Jürgen Klopp: What the boys put out tonight was really special

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp: What the boys put out tonight was really special

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By Glenn Price and James Carroll at Emirates Stadium

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Jürgen Klopp hailed the 'special' display from his Liverpool side as they beat Arsenal 2-0 on Thursday night to reach the Carabao Cup final.

Extended highlights: Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool

Diogo Jota scored in either half at Emirates Stadium to set up a meeting with Chelsea next month in the tournament's showpiece.

After his side's victory in the second leg of the last-four tie, Klopp expressed his delight at the way in which his players performed in order to clinch a spot at Wembley.

Read on for a full transcript of the boss' post-match press conference…

On the team's performance and that in particular of Trent Alexander-Arnold...

Alexander-Arnold on 'world-class' Jota, Wembley chance and more

ReactionAlexander-Arnold on 'world-class' Jota, Wembley chance and moreTrent Alexander-Arnold is relishing the prospect of a Wembley appearance with Liverpool fans after reaching the Carabao Cup final.

I would probably have to watch it back again but he was outstanding – but I saw so many outstanding performances tonight, to be honest. It's a very important game against a really strong Arsenal side. With our problems we have, there's now not plenty of options to change probably. What the boys put out tonight was really special. The start of both halves I would say was Arsenal time, so they were really aggressive, really straight forward, all these kind of things.

So we had to adapt to the game but we calmed it down and from that specific moment on in both halves we controlled the game and played really good stuff and, on top of that, scored wonderful goals. Yes, the first one you can still say it's a team goal even when Diogo had to do a little bit before he could finish it off, but the positioning of Trent in that moment between the lines, passing the ball and Diogo goes across the line of the defenders – really difficult to defend.

Second goal, I don't think a lot of people in the stadium saw Diogo Jota free, but Trent saw it, which helps, and then a proper finish. Good defending, the way Arsenal plays with these long balls behind the full-backs, it's really tricky with the speed they have there with Saka and [Martinelli]. That's really, really special, so we had to be awake in these moments. But on top of that, we had to play football. The first 10 minutes I didn't like what we played but then we were in the game and then it looked really flexible and proper. I'm happy about that.

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On how much he wants to win the competition...

Look, you play a final, it's pretty likely that we will face an outstandingly strong team – that's what happened now. Nevertheless, we wanted to qualify for it, so that's what we did. Wembley is a special place – how we all know. There's a lot of games to play until then, so it's not now that you just play next week or whatever. There are a lot of games to play, we will see where we are then. But we really put a lot of effort in this competition and we really wanted to go through. So when you go through, when you're in the final, there's absolutely no reason to be part of a final if you don't want to win it. We want to win it but we know how difficult it will be.

On why this competition is so important to Liverpool this season...

Look, the situation is always a little bit the time of the year, who is available, how many games did you play, all these kind of things. I cannot just pick a team, I have a full squad on paper and then say, 'OK, we go for these 11 and then we let them play.' We have to consider a lot of things and we always did that. But you need a little bit of luck in specific moments to get through – we never had that. We had always really tricky draws on top of that pretty early when we played a lot of games and couldn't line up a team from the Premier League three days before. I don't say it was always unlucky but we had these moments where we thought, 'OK, away game at Chelsea is now not the easiest draw' and these kind of things. So, it's all good. We want to go for everything – we said that plenty of times. Now we are in the final, it doesn't mean we have won it already, it just means we qualify for it. When we will be there at the end of February, we will give it a go – but unfortunately the opponent probably [will] as well.

On Jota's impact…

Mentality mixed up with quality was the reason we signed him because the way he played at Wolves, the yards he had to make there, the runs he had to make, the defending he had to do, but he was still always able to produce some really exciting stuff. That was the reason we signed him. Now, in our kit, it is really nice to see. He didn't only step up tonight, yes he scored two goals but he is incredibly important for us, so the mix of his skills is really exciting. He is in a good shape as well and long may it continue.

On whether Andy Robertson is the best left-back in Europe…

For me, yes, but I am not sure that is too important, to be honest. For me, absolutely. Outstanding player and, again, the mix of his skillset and his mentality, that makes him so special. You see the situations when he has the ball that he is a good footballer but the desire in each game when he really wants to defend with all he has, I think that's the biggest improvement since he arrived. That was a little bit the issue in the early stages when he came from Hull to us; he was already a massive talent but defending-wise we were not over the moon. But he improved a lot and is now the full package, which is really helpful. Both full-backs are obviously quite good. That we have players like this in different positions is the reason why we were quite successful in the past – not as successful as probably a lot of people want, but we played some good stuff and the reason is because the boys are just an outstanding group.

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