'The last clash with Chelsea felt like a World Cup final'

Press conference'The last clash with Chelsea felt like a World Cup final'

Published 13th May 2022
By Joe Urquhart and Chris Shaw

Jürgen Klopp has once again reiterated how special it is to have reached the Emirates FA Cup final with Liverpool ahead of what he expects to be a tough contest against Chelsea.

The Reds head back to Wembley on Saturday afternoon for a third visit to the national stadium this season.

Klopp saw his squad topple the Blues on penalties in the Carabao Cup final in late February, and is preparing his players for a second showpiece meeting with Thomas Tuchel’s men of the season.

Read a summary of the manager’s press conference as he spoke to journalists at the AXA Training Centre on Friday ahead of the final below…

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On needing a performance similar to the semi-final win against Manchester City…

It will be a different game, it is a completely different game. But, yes, we better play really good, that’s true. Chelsea are a really well, well coached team, I have to say. They have an idea for all different areas of the game. Play a similar system to other teams but a different level. They are very organised defensively, they have, offensively, incredible talent.

We have no idea how Thomas will line up, for example, there are so many different options in offensive areas; Werner, Ziyech and Havertz didn’t start the last game. Could all three start, for example? Gives it a completely different dynamic to Lukaku, Mount and Pulisic. Can play with two strikers, can play with one and two 10s. The only thing that is pretty clear is they defend with three or five in the last line. From that moment on we don’t know exactly if they have three midfielders [or] two midfielders.

Very interesting to prepare, to be honest. We play an FA Cup final – it would be a real surprise if we meet a weak team in that final. I’m not sure how it was in the past but since I’m here all the big guns are really going for it. We just didn’t have the power to keep us in the competition but now we had it and now we are there and now we want to have the full prize.

On whether he has dreamed of winning the FA Cup since joining Liverpool…

No, I didn’t dream that big, to be honest. I never was like this; when I started as a coach I didn’t dream to become German champion, I didn’t think I ever will be part of the Champions League, you just do what you do and why should I think what kind of things can happen in the far future? So, no. Spoke now a lot about it, I know it is the biggest domestic cup competition in the world, for sure, but I was since 20 years involved in professional football and we usually have games ourselves on these dates – either you play yourself or there’s the German cup quite frequently.

Jürgen Klopp's exclusive FA Cup final preview

It’s not that I watched now 20 FA Cup finals but I don’t think that’s necessary to understand how big it is. And it would mean the world to us, that’s the truth, the absolute truth. This group is a special group we have here in the moment. You don’t have a guarantee. I know in the public perception it’s always like you win it, ‘Fantastic!’, you lose it and it was like useless you even tried it. That’s the world we are living in. But here we go and there’s only one chance to find out who will win the FA Cup – by playing it. And we will give it a real go, that’s the plan, against an opponent who will do the same and that’s why it’s football and such a great game to watch.

It will be 50-50 in the stadium blue and red, fantastic. We had only a few weeks ago another final which felt like a World Cup final, to be honest, how both teams played it, how both teams approached it. Now we are a few weeks later in the season and another massive one. I’m pretty sure a lot of people around the world will watch this game and a lot of them are Liverpool supporters, so that’s cool. Hopefully we can use that power.

On how winning the FA Cup would help momentum this season...

Very helpful, but what does it mean? When you go for three or four trophies then it is always clear you get it, or we don’t get it. I cannot change that now. I had yesterday a kind of media day, a few media appointments and in the same room I had to talk about Real Madrid and Chelsea; two finals. So it’s like, huh? So, I’m not even close to Real Madrid. I’ve no idea until then what will happen and these kinds of things. But because of the things we do, it’s like this. Obviously, it’s a pretty busy season, but it will never happen that the FA Cup final we see as a normal game. It’s an absolutely special game. Massive, massive, massive. For some of us the biggest in their career, and we really want to enjoy that as well and we want [to] deliver it for our people, that’s clear. Between now and tomorrow I have a few hours to prepare, to help the boys prepare properly, and the longer we talk here, the less time I have there, but it’s a big one for us.

Inside Training: Reds prepare for FA Cup final

On the satisfaction of reaching three finals this season to give the fans special memories...

Yeah, we couldn’t celebrate the Carabao Cup because, it was the weekend? But we couldn’t celebrate because, probably, we played three days later. If we win the FA Cup, we cannot celebrate it, because we play three days later at Southampton. So, actually, when we won the cup with [Borussia] Dortmund we had a parade. You might think we are crazy, but it’s really big. But here we play Southampton, pretty much, instead of a parade, possibly. Yeah, I said it yesterday in a different meeting, if you cannot enjoy this season I have no idea. So, until now. I know the icing on the cake we have to produce now, but if you cannot enjoy now, I can’t help, because it’s outstanding what the boys deliver.

Yes, we all wish we would be 20 points ahead of Man City and everything would be even greater, but that’s not the world we are living in. So, we live in a world where the teams we face every week are incredibly strong, and in a season like this delivering the consistency the boys delivered, especially now in this part since January, is insane. But now, we go for that. I’m really happy for the people that they can be part of this journey and, actually, the main reason for this journey, but now we have to be ready to keep fighting, because now it’s getting really exciting. That’s clear. Tomorrow is the first – since we won the Carabao Cup – the first big final of the last two weeks of the season and, yeah, how I said, the longer we talk here, the less time I have to prepare the team.

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Published 13th May 2022