Jurgen Klopp reveals Liverpool's dramatic Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea is 'most special' of his career

Liverpool lifted the Carabao Cup trophy at Wembley (Adam Davy/PA Wire)
Liverpool lifted the Carabao Cup trophy at Wembley (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool's Carabao Cup win over Chelsea as "easily the most special trophy" he has ever won.

Klopp, who will step down as Liverpool head coach at the end of the season, has won every major trophy going with the club, including the Premier League title and Champions League, but said the circumstances of his seventh major honour made it incomparable and unique.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk headed home in 118th-minute to earn victory for a depleted Reds side, who finished the game with a host of youngsters on the pitch.

Klopp's side were already missing Trent-Alexander Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez to injury, and Klopp introduced Jayden Danns, 18, James McConnell and Bobby Clark, both 19, and Jarell Quansah, 21, to join 20-year-old starter Harvey Elliott. Conor Bradley, 20, also started the final.

"What we see here today is so exceptional, we might never see [the like] again," Klopp said. "These things don't happen in football.

Virgil van Dijk led Liverpool to a dramatic win (Nick Potts/PA Wire)
Virgil van Dijk led Liverpool to a dramatic win (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

"I got told outside there an English phrase you don't win trophies with kids. I didn't know that. Ha ha.

"It is in my long career, in my more than 20 years, it is easily the most special trophy I've ever won. It's absolutely exceptional.

"Sometimes you say, 'I'm proud of this, I'm proud of that'. I wish I could feel pride more often. Tonight was an overwhelming feeling [of pride], of 'My god, what's going on here!'

"I'm proud of everybody involved, I'm proud of our people for the way they pushed us. I'm proud of the staff for creating this kind of atmosphere surrounding these boys, where they can do their best.

"I was proud of our academy, proud of our coaches. I'm proud of so many things. It was really overwhelming. Nothing to do with my maybe last game at Wembley.

"It was really to do with how everybody contributed, seeing the faces of the kids. Jayden Danns. Can you create in football which definitely nobody will ever forget? It's so difficult. Because this happened before, that happened before.

Liverpool could yet win four trophies this season (AP)
Liverpool could yet win four trophies this season (AP)

"This tonight, if you find the same story of academy players coming on against a top, top side and still winning it - I've never heard it."

In the second half of normal time, Van Dijk had a goal ruled out after Wataru Endo was penalised for blocking a Chelsea player in an offside position, while Chelsea's Raheem Sterling also saw an effort chalked off for a marginal offside.

In amongst his praise for Van Dijk and his academy players, Klopp described referee Chris Kavanagh as "not up to the level" and short of "common sense", and said he was "not surprised" when a reporter suggested the decision to rule out the Dutchman's first goal was dubious.

The German added: "The development of Bobby Clark, oops. It’s really crazy, I have to say. The development of James McConnell is absolutely insane. And Dannsy I love him, from his first training session.

"There were other kids we could have brought on. It’s just nice to partner these boys with their first moment. The way the experienced group embraces them is pretty special."