Klopp 'desperate' to win first FA cup

Liverpool boss says unlike previous seasons, Reds now have depth to compete on all fronts

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp is relishing his first FA Cup final as Liverpool manager and believes his team are "really desperate" to win the trophy today.

The Reds will bid to keep their quadruple chase alive against a Chelsea side hoping to welcome incoming owner Todd Boehly with victory at Wembley.

Klopp's men have four matches left in their attempt to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in one season.

While they are still in the race to win the Premier League, they have already beaten Chelsea on penalties to lift the League Cup in February and have reached the Champions League final, where they will face Real Madrid on May 28.

"It's our first FA Cup final and we are really, really desperate to win it," Klopp said. "We always gave our all to arrive to the final in the past, but we just didn't make it.

"What is clear when you start a journey, you can't have it all. We didn't have the squad to go for (all the trophies). It was never that we didn't want to go to the final, we just didn't have the power to do it.

"Now we have it. We want the full prize. Since I've been here, all big guns go for it. Only one chance to find out who wins the FA Cup.

"We will give it a real go... It will be 50-50 in the stadium, fantastic. Carabao felt like a World Cup final a few weeks ago. Another massive one."

It was also clear that the German has also done more homework on compatriot Thomas Tuchel's side.

"We know how good Chelsea are. Both teams will go for it," Klopp said when asked about his game plan.

"Chelsea is a really well-coached team. Have an idea for all different areas of the game. Similar system to others but different level. Organised defensively, offensively talented with (Timo) Werner, (Kai) Havertz, (Romelu) Lukaku and (Christian) Pulisic."

Winning the FA Cup will move the Reds a step closer to their aim of an incredible clean sweep, but Liverpool know their hopes of success in the Premier League are starting to fade.

Manchester City moved three points clear of them with a 5-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday and need four points from their last two games to retain the crown.

If a second league title in three seasons proves beyond Liverpool, then winning two cups would be a memorable consolation.

But in their 60th game this season, fatigue could be a threat to their hopes of a first FA Cup triumph since 2006.

In a bid to keep his stars fresh, Klopp made several changes in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa, yet still lost midfielder Fabinho to an injury that rules him out today.

Like Liverpool, Chelsea's season will conclude with 63 games played, but it has been the Blues who have looked more drained in recent weeks.

Before Wednesday's 3-0 victory at Leeds United consolidated their grip on third place, they had won just once in five league games as they struggled to recover from their painful Champions League quarter-final exit at Real.

Uncertainty over the future of both the club and several key players has also been a factor, since Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale just before he was sanctioned by the British government after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

With Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly and his consortium agreeing on a £4.25 billion (S$7.24 billion) takeover last weekend, they can finally plan for next season. Before that, Tuchel has the chance to end the Abramovich era with one last prize, in the process winning his first English domestic trophy after leading Chelsea to their Champions League and Club World Cup glory over the last year.

But the Blues boss has played down the occasion.

"I don't expect crazy new things from them and also not from us," said the German, who is sweating on the fitness of Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante.

"It's a big achievement to be in the finals and there has to be a loser.

"There is a special momentum you have to catch and a bit of luck.

"The atmosphere is right and the momentum is OK after the reaction at Leeds... We want to arrive to give Liverpool a hard fight."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Klopp 'desperate' to win first FA cup. Subscribe