Home News National media: League Cup win “forged in Kirkby” one of Klopp’s “greatest achievements”

National media: League Cup win “forged in Kirkby” one of Klopp’s “greatest achievements”

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The media were in awe of Liverpool’s incredible League Cup final triumph over Chelsea, lauding the genius of Jurgen Klopp and the character of his players.

There may have been bigger trophy wins in the Reds’ history, but have any made us feel prouder?

An injury-hit and young Liverpool side battled their way to extra-time against the Blues, before Virgil van Dijk‘s late header sealed glory.

Here’s how the media reacted to an astonishing win.

 

This was a day to treasure for anyone of a Liverpool persuasion…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the winning goal in extra time during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Daily Mail‘s Oliver Holt hailed a memorable effort by Liverpool’s youngsters:

“This is what it came down to in the end. This is what it came down to in one of the most dramatic domestic football finals Wembley has ever seen. On one side, Chelsea’s billion pound squad, the collection of record signings and extravagant busts and individuals who fit all the number-crunchers’ algorithms but do not play as a team.

“And on the other side, a bunch of kids and a couple of giants. Kids from Rainhill and Warrington and Newcastle, who were in the team because Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and a phalanx of Liverpool’s best players were out injured.

“Kids so young that Alan Shearer remarked he had played against the dads of some of them. Kids who made this look like the team Liverpool might turn out in the FA Youth Cup. Kids who stepped up when their club needed them.”

Incredibly, Chris Bascombe even compared the win to Istanbul:

“Had the privilege to report on every LFC final since 2001.

“For sheer courage, perseverance and refusal to give in, that was up there with a certain game in 2005.”

Mark Jones of the Mirror was similarly impressed by what he saw at Wembley:

“How on earth they did it perhaps only he knows, but despite being deprived of so many players and ending the match with a remarkably young side including Bobby Clark, James McConnell, Jarell Quansah and Danns – who only made his professional debut on Wednesday – Jurgen Klopp has seen his side claim the first of what could be four trophies this season.

“This was a determined effort full of spirit and a will to win that has been instilled in the club ever since Klopp arrived in 2015, and will be so, so hard to replace when he leaves.

“That old line about doubters to believers was in full evidence here, and how he makes this club believe.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: The Liverpool team celebrate winning the cup after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

On X, David Lynch focused on the amazing mentality on show by the Reds:

“I don’t think you will get a better example of the legacy Jurgen Klopp will leave than today.

“The character and quality he has instilled in the first team runs all the way through to the youth setup, too. A victory for and earned by the entire club.”

Jason Burt of the Telegraph claimed it was one of the great moments of Klopp’s reign:

“This was a victory forged in Kirkby. A victory that is right up with Jurgen Klopp’s greatest achievements.

“It was won with just two minutes of extra time to go, with Virgil van Dijk heading home from a corner, but it owed everything to the grit, determination and courage shown by the Liverpool manager.

“The Carabao Cup may be the fourth of Liverpool’s four priorities this season but how sweet this win will feel given the trying circumstances and given the opposition, Chelsea.

“Kirkby is where Liverpool’s academy is based and by the end Klopp had turned to the club’s kids to try and see them over the line. They responded magnificently.”

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher couldn’t hide his pride on the Wembley pitch:

 

It was hard not to focus on the brilliance of certain individuals…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the first goal, but it was disallowed after a VAR review, during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing for This Is Anfield, Lynch paid special attention to the legendary Van Dijk:

“It was suggested last summer that Liverpool could possibly live to regret the loss of two major dressing room leaders in James Milner and Jordan Henderson.

“But, while that pair’s influence on creating a strong dressing room culture deserves to be recognised, so too does the seamless manner in which Van Dijk has continued it.

“It helps that the Dutchman is arguably the best defender in the world, as he showed here in winning seven duels and clocking up 14 defensive actions to keep Chelsea at bay.

“And then to top it all off by scoring a late winner having previously been cruelly denied one by VAR – that’s what you call a captain’s performance.”

On X, Steele was also blown away by Van Dijk’s brilliance:

“Never ever given a 10/10 player rating but nearly did with Virgil van Dijk there.

“Not just the goal(s) but a proper captain’s display: commanding, calming and always in the right place.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Virgil van Dijk captain of Liverpool poses with the trophy with Ibrahim Konate and Joe Gomez after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

The Independent‘s Karl Matchett praised another excellent cup final performance by Coimhin Kelleher:

“Make no mistake, the fact the Reds have their 10th League Cup trophy is down in enormous part to Kelleher.

“Two excellent stops at either end of the pitch, at either end of 90 minutes in fact, kept the Reds in the game and in place to strike.”

 

What an ending this is threatening to be to Klopp’s tenure…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s David Hytner feels like a script is being written ahead of these remaining months of Klopp’s time as manager:

“When Liverpool won the corner towards the very end of extra-time that would prove decisive, Jürgen Klopp applauded and just found himself smiling at the romance of it all.

“Depleted by a host of injuries, the manager had introduced a host of untested young players but here his team was, fighting until the last breath. They had been the more dangerous one in the extra period.

“Klopp’s scriptwriter had something left, the detail to ignite his quest for four more trophies before he rides off into the sunset at the end of the season.”