FA Cup finalJürgen Klopp v Thomas Tuchel: A brief history

Published 13th May 2022
By Sam Williams

Saturday's Emirates FA Cup final will be Jürgen Klopp's ninth meeting with Thomas Tuchel during his reign as Liverpool manager.

The Reds will once again face Chelsea at Wembley in a domestic showpiece and Klopp will seek to enhance further a record that has seen him suffer two defeats in his eight most-recent clashes with his countryman.

Tuchel has coached three clubs versus Klopp’s Liverpool, with the Blues following on from Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund. 

Here is a chronological recap of what unfolded on each of the occasions Klopp has come up against Tuchel while being Anfield boss…

Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Liverpool - April 7, 2016

Inevitably, one man dominated the pre-match discourse ahead of this Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Less than a year on from ending an era-defining spell as Dortmund boss, Klopp returned to Signal Iduna Park with his new club. 

‘One of the strongest teams in world football’ is how Klopp described Dortmund prior to the game, but Liverpool struck first and got an away goal through Divock Origi’s cool finish. 

Tuchel’s side responded, though, and drew level soon after half-time when Mats Hummels nodded in an equaliser. The Reds were then forced to defend resolutely as the hosts sought a buffer for the second leg at Anfield.

“We saw the game – it’s still 50-50… I’m really happy with the performance… but we have to play at our best in the rematch to go through,” was Klopp’s post-match summary.

Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund - April 14, 2016

An electrifying start from Dortmund, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score inside the first 10 minutes, appeared to have wrapped up the tie in their favour. After all, Liverpool now required three goals to advance.

The Reds managed to navigate their way to half-time without sustaining any further damage, and Origi’s second goal of the tie provided a glimmer of hope three minutes into the second period.

However, the visitors quickly reasserted their authority and Marco Reus’ 57th-minute strike surely secured their place in the semi-finals. Surely...?

Not so.

Philippe Coutinho reduced the arrears midway through the half and Anfield began believing again. Then, Mamadou Sakho stooped to nod in Liverpool’s third of the evening and make it 4-4 on aggregate.

Dortmund’s three away goals meant they were still on course for the last four, but Klopp’s team – powered by a febrile atmosphere – had 12 minutes to find a winner and complete a scarcely plausible comeback.

In fact, the goal took 13 minutes to arrive as, in the first minute of stoppage time, Dejan Lovren headed home James Milner’s cross at the Kop end to etch this night into Anfield folklore.

Liverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-Germain - September 18, 2018

Much had changed at Anfield by the time Tuchel returned, this time in charge of PSG, a touch under two-and-a-half years later.

Klopp’s Liverpool had evolved into a team that had reached the previous season’s Champions League final and would end this campaign as kings of Europe, while also going within a whisker of landing the Premier League title.

Tuchel fielded a star-studded side including the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for a Champions League group-stage opener that would be imbued with that intoxicating ‘European night at Anfield’ magic.

The Reds surged into a 2-0 lead courtesy of Daniel Sturridge and Milner’s penalty, but Thomas Meunier pulled one back before the break.

Mbappe then equalised with 10 minutes remaining and a thrilling contest looked set to end all square.

There was time for one final twist, though, as Roberto Firmino – a substitute after he’d sustained an eye injury at Tottenham Hotspur a few days earlier – slotted in a stoppage-time winner.

“This is Anfield, this is what they do,” sighed Tuchel afterwards.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Liverpool - November 28, 2018

Tuchel would gain a measure of revenge by earning his first victory over Klopp’s Liverpool in the reverse fixture a couple of months later.

The ferocious tempo with which the hosts started at Parc des Princes paid dividends as Juan Bernat and Neymar put them two goals to the good but, for the second time that season, Milner would keep his cool from the penalty spot against PSG.

That goal on the stroke of half-time offered the Reds a route back into the game but they were unable to salvage anything from their trip to the French capital.

Klopp assessed post-match: “We chased the game with a lot of passion, but Paris were very passionate as well… that’s the reason we lost; they scored two and we scored one and in these moments our decision-making was not good enough.”

Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea - March 4, 2021

Played in the depths of behind-closed-doors football, this game saw Tuchel’s Chelsea inflict a fifth consecutive home defeat on a Liverpool team bereft of form, confidence and senior centre-backs.

With Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk all sidelined through long-term injuries and Jordan Henderson also ruled out, Fabinho partnered Ozan Kabak at the heart of the Reds’ defence.

Mason Mount’s strike shortly before half-time won it for the Blues and left Klopp’s side – who would rally to end the season in third place – languishing in seventh spot in the Premier League.

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea - August 28, 2021

Anfield felt like a completely different place on Chelsea’s next visit a few months later.

With stadiums full again, this late-summer, teatime kick-off pitted two title contenders – teams who had both won their opening two matches of the Premier League season without conceding a goal – against each other.

Tuchel’s newly crowned European champions went ahead through a Kai Havertz header on 22 minutes, but Mohamed Salah levelled with a penalty in first-half stoppage time after Reece James had been dismissed for handball on the line.

The Reds subsequently spent most of the second half in the ascendancy but were frustrated by Chelsea’s well-drilled and dogged defensive resistance. 

Klopp noted: “I liked the game. Look, a few years ago, we won I think 2-1 or 2-0 against Chelsea and Mo Salah fired the ball in the far corner, which is actually not a chance – a nice goal, but not a chance. 

“Today we had obviously bigger chances in the first half already which we didn’t score off, that means the performance was really good against the strongest Chelsea side for a long, long time… Chelsea put a proper shift in as well, you have to say, I respect that.”

Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool - January 2, 2022

Chaos reigned at Stamford Bridge in the next meeting as Liverpool – led by Pepijn Lijnders with Klopp absent due to COVID-19 – and Chelsea shared the points in a pulsating Premier League draw.

Played out at an unrelenting tempo, momentum during the clash between the sides who were placed second and third in the table swung this way and that. 

The Reds led 2-0 by the 26th minute through goals from Sadio Mane and Salah, but Tuchel’s team netted twice in the space of a few minutes at the end of a breathtaking first half to make it 2-2 at the interval.

Both sides then had chances to snatch all three points in the second period, but a genuine Premier League classic ended level.

“Overall, I can speak a lot about tactics and all these ideas but for me [the feeling is] pride because we could have come here with a lot of excuses, the team could have come here with a lot of excuses, but they fought with all they had,” Lijnders surmised after a game that was also missed by Alisson Becker, Matip and Firmino because of COVID-19.

Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (10-11 on penalties) – February 27, 2022

Somehow, this absorbing Carabao Cup final ended in stalemate after 120 minutes.

Both sides saw goals disallowed in regulation time – Chelsea also had two extra-time ‘winners’ ruled out by the offside flag – and several presentable chances were spurned to mean penalties were required to decide it.

The shootout started with 21 conversions in a row, with all 11 Liverpool players – including goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher – scoring.

But Chelsea stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga then skied his spot-kick into the Reds’ end of Wembley to seal the fifth major trophy of Klopp’s tenure.

“[It] was like two lions going for each other – it was absolutely crazy,” noted the boss afterwards.

“They started better, we took over and were then better. Second half, started again with two really good moments of Chelsea, we sorted it again and then in the end everybody was tired on the pitch obviously and then you have to get through. 

“Then the penalty shootout, one of the most spectacular I ever saw. Absolutely great to win it like this.”

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Published 13th May 2022