefully he makes it to training 100 per cent so that we can plan with him tomorrow. That would be crucial for us.”

Asked if he would be willing to take a risk with either player given the importance of the game, Tuchel added: “It’s the moment to take risks.”

Tuchel insisted he was in the dark over claims that striker Romelu Lukaku’s agent is planning talks with the club’s new owners about his future at the end of the season.

“I think if he plans to talk with the owner maybe it is not his plan to talk with me,” said Tuchel. “It’s fair enough. Let’s see if he gets a meeting! It is his right.

“We will talk to anybody. We will evaluate any situation of any player including Romelu. We will see what is going to happen and what the plans are.”

The Belgian has endured a difficult season in west London but followed up his double against Wolves at the weekend with another goal in the win over Leeds, giving Tuchel a dilemma over whether to start him or Kai Havertz up front.

“We can also play both, although they lacked a bit of the feeling of being a perfect fit together,” said Tuchel. “It’s very likely that it is one of the two but we will not give the line-up today.

“Listen, Romelu played lately and scored lately. He did everything to stay on the pitch. It will be our final call in the morning.”

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