LONDON — Liverpool are leaving completely nothing out on the sector of their pursuit of the quadruple. It’s now two down, two to go, after a second cup closing penalty shootout win in opposition to Chelsea this season noticed Jurgen Klopp’s workforce add the FA Cup to the Carabao Cup they lifted at Wembley three months in the past. However with Mohamed Salah limping off with a groin pressure after simply 33 minutes and Virgil van Dijk unable to play past the ninetieth minute, time will inform as to the complete price of this victory over Thomas Tuchel’s facet, which noticed Chelsea earn the unenviable distinction of turning into the primary workforce in FA Cup historical past to lose the ultimate in three successive seasons.
“We are mentality monsters, but there were mentality monsters in blue as well,” Klopp mentioned. “It was one penalty [between the teams]. Chelsea played outstanding, but in the end, there must be one winner and that was us today.
“I could not be extra happy with my boys, the shift they put in, how exhausting they fought, the early adjustments.”
History tends not to remember the losers, and Chelsea’s failure to win again will quickly be drowned out by a red tide of Liverpool plaudits. Even if they win nothing else this season, Liverpool have already achieved a domestic cup double, a feat they last pulled off in 2001, and that year, they also won a major European trophy by beating Spanish club Alaves to win the UEFA Cup.
Klopp’s remarkable team is still on course to repeat that cup treble by beating Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Paris on May 28, but before then, Liverpool could lay the platform for an unprecedented quadruple by edging out Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. That one remains the toughest, and most unlikely, target for Liverpool to achieve. City can move six points clear with two games left to play with a win at West Ham on Sunday, but no matter the result at the London Stadium, Klopp’s players will have to go to the well again at Southampton on Tuesday, needing to win to keep alive their hopes of the title.
From the decisive penalty by Kostas Tsimikas, which settled Saturday’s cup final 6-5 in Liverpool’s favour, to kickoff at Southampton, Klopp’s team have just 72 hours to recover from the physical and emotional toll of this draining Wembley win. And that is the biggest problem now facing Liverpool in their quadruple quest: do they have enough time to play, win and recover before their next challenge?
By the end of extra time, Liverpool’s players could barely run. They were so exhausted by the demands of facing the outgoing European champions that the penalties actually offered some form of physical relief. Luis Diaz, who had six efforts on goal during a sensational performance on the left, was replaced by Roberto Firmino seven minutes into extra time because he’d run his energy tank dry, while left-back Andy Robertson was replaced by Tsimikas in the 110th minute.
When Liverpool face Real in Paris, Diaz and Robertson will be two of the first names on Klopp’s team sheet, so their withdrawal at Wembley was significant in that it pointed to their manager being cautious not to push them too far and risk them being injured. That fate has already befallen Fabinho, who missed this game because of a hamstring strain suffered in the 2-1 win at Aston Villa in midweek, but Klopp is confident that the Brazil midfielder will be fit to face Real.
Nonetheless, there shall be issues over Salah and Van Dijk. Each are essential to Liverpool’s workforce — arguably its most vital gamers, alongside goalkeeper Alisson Becker — so to be with out them in Paris could be a hammer blow. But they could even be wanted at Southampton and, if Liverpool win that sport, at dwelling to Wolves on the ultimate of the season subsequent Sunday.
Klopp is a wise supervisor, and he will not danger his greatest gamers until the stakes are so excessive that he merely has to, however Liverpool at the moment are on the stage the place each sport is big. They’re all must-win fixtures, however gamers can push their bodily and psychological limits solely to this point, and the scenario with Fabinho, Salah and Van Dijk is a testomony to do this.
“I think Virgil is fine, but his muscle was hurt,” Klopp mentioned, in an try and play down issues over his centre-half.
Even when they’re all in a position to run out at Southampton on Tuesday, their muscular tissues and minds are beginning to really feel the warmth, so every little thing is now a danger for Klopp. Liverpool are clinging onto the quadruple by their fingertips, however they nonetheless have some grip and that’s outstanding contemplating their workload.
They’re now probably two weeks from historical past. Two down, two to go, however the subsequent two are the toughest to win, particularly with accidents starting to pile up.